Black Sabbath (1963) (Italian)
Black Sabbath (Italian: I tre volti della paura, lit. ‘The Three Faces of Fear’) is a 1963 horror anthology film directed by Mario Bava. The film is centered on three separate tales that are introduced by Boris Karloff. The first, titled “The Telephone”, involves Rosy (Michèle Mercier) who continually receives threatening telephone calls from an unseen stalker. The second is “The Wurdulak”, where a man named Gorca (Karloff) returns to his family after claiming to have slain a Wurdulak, an undead creature who attacks those that it had once loved. The third story, “The Drop of Water”, is centered on Helen Corey (Jacqueline Pierreux), a nurse who steals a ring from a corpse that is being prepared for burial and finds herself haunted by the ring’s original owner after arriving home.
Being a low-budget horror film with multiple stories, an international cast and foreign financial backing, Black Sabbath follows numerous trends of 1960s Italian film productions. The film is credited to various writers, but is predominantly based on several uncredited sources, and changes were made to the script after filming commenced. American International Pictures suggested changes to Bava during filming to make the film palpable for American audiences, and created their own English-language version of the film, which replaced Roberto Nicolosi’s score with music by Les Baxter, removed several depictions of graphic violence and made alterations to other scenes. This version greatly changed the plot of “The Telephone”, giving it a supernatural element and removing all references to lesbianism and prostitution.
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