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I Tre Volti della Paura

Black Sabbath
Les Trois Visages de la Peur / The Three Faces of Terror / The Three Faces of Fear / Drei Gesichter der Furcht / Black Christmas

Italy/France 1963
produced by
Alfredo Leone, Paolo Mercuri for Galatea Film, Emmepi Cinematografica, Societé Cinématographique Lyre
directed by Mario Bava
starring - segment Telephone: Michèle Mercier, Lidia Alfonsi, Milo Quesada - segment The Wurdalak: Boris Karloff, Mark Damon, Susy Andersen, Massimo Righi, Glauco Onorato, Rika Dialina - segment Drop of Water: Jacqueline Pierreux, Milly, Harriet Medin, Gustavo De Nardo
screenplay by Mario Bava, Alberto Bevilacqua, Marcello Fondato, based on stories by Guy de Maupassant (The Telephone), Aleksei Tolstoy (The Wurdalak), Ivan Chekhov (The Drop of Water), music by Roberto Nicolosi

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The Telephone:

One night, Rosy (Michèle Mercier) receives threatening phonecalls from a stranger, a stranger that eventually seems to turn out to be Frank Rainer (Milo Quesada), her ex-boyfriend she once turned in. In her desperation, Rosy calls her ex-lover Mary (Lidia Alfonsi) for help, not knowing that she really is behind the phonecalls. Mary comes over, calms Rosy down, even sees to it that she goes to sleep, then writes a letter confessing to the calls, claiming it to be an attempt to get back together with Rosy ... when the real Frank Rainer appears on the scene, strangles Mary, whom he mistakens for Rosy, then goes after the real Rosy, who stabs him with a knife though Mary has hidden under her pillow for self-defense.

The Wurdalak:

A vampires or rather a wurdalak roams the Eastern European countryside, a creature that especially relishes in drinking the blood of those he loves. In front of this background, Vladimir d'Urfe (Mark Damon) asks for and is granted abode at a peasents' home, and soon enough, he falls in love with Sdenka (Susy Andersen), the daughter of the house. However, the whole family is waiting for the return of Gorca (Boris Karloff), the patriarch who has gone out to hunt down and kill the wurdalak ... and really, before long, Gorca returns with the wurdalak's head ... thing is, now he has turned into a wurdalak and has become a menace to the whole family - and ultimately he gets his way too. Only Vladimir and Sdenka manage to escape, but during a night they spend at some shack, Sdenka disappears and Vladimir tracks her back to her family's home. Meeting again, the two embrace, but by now Sdenka has been turned into a wurdalak as well.

The Drop of Water:

One night, nurse Helen (Jacqueline Pierreux) is called over to make the dead body of a woman decent, but when the deceased drops a ring, she picks it up and keeps it for herself. Later, back home again, Helen starts hearing dripping water everywhere, just like in the dead woman's home, then she hears cats meowing, also just like in the dead woman's home, and finally, the dead woman seems to appear almost everywhere and ultimately strangles Helen. When Helen's neighbour (Harriet Medin) presents dead Helen to the police, the ring is gone from Helen's finger, and the neighbour starts having a bad conscience ...

 

For this horror anthology, Mario Bava has taken on three big names of world literature - though his adaptations are rather free to say the least. Apart from that, Bava's choice of exactly the stories contained in the film is rather questionable, as they seem to have little in common and make this film an unexpectedly heterogenous experience ... but all of this is not to say that Black Sabbath is a bad film, quite the contrary, it's simply great: While The Telephone is a textbook example of suspense and tension (apart from the rather disappointing ending), The Wurdalak is gothic horror at its best and most economic, and The Drop of Water is a horror short story with your typical macabre surprise ending. And as a matter of fact, Mario Bava, then still towards the beginning of his directorial career scores with all three stories andreadily demonstrates his mastery as horror director.

Highly recommended.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

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