365horror

Black Sabbath

by on Sep.24, 2010, under Daily Review

This is a collection of short films, tied together with Boris Karloff as compare. Quality and a genius stroke by Mario Bava. This collective showcases the talent and versatility of the director and it’s an obvious first stop for the uninitiated as we get to see a sample of subtle styles from the Italian master.

We have an original obscure Tolstoy vampire tale which projects a new spin on an old theme. A father who has been cursed has a vampiric infection in which he can only feed on family and those he loves. It’s a twisted idea and most shocking when his god child becomes his first victim. Karloff plays the father with an amazing performance in which he just makes it look so easy, Susy Andersen is also stunningly good. Rich in colour and classic gothic style, it’s an ambitious tale and the longest of the three. Another tale tells of a nurse played by Jacqueline Pierreux, who attempts to steal a ring from a dead clairvoyant client but becomes haunted by guilt. A claustrophobic tale of darkness and terror.

The final tale, which slots in between the other two is my favorite of the three. A beautiful woman receives malicious menacing phone calls from who she believes is an exlover, imprisoned. Calling her friend for comfort, the night is about to get a bit crazy. This is more of a crime tale, and a vision of Bava’s direction and focus on the Giallo. Michele Mercier who is absolutely stunningly good takes thee lead as Rosy. The tale has a racy lesbian undercurrent with her friend, Mary. Lit with Blue and Red, which became Bava’s trademark especially in Blood and Black Lace, also adopted by Argento (Crystal Plumage/Inferno). The Telephone sequence is perfect in pace, style and structure which still looks as fresh and classy as it would have done back in 1964. How amazing it would have looked back then. I would have loved to have seen a reworked version of this, as a full length feature, as it’s structure is very much that of a classic situation play. Another final point, the opening sequence was lifted by another very famous American film back in 1996 staring Drew Barrymore. In fact, the whole movie’s concept is based on this short. Amazing to witness the comparisons.

This is a great collection. The Telephone stands out for me, but this collection will entertain all; a little something for everyone.

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