Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath is a 1963 horror film directed by Mario Bava. The film is centered on three separate tales that have an introduction and conclusion from Boris Karloff. The film stars an international cast in three short stories. The first, titled “The Telephone”, involves Suzy (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”, features Jacqueline Pierreux as Helen Corey 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. Black Sabbath follows the 1960s trend of Italian film productions, being a low budget horror anthology film with an international cast. Several changes were made to the script even after the film had gone into production. American International Pictures suggested changes to Mario Bava during filming to make the film acceptable for the American target audience. The company created their own English language dub of the film that removed scenes involving violence and re-edited certain scenes. This version greatly changed the plot of “The Telephone”, giving it a supernatural story element and removing any reference to lesbianism or prostitution. The English heavy metal band Black Sabbath appropriated their name from the film. Originally known as Earth, the group wanted to change their name as another group had the same name. The group saw a local cinema playing Black Sabbath and marveled that people paid money to be frightened.

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