Black Sabbath (1963)

Directed by Mario Bava.  Written by Bava, Alberto Bevilacqua and Marcello Fondato. Starring Lidia Alfonsi, Susy Andersen, Mark Damon, Rika Dialina, Harriet Medin, Michele Mercier, Milly Monti, Glauco Onorato, Jacqueline Pierreux, Milo Quesada and Boris Karloff.

Plot: your basic trilogy of terror where horror icon, Boris Karloff, introduces each one.

DJ and I watched the American version of this Italian horror, so the stories were actually presented in a different order than originally shown. Also, there were some changes made, especially to “The Telephone”. Apparently, it touched upon lesbianism and prostitution before. This movie, not so much. We still dug it though.

The first story we saw, “The Drop of Water”, is very, very creepy.  It’s about a nurse, Helen (Pierreux), who steals a ring from the corpse of a medium. She is then somehow surprised when she begins to be haunted by the medium, who never, ever looks quite right. As a matter of fact, the medium looks so very, very wrong. We could not watch this movie alone, simply because of this story. The direction is spectacular, the lighting is eerie and the atmosphere is so well done that it produces one of the scariest scenes we’ve ever seen. A nice script, some outstanding effects, and a favorable ending make this totally rewatchable.

The second story, “The Telephone”, is good as well, just not all that frightening. It does have some pretty uneasy phone calls though.  This story is about Rosy (Mercier), who returns home one night to some obscene phone calls from Frank, a person she thought long gone.  She calls her friend Mary (Alfonsi), who also had a relationship with Frank, the cheat, who has died recently. Mary tries to convince Rosy that it’s all in her head, but is it really? Of course, the original Italian version wasn’t supernatural in nature, but we liked that aspect. It made it a bit more spine-tingling. The acting was decent as well, which is praiseworthy considering the story that follows.

“The Wurdalak”, was the last story and our least favorite.  It was just so very drawn out and kind of boring.  It’s a vampire story see, where the patriarch of a Serbian family leaves home to hunt a monster. He tells his family not to let him back inside if he returns any later than five days, but when that precise thing happens, they let him in anyway. The wurdalak is apparently a type of vampire that only drinks the blood of the people they love and isn’t satisified until their whole family is turned.  The patriarch, Giorgio (Onorato), is now a wurdalak, of course, and that’s obvious from jump street. Like, when he basically calls his grandson edible.

Side note: when the boy’s mother asks for her son back because Giorgio is acting alarmingly sinister, Giorgio responds with “Aren’t I allowed to molest my grandson?” Umm, no. No. No you are not. We guess that in 19th century Serbia, that word meant something different. It was perhaps the eeriest part of the whole film.

The story followed all the rules it laid out, which was commendable, but we didn’t completely love all the rules, so that made it a little crappier. Besides that, the acting was very over the top. Like a bad soap opera. And honestly, boredom set in so quickly that we kind of wanted to turn it off before it was over. All three stories combined, however, make for a lovely movie we recommend.

Our score: 62.


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