Black Sabbath (1963)
April 26, 2022 6:14 AM - Subscribe

This horror anthology by Mario Bava consists of three separate tales introduced by Boris Karloff and based on stories by Tolstoy, de Maupassant, and Chekhov. In "The Telephone," Rosy (Michèle Mercier) receives threatening telephone calls from an unseen stalker. In "The Wurdulak", a man named Gorca (Karloff) returns to his family after claiming to have slain a Wurdulak, an undead creature who attacks those that it had once loved. "The Drop of Water" centers on Helen Corey (Jacqueline Pierreux), a nurse who steals a ring from a corpse being prepared for burial and finds herself haunted by the ring's original owner.

The order in which the stories are presented varies among the different versions in which the film has been released. As with most Italian genre films of the era, there is no "original" language, as an international cast of actors was filmed speaking in their various original languages and then dubbed over to create different versions. The version currently streaming on Shudder and available for digital rental in the US is the restored Italian version, which has a different order of segments, a different runtime, and some different narration than the English version which is currently free on YouTube, though not restored.
posted by DirtyOldTown (2 comments total)
 
My kid had just asked to watch Pulp Fiction not long before this, so we did. Then, watching this, I was struck by how much Tarantino takes/learns from Bava. I was not expecting that to be a takeaway, but it was.

Anyway, this is fun and terrific. No stinkers among the three stories, every image is lovely, as ever with Bava, and I was really enjoying the technique where he frames a lovely shot, then lets the camera gently follow the action until resting on another perfectly composed shot, sometimes with a bonus perfectly framed image in between.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:22 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


That's an interesting observation regarding Taratino and Bava.

I love all Bava's work without caveats but this one has a special place as it is likely one of the first I watched as a kid. Of the 2 versions I've seen - Italian language cut and the English audio AIP cut - I prefer the Italian cut of the Telephone & Drop of Water segments but I prefer the English language cut of the Wurdulak, I think it just works better. Drop of Water is the one I like the least but even still its good and it reminds me a lot of Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani's Amer (though they are really referencing a lot of slightly later Giallo works regardless the style still reminds me of this segment).
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:51 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]


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