Black Sabbath (1963)

BLACK SABBATH (1963)
aka I Tre volti della paura
Article 2728 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-25-2008
Posting Date: 1-31-2009
Directed by Mario Bava and Salvatore Billitteri
Featuring Michele Mercier, Lida Alfonsi, Boris Karloff
Country: Italy/France/USA

Three tales of terror are represented. In the first, a woman steals a ring from a corpse, and finds herself haunted afterwards. In the second, a woman is terrorized by a voice over the phone. In the third, a family finds itself threatened by Wurdalaks, vampires who drink the blood of those they love.

For the record, I watched the American version of this movie; the Italian version had a different order, and the story about the telephone was slightly reworked to remove certain lesbian overtones. Quite frankly, the original order would have served the movie better; positioned as they are here, the beginning of ‘The Telephone’ is way too similar to the end of ‘A Drop of Water’ (a woman alone in her apartment being terrorized), which works to the detriment of ‘The Telephone’, which already has strikes against it, as it’s probably the weakest story anyway, and it’s already compromised by the editing. Still, the other two are top notch, full of atmosphere, color, effective use of sound, and strong performances. The intros of the stories by Boris Karloff are a little too silly for what is a serious horror movie, but his performance in ‘The Wurdalak’ is wonderful. The US version also has some additional music by Les Baxter, and I suspect that he was responsible for the music over the closing credits, which is also a little too humorous for the movie. The main advantage to seeing the US version is to hear Karloff in his own voice, which would be dubbed in the Italian version; still, I suspect it would be worth my time to check out the Italian version to see how the differences affect the movie.

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