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also known as I tre volti della paura | Three Faces of Fear

Black Sabbath1963

  • 3.9
One of the great horror anthology films and Mario Bava's personal favorite of his works, BLACK SABBATH solidified the director's reputation as Europe's maestro of the macabre. In THE TELEPHONE, a woman is haunted by menacing phone calls from a former lover. THE WURDULAK stars Boris Karloff as a vampire hunter whose family is stalked by the wandering spirit of an undead ghoul. A DROP OF WATER involves a nurse who steals a ring from a corpse (not realizing the curse that is carried with it). This version showcases Bava's original European cut of the film (also known as I TRE VOLTI DELLA PAURA or THREE FACES OF FEAR) before it was re-edited and re-scored for American release.

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"The segments suggest where they’re headed early, then keep plunging headlong into the shadows . . . even with Boris Karloff providing a lighthearted introduction and sign-off, BLACK SABBATH is fraught with fatalism." - Noel Murray, The Dissolve


4 members like this review

"Great movie making. Not a triumph of cinematography or special effects, just a good story told on film"?! Who are the morons reviewing movies on this site? If a viewer intentionally tried to get it backwards, he couldn't do a better job than "timholt01." The stories in Black Sabbath are mostly slim, the style and cinematography are hypnotic and OUTSTANDING. I know this is a matter of opinion, but it is buttressed by virtually anyone who has ever seen this film. Sometimes I think modern filmmaking has made most people absolutely unqualified to post their opinions on any movie that pre-dates "HD."

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Member Reviews (17)

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"Great movie making. Not a triumph of cinematography or special effects, just a good story told on film"?! Who are the morons reviewing movies on this site? If a viewer intentionally tried to get it backwards, he couldn't do a better job than "timholt01." The stories in Black Sabbath are mostly slim, the style and cinematography are hypnotic and OUTSTANDING. I know this is a matter of opinion, but it is buttressed by virtually anyone who has ever seen this film. Sometimes I think modern filmmaking has made most people absolutely unqualified to post their opinions on any movie that pre-dates "HD."

4 members like this review
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Mario Bava is at his day-glo best for this Italian horror anthology. He gives you an eyeful of the walking dead, the gloomy countryside, the menacing city, frightened women, insane men, blankets of fog, frame compositions that look like paintings and unreal color that jumps off the screen. All three stories here are strong chillers, but nobody ever looks away in fear. It's too beautiful. You can't miss Bava's eerie greens, mysterious purples, fleshy yellows, sensual reds and bizarre blues. Its best freaky visual though is the old dead woman who's clearly a fake plastic monstrosity. Most other directors would have hired an actress and made her up to look like a dead person, but not Bava. He took the crazy man's route, bless him, and made her a synthetic post-mortem monster (not even death is truly comforting here) with bug-eyes and a mouth open in either a scream or a laugh. When this corpse rises, it's no surprise. We freak out over it anyway, because Bava's that good. Perfect Halloween viewing here.

1 member likes this review
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Black Sabbath is undoubtedly my favorite Mario Bava film. Having seen most of his work, I find that this film has the best balance of storytelling and style. While I like all the stories in Black Sabbath, The Drop of Water stands out. Even though I know what happens in that segment, the sounds of dripping water always manages to evoke a feeling of dread in me. I also love the lighting, particularly the pulsing green light flashing through the window.

I wish this site offered a chance to watch both versions of the movie. Although I regard the European cut as the better film, not being able to hear the inimitable voice of Boris Karloff detracts from my enjoyment of it. For that reason, The Wurdulak segment is more satisfying in the AIP version. On the other hand, the European version of The Telephone is more effective, partly because the segment in the AIP version is considerably cut.

1 member likes this review
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Black Sabbath was, for me, the perfect introduction to Mario Bava. Personally, of all of Bava's work, I find Black Sabbath to be the most enjoyable and rewatchable. It's difficult to say why, but I think it's more balanced a film than much of his work from the 70s. I adore the man's films to a fault, to be honest, but he certainly had a creative tendency of getting caught up in things other than storytelling. By telling three short stories anthology-style, his habit of weaving hazy dreamscapes was constrained, but his masterful gothic cinematography was undiminished.

1 member likes this review
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One of my favorite Bava classics. You can watch this one over and over again. Never gets old.

1 member likes this review

Great movie making. Not a triumph of cinematography or special effects, just a good story told on film.

1 member likes this review
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This is a collection of three short stories - The Telephone, Wurdulak, and A drop of water. All three are fun little shorts, and definitely worth your time. Fun stuff.

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The reviews this film received were all four star, and I would think at the time of it's release, it might have rocked some people out of their seat. However, time has taken it's toll on this film, and while you can still enjoy the film, the sheer horror, seemed somewhat dated for me.

I didn't care for the Italian dubs, but the movie was great. Wonderful use of color and terrific cinematography!

Three little gems that are given a humorous brush off of reality at the end. Looks well restored and very visually enjoyable. The idiodic English title of tre volti della paura is quite lame though. A little bit in vein of the those American shows Suspence, Twilight Zone etc Onward to Black Sunday

extra-classic and moderne at the same time, this film is extravagantly made. the fine acting penetrates the veneer of stagey self-consciousness and the result is a perfectly enjoyable set of tales. the lighting is extraordinary thruout the film--beautiful 60's pastel atmospheres and details. even dubbed, boris karloff shreds the screen in the intro/outro bits! the hyper-abundant, slightly claustrophobic set design might remind you of later fassbinder films, and look out for the evil lesbian!

Great early coherent Bava flick.

Perfection.

Would like to actually WATCH the fing thing but your site makes this impossible to do.

Perfect.

this what i've been looking for a good black and white movies

One story is OK, one is very good and the other is a garishly lit classic.