Black Sabbath (1963)


Well, after over a month of working outside in the recent life and soul sucking heat in my area, things have slightly cooled off enough around here to allow me to think somewhat clearly. So I’m going to take advantage of my semi-clear mind to talk about this movie I bought recently called Black Sabbath.


No, not THAT Black Sabbath!

I hadn’t seen this movie before buying it, and as a rule I don’t buy movies if I don’t know what I’m in for. I learned this the hard way from buying movies like Zombie Strippers, The Fog remake, and Ants (which I previously reviewed here). However, in this case there was a lot going for it. It was directed by legendary Italian director Mario Bava, starred Boris Karloff, and it has that amazing cover art. So I threw caution and my money to the wind and took the chance.


Ok, so who do I have to bang to get a house like this?

Black Sabbath is an anthology film containing three stories, each with an introduction by Karloff and his endearing lisp. The first story is “The Drop of Water”, where a nurse gets a call about the death of a medium called Madame Perkins. After the considerable eyeballing of a ring on the corpse’s finger, the nurse decides to take it for herself, with hilarious results!! This short also has what has to be one of the creepiest faces you will ever witness on film. I considered showing it here, but I decided to make you do the work and look it up yourself.

Next up is “The Telephone”. Oooooo, scary, right? I know I’ve developed a slight fear of phones after working a few years at a call centre. In the case of The Telephone, main character Rosy is repeatedly getting phone calls from who she believes is Frank, a man she had certain dealings with who she eventually testified against in court. Rosy now believes that he has escaped prison and is looking for revenge.

Finally, we have “The Wurdalak”, or, the one Boris Karloff is in. A family is awaiting the return of their father Gorca (Karloff) who left to hunt down a Wurdalak, which is basically a vampire. On the fifth night, Gorca returns in a seriously disheveled manner, and is acting very suspicious. Could he have been bitten by the Wurdalak before killing it? Well, it wouldn’t be much of a story if he wasn’t now, would it?

Maybe it's the Wurdalak, maybe it's Maybelline

Maybe it’s the Wurdalak, maybe it’s Maybelline

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed Black Sabbath quite a bit. The version I bought is the AIP (American International Pictures), which has some differences from the Italian version. The biggest differences are the order of the stories shown are different, Boris Karloff’s introductions of the stories are an addition not in the Italian version, and some minor changes were made in some scenes in the shorts; mainly, scenes taken out, others added in, etc.

If I had to rank them from favorite to least favorite, my personal choices would have to be The Wurdalak, followed very closely by The Drop of Water, and then The Telephone, which I really didn’t care for that much. But every story was chock full of amazing lighting, set designs and locations, and top notch acting.

If you haven’t seen Black Sabbath, try and do so, be it renting or buying. It’d money better spent than going to see the garbage that’s in cinemas lately. Hell, meth seems like a more fun alternative than a lot of what’s playing nowadays. Not that I condone meth taking, or anything. Winners don’t do drugs, kids. I’m gonna go now before I dig myself a hole I can’t climb out of. Arrivederpy everyone.

– Gravedigger Glen (@DiggingTooDeep)

One response to “Black Sabbath (1963)

  1. Pingback: #223 Black Sabbath/I tre volti della paura/The Three Faces of Terror – 1000 Films Blog·

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