Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Foreign Fears: Black Sabbath (Italy) (I Tre volti della paura, The Three Faces of Fear (1963)

review by Steven M. Duarte

Director: Mario Bava
Cast: Boris Karloff and Michèle Mercier

For this month’s Foreign Fears Feature I went back to the vaults for the Mario Bava classic Black Sabbath. The film was one of the first to introduce the trilogy of fears approach that many filmmakers would end up using years later. Black Sabbath tells the tales of a nurse who steals a ring from an elderly patient of hers, a woman who is terrorized through phone calls while at home alone and lastly the tale of a Russian count who comes across a family of vampires.
Pretty much anything Mario Bava is worth watching at least once. Black Sabbath is one that’s worth more than one viewing. Specifically you will find that the film tends to have more suspense and overall creepiness factor than majority of your newer horror films. Horror great Boris Karloff lends his talent to the third tale the “Wurdalak,” where he plays a Russian count who stumbles upon a covenant of vampires while traveling through the country side of Russia. Karloff and Bava prove to be a strong duo in cinema both on and behind the cameras.
One of the greater known stories within Black Sabbath is “The Drop of Water.” Various scenes in this story will leave lasting impressions on you and will surely invade your dreams. The three stories, while different in subject matter all carry a dreadful tone and feeling. The horror is suspenseful and downright uncomfortable at times. Something that I haven’t felt much with many of the newer Hollywood releases that we come and go through the years. If you consider yourself a horror fan that you should already be on multiple viewings of Black Sabbath. If not you owe it to yourself to view not only one of the best Italian Horror titles out there, but one of the best horror titles of all time.

--Steven M. Duarte