Black Sabbath (1963)
Three short tales of supernatural horror. In “The Telephone,” a woman is plagued by threatening phone calls. In "The Wurdalak,” a family is preyed upon by vampiric monsters. In “The Drop of Water,” a deceased medium wreaks havoc on the living.
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As Good As It Gets
A Major Disappointment
Good films always raise compelling questions, whether the format is fiction or documentary fact.
Each character in this movie — down to the smallest one — is an individual rather than a type, prone to spontaneous changes of mood and sometimes amusing outbursts of pettiness or ill humor.
The first one is great, although more falls under the thriller genre, the second is an average vampire story, and the ghost story at the end is lousy. On average ... mediocre. The original title of the film is in Italian, director is also Italian, actors are Italian, French and English, it's written everywhere that the film is Italian, but either I'm crazy or this film was filmed in English and synchronized to Italian, which is so irritating that it can not be described in words. The Italian language does not fit the genre and synchronization makes it completely ridiculous and totally kills the tension of the original story. Why they did this I have no idea, and if someone knows what the matter is, I would be grateful to hear the explanation.6/10
Mario Bava has many staunch fans and rightfully so. His outstanding talent as a cinematographer marked all of his stints as a director, and Black Sabbath shows him at his most impressive best.But for me...and I'm a compulsive fan of vintage horror movies...Bava's great visuals are almost always undone by his shortcomings as a storyteller. In almost all his films, the narrative thread is weak. The suspense just isn't there. The black humor doesn't resonate the way it does in the best pictures from Universal, AIP or Hammer. And the lead characters rarely have the charisma necessary to keep the audience fascinated.I've just finished watching a beautiful widescreen DVD release of the original European version of Black Sabbath, called 'The Three Faces of Fear'. Having given up on Bava many years ago, I thought this was a good opportunity to try again, and to see what many regard as his masterpiece.Yes, it is gorgeous to look at: great framing, great tracking, great panning shots, haunting atmosphere. So by all means, try to find a good full-length HD print to appreciate this one. But for me, each of the three tales in this anthology has the same weaknesses of Bava's other films. No compelling plotlines, and none of the fascinating characterizations needed to keep the audience in a tight grip. Even Boris Karloff, while always a pleasure to watch, is not as engrossing as usual. Still, Black Sabbath is a remarkable accomplishment. So in a nutshell, maybe one should borrow François Truffaut's famous comment to Alfred Hitchcock, regarding Under Capricorn: 'Perhaps not a good film, but a beautiful film.'
I first saw this in the early nineties on a VHS. Revisited this recently on a blu ray. This film is an anthology of three tales of terror.The first one is about a woman who is stalked by a caller while in her apartment. It is revealed that her ex-boyfriend has escaped from prison n that she was the one responsible for turning him in. Her female friend comes to her apartment to give her company. Nice twist, nice angle.... This segment was OK. It was shot in jus one apartment n the tension is not that high. In the second segment a Vladimir while riding on a long journey discovers a corpse by a river. The corpse is decapitated and has been impaled with a knife. He approaches the nearby house n finds out something weird n sinister about the dead corpse n the killer of the corpse. This is the best segment of mine. The trademark of Bava missing in the earlier segment is covered very well in this one. The Gothic imagery n cinematography! This segment reminded me of Black Sunday. The atmosphere in this segment is laid on thick with winds howling through a purple-lit night, and a roaring log fire illuminating an old wooden peasant's house. The mountains, the valleys n the river is captured very well. The ruined fort/castle was creepy. The atmosphere was so cold that i pulled up my blanket while watching this. The cottage in the middle of nowhere looked straight outta creepy paintings. One of the best part in this segment is Boris Karloff's acting n get up. Very creepy. One very creepy scene has Boris Karloff standing outside a window peeping. The third one is of a nurse who robs a ring while preparing the body of a recently deceased woman who was involved with the occult and seances. A really spooky one.
Hosted by Boris Karloff, three tales of supernatural horror and terror are presented.The good Stories: The Drop of Water-Called to a remote house, a caregiver asked to prep a body for an upcoming ceremony incurs the supernatural wrath of the owner's spirit when she steals the dead woman's prized ring for herself. This here is one of the most chilling and utterly suspenseful entries in the film and perhaps of the genre as a whole. The atmosphere of this one is incredible as the ornate, elaborate house is Gothic splendor that looks even better with all the gorgeous lighting and photography utilized to showcase it all, leaving the setting here effective enough on it's own right before taking into account all the other supernatural action to get into play here. The exploits of the fly buzzing around the woman's finger before becoming a vital part of the torment against her later on, the continuous and nearly incessant dripping water from the faucets and drips of her house where there's the brilliantly atmospheric section of her attempting to turn of everything in the house before it gets to her and there's the masterful sequences in her house of the banging noises and thudding footsteps wandering around after her while being confronted with the lightning storm and that absolutely spectacular first appearance of the ghost woman. Though it does end on a whimper here, this one is still an utterly enjoyable and effective effort.The Telephone-Inundated with strange telephone calls, a woman comes to believe that her jealous boyfriend has come back to haunt her and tries to survive a frightening nightmare with her friend watching her while being assaulted by the madman. This here was quite the enjoyable and satisfying entry here mainly in the way this one really works over the then-burgeoning giallo motifs into a solid and workable variant here by focusing on so many of the lurid tropes of the style so early into the genre's creation. The elaborate set-up of the degenerate killer stalking the beautiful young woman and tormenting her in sexually-explicit actions before going for the kill at the finale, marking quite an impressive and stylized tone here that works rather well with the utterly spectacular amount of atmosphere present. The apartment setting here is quite striking with the clean white space and sensual actions featured, all quite prominent aspects of the style and more than worthwhile enough to make this interesting enough. There's a slightly hokey manner in which the final resolution plays out which isn't all that impressive or enjoyable as it comes off rather familiar in how it plays off, but it's not enough to really hurt this one.The Wurdulak-On the hunt for a deranged killer, a huntsman traveling in the remote woodlands finds the family residing in his chosen shelter are plagued by the very wurdurlak he is chasing and bands together with them to stop him. This here was quite a fun and enjoyable effort that works really well here in the context of the other stories. Not only is this the longest one in here which makes it absolutely more chilling by being able to really sell the change and how it/s affected him overall, from the irrational behavior about his beloved pets to the eerie manner his lifeless eyes continually stare out at everyone and the confusing manner of which he seems to heel from his injuries, this one superbly builds up the feel that something isn't right so well that it scores some great shocks once it starts in on the slaughter of the family. The old- school Gothic-styled pacing and set-up don't hurt either, with this one really making such a strong atmosphere about it through those scenes, the hunting abduction of the grandchild or the effectively eerie and chilling approach in the woods over the bridge that it manages to cultivate a really dynamic and incredible sense of fun even in the finale as it moves into the grand, glorious Gothic- fueled encounter deep in the bowels of the castle dungeon. It does overstay somewhat with it's length coming into play and the characters here show some rather lame actions in order to move this along, but overall it's still quite a bit of fun.Today's Rating-PG-13: Violence and children-in-danger.