Black Sabbath (1963)

   

Produced & Directed by: Mario Bava

Written by: Mario Bava, Alberto Bevilacqua & Marcello Fondato

Story by: Ivan Chekhov & F.G. Snyder
Aleksei Tolstoy (Novel)

Starring:

.... Rosy
.... Mary
Mark Damon .... Vladimire d'Urfe
Susy Anderson .... Sdenka
Boris Karloff .... Gorca
.... Pietro
.... Maria
.... Giorgio
.... Helen Chester
Milly .... The Maid

Release Dates: Theatrical: August 17, 1963 (Italy); May 6, 1964 (USA); Iik!! Horror Film Festival: November 6, 2010 (Finland)

 

 

 

Rating:

 

Three tales are told in this film hosted by Boris Karloff:

In the chapter The Telephone, a woman named Rosy () is getting constant calls and being terrorised by a maniac on the other end threatening to kill her which is suggested to be an escaped prisoner from her past life as she tries to rekindle her friendship with Mary (

In the second tale The Wurdalak, is about a village set in the 1800's on a young man named Vladimire d'Urfe (Mark Damon) tries to protect a family from vampire's as they realise that the head vampire named Gorca (Boris Karloff) is their main family member who arrives at midnight and has deadly plans for the entire family including a young lady Vladimire falls in love with named Sdenka (Susy Anderson).

In the final one The Drop of Water, a nurse named Helen Chester () steals a ring that belongs to a corpse as she seems to be cursed by it as this corpse somewhat seems to find a way on seeking revenge.

 

An impressive introduction by Boris Karloff himself as he discusses on what you might see in the three tales that will unravel in this anthology as there's a great colourful background which looked like a glittery water type of scene which is different in a story like this indeed.

An impressive start in the first chapter The Telephone in which there's nice camera shots surrounding a room as well as exposing a telephone ringing with the main character Rosy picking it up and then there's no answer as it keeps rining later on and then we hear on the other end someone threatening to kill her as well as a good shot looking down on what she's wearing with this killer explaining on what she's doing as this was supposed to look scary and back then it could've but now it seems a bit dated. Yet this seemed to inspire future american horror films like When a Stranger Calls and Scream by what we find out.
Also there's some stale psychological moments with Rosy getting upset with this caller harrassing her as this was supposed to make you cringe but yet it's pretty dated and doesn't do the trick. Yet there's some nice shots on the killers eye's looking at some blinds from a window as well as a paper slid through the mail slot showing her ex whom has escaped which seems to be nice add on's in the horror story.
Also we have some effective moments when she calls her ex-friend Mary trying to rekindle their friendship since she's getting death threats in which the story flows pretty mysterious by what is said here as well as leaving a nice message to be careful on who you turn on as you never know when you may need them.
Plus we spot who the person is making these phone calls which seems like a disappointment since we still want the story to be a mystery as to who's making these calls but yet when the story rolls along we're in for a bigger surprise.
There's some suggestive wicked behavior while we spot the discussions between Mary towards Rosy as you get a creepy feeling that something deadly might happen later on as well as good close up shots on Mary holding a shiny blade as well as putting something in Rosy's tea as well as telling her that she put poison in her tea which at first makes you think "What??? Why would she reveal that?!" It was a brain teaser till we spot on what she says afterwards.
Also good shots on the mysterious killer's footsteps creeping up on Mary in which this was a nice touch to the story offering a different twist than what we thought would happen in the plot. When we spot a strangling scene this looked a bit cheesy to watch but again this seems a bit dated too.
This chapter was quite slow and my least favourite of them all in which there needed more action and scenery used with everything that we see here.

The second chapter The Wurdalak is the best one in my books as it's impressive when we spot stuff taking place in the past when there were vikings and barbarians as well as a perfect gloomy type of set when the one of the main character's Pietro spotting a headless corpse as well as the settings looking perfectly dark when he has discussions with his fellow people about the murders as the designers did a great job on this.
Perfect moments with a family discussing on what's going to happen at the stroke of midnight which for sure gave you the chills and then we hear a bonging sound with shots on the outside area. Then we spot a figure walking across a bridge but yet it looks dusk which is a foul up on the makers since midnight is supposed to be pitch black. Yet this still looked a bit spooky as well as we hear a dog howling adding more great horror chemistry.
Perfect discussions between a young couple on Vladimire d'Urfe and Sdenka on the tragedies that are happening as well as the sympathy and upsetting moments between the two of them which looked strongly dramatised.
Perfect approach by Gorca as well as his coldness to his family along with a perfect moment on him telling his son to shoot his dog howling as this leaves a disturbing moment if he will actually do this and leaving a good mysterious moment for a reason as to why he wants his dog dead. A good add on in the story as well. Plus while hearing the howling constantly while watching this would get on anyone's nerves.
Also we spot a creepy situation with Gorca taking his youngest grandson away which gives you the chills while seeing on what he is telling him. Plus a perfect creepy shot on him riding his horse in the misty night as this looked perfectly ghostly while watching this moment as well as the family getting upset when this moment occurs along with spotting a victim with two bite marks on his neck as this was nicely shot too.
A great moment with a ghostly call on the youngest grandchild calling to be let in with his Mother Maria wanting to let him in only to be stopped by one of the family members telling her he is part of the undead which was creepy to watch as well as peer pressuring moments on whether or not she will kill anyone to get in her way to let this little vampire in. Great night shots looking out in the window spotting this child slowly walking to the front door as this is a huge pleaser for horror fans who like the undead.
A perfect moment with both Vladimire and Sdenka running away going to a morgue type area which is the home of Gorca as the surrounding looked perfect with cobwebs, grungy brick walls and all sorts of gloomy surroundings for a horror flick which almost looked setting for a Halloween type of funhouse as well as their discussions together as this looked good and deep. Plus there's a great moment with Gorca pitting against Sdenka as well as shots on the other undead relatives cornering her as this looked good and sharp as well as later on having the final moments on Vladmire while he discovered on what happened to her showing neat effects on the undead as this was perfectly edited in.

The final chapter The Drop of Water was a great one to watch as well in which there's good tense moments involving the lead character Helen Chester and her basket case of a maid along with perfect thunder and lightning effects coming from outside of their mansion. Plus nice narrow shots on the creepy old mansion too. A great moment with some curtains opening with a corspe of an old woman on her death bed which looked great to see and spooky too.
Nice shots on Helen trying to find a ring from the corpse that fell on the floor as well as the corpse's hand falling on her head which is a nice startling moment wondering if she really is dead or not and grabs your attention a great deal. Plus we see a deadly looking fly on the corses hand constantly buzzing around which totally adds some spooks and scares making it a mysterious moment that whatever Helen did is gonna have what's coming to her big time.
We spot many other mysterious and scary moments surrounding Helen which includes the fly pestering her as well as good sounds of the water dripping in her kitchen or bathroom as well as spotting weird events when these moments happen as watching all of this gives you the chills a great deal since the moments were nice and still as well as darkly lit too.
Also a great shocking surprise that involves the corpse in which there's perfect freaky shots on this and what happens here which will be a real surprise to the horror fans a great deal along with the ending of this chapter that involves on what happened to Helen as this is bone chilling as well.

Bottom line is that before we saw US horror antholigies like Tales from the Crypt or Creepshow we see this one and a classic without a doubt. Quite entertaining while watching all of this and colourful as well. Italian films were ahead of it's time since US horror films didn't allow stuff that we saw later on during that time period. I'd advise people who like anthologies to check this one out and the title of the movie inspired the heavy metal band to name themselves this name too.

The acting spoken in Italian as I saw english subtitles but could tell that it's pretty darn good. (Rosy) seemed to draw in quite well focusing on answering her phone and showing a believeable nervous and frusterated attitude. Also knew on how to show brief anxious expressions when she hears on what the caller has to say to her. Plus knew on how to reveal her sobbing and upsetting emotions come to life too. Does well acting alerted in other scene's too.
(Mary) does well with her mysterious presence speaking smoothly and nearly coldly too. Plus shows off a convincingly wicked presence to her part as well. She studied this part pretty good. Also was good with her sharp sarcasm as if she's someone not to be trusted. However when she reacts to being choked to death she needed a bit more intensity within this but not saying that this was terrible by any means.
Mark Damon
(Vladimire d'Urfe) offers a nice guy next door young man type of charm to his role making his moments very calm and coming across quite well within whatever he did as well as knowing on how to talking to his fellow actress expressing himself terrifically. He showed some nice energy and characterisrics within whatever he did here.
Susy Anderson (Sdenka) brought stuff to a nice hype with her bothersome behavior in which she was good by acting perfectly upset and emotional buy all that's happening and reacting perfectly well to the terrors that are surrounding her. She shows a perfect innocence to her part in the film and knew on how to react spooked by stuff too. Plus during the near end of her performance had a nice versatality by acting emotionless.
Boris Karloff (Gorca) lived to play a count in the flick with his perfectly ghostly appearance as well as having a perfect hissing type of speaking. Also was terrific with his uptight aggressions and getting perfectly overpowering and demanding too. Had a good wicked charm to his onscreen grandson too. Defientely shows off as someone who's unsafe to be around. Also does well slwoly approaching his vicitms before attatcking too. I found him to be the best in the cast and a perfect horror character he was. Does well as himself introducing the film adding a good personality to this too.
(Maria) was perfect as a disturbed mother in the flick in which she knew on how to act like a basket case as well as perfectly freaking out when crying out to someone offering a high pitched intensity to all of this. Plus she was terrific crying uncontrollably too. Adds more great chemistry when she loses her sanity later on in her performance and right on target within this.
(Helen Chester) does a good job with her greedy type of behavior as well as doing well acting convincingly dishonest when talking to someone like she's hiding something from them. Also knew on how to jump when she gets startled as well as acting convincingly frightened by what goes on at her own home which she studied this nicely. Also does well at a drive when she is begging and pleading for forgiveness letting it all out and does great by losing control too. She showed alot of great energy within this.
Milly (The Maid) seemed to come across well as a basket case in her performance as she knew on how to act not all there as well as having good upsetting emotions when the terrors start to happen really convincing by acting perfectly cautious to whatever was happening and acting perfectly fearsome.

A headless corpse is revealed along with the decapitated head later on being discovered but the head looked fake as you could tell that it was a piece of plastic.

The music was wonderfully and powerfully composed by Les Baxter and Roberto Nicolosi as he has great drum booming and low trombone playing throughout most of the chapter's in the film as well as the opening as it sticks out in your mind with wonderful classical music. Also we do have the odd quiverring violin playing too as this always does the trick too. Plus there's the odd wavy and spooky synthesizer playing especially used in the final chapter making the moments pretty creepy. Also for the final chapter we hear alot of various old fashioned oragan music as this was a total masterpiece. Plus the odd cymbals clanging since this adds more flavor to what goes on during the suspenseful situations.

Gorca: What's the matter, woman? Can't I fondle my own grandson? Give him to me!