Black Sabbath (1963)

Although anthology horror films are fiendishly difficult to pull off, in its original Italian version (as opposed to the reshuffled, re-scored travesty released in the US), Bava’s bold, expressionistic use of colour and lighting imposes a stylistic consistency on this disparate trio of tales. Boris Karloff’s sonorous intro and epilogue also help. The Telephone seethes with twisted eroticism, as a Parisian (Mercier) is terrified by threatening phone calls from her vengeful ex-boss. Russian vampire lore informs The Wurdalak, which starts with the discovery of a stabbed and headless corpse, then progresses to ghoulish, atmospheric scenes of blood-sucking. A nurse who steals a valuable ring from a dead body is haunted by guilt in The Drop of Water. The visual debt owed by Argento’s Suspiria and Inferno is abundantly clear. NF
Dir Mario Bava (Boris Karloff, Mark Damon, Michèle Mercier)

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