Black Sabbath (I tre volti della paura)
Film: Black Sabbath (I tre volti della paura)
Director: Mario Bava
Writer: Marcello Fondato
This film is a compilation of three horror stories together. It has an introduction to it by Boris Karloff.
The first story is The Telephone. A young woman comes home, played by Michèle Mercier. Her phone is ringing before she goes inside and then starts again after she does. She answers it, but the person doesn’t says anything. She gets another call and this time someone responds. It is a male voice telling her that he is going to kill her and he is watching her every move.
Someone walks by her door and slips an envelope under it. It is a news story telling her that her ex-boyfriend has escaped from prison. The caller continues to harass her and then finally informs her that it is her ex coming to get revenge. Mercier doesn’t call the police, but a friend she had a falling out with, played by Lidia Alfonsi. Mercier asks her to come over.
Who is really making these phone calls? Will Mercier survive the night?
The next story is entitled The Wurdalak. We see a young man riding a horse through the countryside; he is played by Mark Damon. He comes up a dead body with a dagger in its back and missing its head. He removes it and takes the body. He comes upon a house in the middle of nowhere. Damon is royalty and enters. He finds a matching dagger on the wall.
He is then confronted by a man who lives there, played by Glauco Onorato. Damon learns that Onorato lives with his younger brother, Massimo Righi; his wife, Rika Dialyna; their son and his sister, played by Susy Andersen. Their father is away right now. Damon tells them of the body he found and takes Righi out to see it. He confirms that it is a bandit in the area that their father has went off to kill.
We learn of a creature called a Wurdalak. It is a living corpse that drinks the blood of those that it loved in life, so pretty much a vampire. The family fears the father has become one when he is late on getting back. Just after midnight he comes back, he is played by Karloff.
There are a lot of signs that Karloff is a wurdalak. He ends up taking the boy in the night and Righi is bit as well. Damon has fallen for Andersen and convinces her to flee with him.
Will they get away? Will Karloff and the other infected be dealt with before it is too late?
The final tale is The Drop of Water. We have a woman who lives alone and gets a call in the middle of the night; she is played by Jacqueline Pierreux. She is called to a house where a woman died. Pierreux helps prepare the body as no one will help the maid, played by Milly. Pierreux does spy a ring on her finger that she steals when Milly leaves the room. A glass is knocked over; water dripping haunts Pierreux as well as a large fly. The face of the dead woman is scary and will also stay with her.
There was talk that the dead woman passed during a séance and that she was interested in ghosts. The things she experienced at the house follow her to her apartment. Will she survive the night or will the ghost get its ring back?
I have to say that I truly appreciated this film more after my second viewing. The stories are well developed and the acting in them is good. I personally was freaked most by the final story, only because of the face of the dead woman. That will haunt my dreams if I saw that in person as well. Each has a twist of its own and play with different emotions and morals, which I liked. It is fun to see Karloff in one of his later films, especially one that is foreign. The Wurdalak also really plays with the idea of family and love. Love is something we all want, but in this case, it makes them cursed to be stalked by this monster. Makes you wonder if you could kill family members if they were a creature like this. We really see this with Dialyna and her son.
I did have some issues with this film. The first was that the film claims it is in Italian, but the version I have, the voices do not sync up with their mouths. They seem to be speaking Italian, but this confused me. I’m still not entirely sure why Mercier never calls the police in the first story. Seems that would have been the smartest thing to do starting off.
Now with that said, I would recommend giving this film a viewing. The acting is good, the stories are solid and all carry a good twist. They are not overly scary, except for the dead woman in the final story. It should be pointed out that this film is in Italian. I’m not sure if the version I had was not good or if they all are like this, but the words didn’t sync up and I had to use subtitles regardless. If you can get past that, I would say to watch this film.
My Rating: 7 out of 10