(I Tre Volti della Paura)
Black Sabbath is an anthology of three stories. Boris Karloff is brought as linking narrator, fulfilling much the same function he did on tvs Thriller (1960-62). The principal frisson in all three stories is the theme of an individuals home being alienated from them the first two stories almost entirely take place inside a single apartment with a woman being haunted and driven insane by an eruption of the supernatural. The first story A Drop of Water is occasionally heavy-handed but Mario Bava builds an effectively eerie accumulation of atmosphere through the likes of amplified drops of water and blinking lights from the street, eventually arriving at the ghostly appearance of the dead body in the apartment.
Even better is the second story The Telephone, which has a number of intensely unsettling moments like where the mysterious caller starts taunting the girl about things she has just done; where writing mysteriously appears on a blank piece of paper as she is reading it; and the caller taunts her Youll be dead by dawn a shock effect taken from The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1919).
The third and best story The Wurdulak most resembles Black Sunday in tone (although in colour it comes out looking more like a Hammer film). It too plays on a sense of alienation of the familiar in this case, a vampire that specifically preys upon members of his own family by turning their affections against them. There are some fine scenes with Boris Karloff returning and settling back into normal family life in blithe disregard of his familys uncertainty about what he has become. Mario Bava builds some intense atmosphere with faces seen outside windows, Boris Karloff skulking around in a white perm and subtly underlit makeup, and a superb moment where a now vampirized child returns, knocking on the door and his mother is unable to resist her maternal affections to go to him.
Mario Bavas other films are:- uncredited co-direction of Riccardo Fredas I Vampiri (1957); the Gothic classic Black Sunday/The Mask of the Demon/The Revenge of the Vampire Woman (1960); the Greek muscleman fantasy Hercules in the Center of the Earth/Hercules vs the Vampires (1961); the giallo The Evil Eye (1962); the Gothic horror Night is the Phantom/The Whip and the Body/What? (1963); the giallo psycho-sexual thriller Blood and Black Lace (1964) the Gothic Kill Baby ... Kill/Curse of the Dead/Curse of the Living Dead/Operation Fear (1965); the sf/horror film Planet of the Vampires (1965); the spy comedy Dr Goldfoot and the Girls Bombs (1966), Bavas worst film; the masked super-thief film Danger Diabolik (1967); the giallo Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970); the giallo Hatchet for a Honeymoon/Blood Brides (1971); the giallo Twitch of the Death Nerve/Bloodbath/A Bay of Blood/Carnage/Ecology for a Crime (1971); the Gothic Baron Blood (1972); the giallo/haunted house film Lisa and the Devil/House of Exorcism (1972); and the possession film Schock/Beyond the Door II (1977).