Original Title: I tre volti della paura
Director: Mario Bava
The night I published the “XX” review, I was in bed ready to sleep when I began to think about which movie would be nice to review next, so I started looking through a list I have and the absolutely perfect choice appeared for many reasons:
Meaning I can do some things for the first time here, broadening the diversity of movies and at the same time, making up for the fact that the last two horror reviews were negative.
“I tre volti della paura” AKA “The Three Faces of Fear”, but probably the best-known name “Black Sabbath”, one of the names for the Witches’ Sabbath a gathering between witches and Satan. However, that’s just a catchy name, the movie is not about witches or Satan.
The Heavy Metal band, pioneers of Doom Metal, took their name from this movie, and I would say that the notoriety of the band overcame the one of the film.
To be honest, it seems like the movie is not very well-known by the general public, something I find surprising, because the director is the legendary Mario Bava and the biggest star is, the also legendary, Boris Karloff.
In case you don’t know who was Boris Karloff, he was the original Frankenstein’s monster, from the 1931 movie, and of course, many other titles, being one of the horror icons.
The movie has two versions, one American and one Italian, and as far as I know, the version I have and will talk about now is the Italian one. I can’t tell exactly the differences between the two, but in the American version, the introductory scenes with Karloff were cut.
The Italian version, have the introductory scenes with Karloff and a very nice comedic tone, and he’s also the actor in one of the stories.
The first story is called “The Telephone”. The story of Rosy (Michèle Mercier), arriving at home and receiving threatening calls, apparently from her former pimp, Frank (Milo Quesada).
Rosy calls her estranged friend Mary (Lydia Alfonsi) for help. In spite of the girls referring to themselves as friends, is implied that they could have been more than “just friends”.
The second one is “The Wurdalak”, and is the story where Boris Karloff participates actively as Gorca, the patriarch of a family who went missing after going to kill a creature called Wurdalak.
The story began when a Russian nobleman finds a corpse with a knife, he takes the knife with him. When he finds shelter, with Gorca’s family, they explain the situation.
Wurdalak is an undead vampire present in the Slavic mythology. Different than the vampire we are used to, the wurdalak feeds on the blood of his family members, killing them and turning them into wurdalaks.
“The Drop of Water” is the third and last story. Helen (Jacqueline Pierreux), is preparing the corpse of an old lady for her burial, and seeing a ring in the woman’s body, decides to steal it.
After stealing from the dead, the woman returns to her own apartment, where she starts to be tormented.
All stories are good and I can’t point out a favorite one. The first time I watched, I didn’t like much of “The Telephone”, but now re-watching I changed my opinion and think it’s almost as good as the others.
“The Telephone” is the least scary, but the other two definitely compensate with huge doses of horror. Both “Wurdalak” and “The Drop of Water” are really scary short movies, with very nice elements.
I loved the use of lights in the movie, and the cinematography as a whole is really good. In my opinion, a horror movie can be good with a very standard cinematography, but with a well-executed one, it can take the movie to a whole ‘nother level.
I would have one “but” in regards to “Black Sabbath”, but I completely forgive something like that from a movie from 1963. The special effects are not the greatest, but, as I said, it’s a movie from 1963.
I rather have a good movie with mediocre special effects, than a mediocre movie with good special effects.
I not saying “Black Sabbath” is a masterpiece of cinema, but it’s a decent scary movie, well executed and made what was possible with the technology and money from its time and because of that, I fell it deserves 8 Moons.