Black Sabbath (1963)

black sabbath poster 1963 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Classic Italian horror

Re-edit of the US version

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Black Sabbath

Studio:  Emmepi Cinematografica

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  August 17, 1963 (Italy)/May 6, 1964

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Grandpa sucked the blood out of me when I visited his house…

Horror lurks everywhere!  Be a witch who is vengeful and possessive even after her death, a woman haunted by a man over the telephone, or a vampire cursed woman, death and despair surrounds us all!  Three tales of terror are presented that can chill and thrill…and horror master Boris Karloff is here to share them!

Directed by Mario Bava, Black Sabbath (I tre volti della paura) was an Italian-French horror anthology film.  The film is composed of three stories “The Telephone”, “The Wurdulak”, and “The Drop of Water”, but the U.S. version reedited the film to air in the order of “The Drop of Water, “The Telephone”, and “The Wurdulak” with introes between each segment by Boris Karloff (who also starred in “The Wurdulak”).  The movie gained a cult following and led to the band Earth to change its name to Black Sabbath.

Anthology films (and TV series) are always a favorite of mine.  If you don’t love a story, you can always move on to the next story…and instead of a rather weak story, Black Sabbath has three generally strong stories.


Hey sexual asphyxiation isn’t my thing!

I can see why the English version saved “The Drop of Water” for last and I wish that the American version had done the same.  The story for the movie is probably the creepiest of the three with the horrific and twisted face the witch played the thief played by Jacqueline Pierreux.  The horror is real and creepy…and has the classic ending style of a good horror where the horror might not be over.  By putting it first, you have the movie peak a bit too early (though “The Wurdulak” is also good).

“The Telephone” wasn’t very supernatural and was more of a noire thriller as it originally appeared.  The U.S. version (which is still more readily available in the U.S.) edited this entry and took out some lesbian undertones between actresses Lydia Alfonsi and Michele Mercier.  The version also boosted the supernatural aspect of the story, and I wish that the original version had been kept…it was a smart story to start the film because it is a slow burning story and in the middle feels a bit slow.


No, I’m good…just a little kink in the neck.

“The Wurdalak” is a vampire story.  With Boris Karloff, this movie has the big guns in that sense and is often cited as the most traditional horror film in the trio.  The horror is still good however and I am even reminded of Salem’s Lot when the boy comes to the door asking to be let in.  It is a solid horror story and actually the only movie where Karloff played a vampire.

Black Sabbath doesn’t always have the best acting and the stories could even be better, but it has that classic horror style that directors try to recapture to this day.  It is imperfect, but it is still fun.  The movie isn’t in-your-face horror, but it is more creeping terror and a classic.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response