Black sabbath (1963) Mario Bava & Salvatore Billitteri

Black sabbath (1963) aka I tre volti della paura
aka The Three Faces of Fear
Genre: Horror
Country: Italy | France | USA | Directors: Mario Bava & Salvatore Billitteri
Language: Italian | Subtitles: English (idx/sub files)
Aspect ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1 | Length: 92mn
Dvdrip H264 Mkv - 1036x572 - 25fps - 1.50gb

Includes Audio Commentary with Tim Lucas
(second audio track)

A trio of atmospheric horror tales about: A woman terrorized in her apartment by phone calls from an escaped prisoner from her past; a Russian count in the early 1800s who stumbles upon a family in the countryside trying to destroy a particularly vicious line of vampires; and a 1900-era nurse who makes a fateful decision while preparing the corpse of one of her patients - an elderly medium who died during a seance.

The Three Faces of Fear - aka Black Sabbath (1963) - remains not only one of director Mario Bava's best and most iconic works, but one of the very best introductions to his rich and distinguished career. The film was his second in the horror genre following the celebrated Mask of Satan - aka Black Sunday (1960) - and a continuation of the distinctive style and visual aesthetic that he had been developing through subsequent films, such as the groundbreaking proto-Giallo, The Girl Who Knew too Much (1963), as well as a number of low-budget historical fantasy adventures, such as Hercules at the Centre of the Earth (1961) and Erik the Conqueror (1961). As a result, the film is notable for a number of reasons, not simply for its fantastic style and genuine technical innovation - which saw Bava develop even further as a filmmaker in his use of everything from editing and cinematography, to design and direction - but for its effortless ability to craft atmosphere and a pervasive sense of slow-burning dread, while simultaneously managing to wring tension and suspense from even the most hackneyed or generic of horror film conventions.

As a result, The Three Faces of Fear is like a Bava greatest hits package - introducing his typical approach to cinema and the various narrative concerns that would later reappear in many of his subsequent films - whilst also managing to show off his ability to move seamlessly from elements of slow-burning, giallo-like tension, full-blown Gothic melodrama, and something altogether more cerebral, or indeed, psychological. In keeping with this, the three stories (the faces of fear of the title) are each united by Bava's fantastic approach to film-making - with the bold and vivid colours, the use of light and shadow, the artificiality of the production design and the deft manipulation of time and space - and yet remain separate. The stories aren't linked in any thematic way, dealing instead with a combination of contemporary social fears, supernatural folklore and superstitious morality issues, as we focus on a different character tormented in a different time and place. However, even in spite of this, there are a number of subtle surface similarities that we can glean from the presentation, including Bava's great use of confinement (again, reminiscent of The Girl Who Knew Too Much, especially in the first and third stories, The Telephone and The Drop of Water), and the subtle way in which he manages to make his characters morally responsible for their own potential downfall.

Although the desire amongst fans of Bava's work to choose one story over another will always be there, it is impossible for me to pick a favourite; with the three stories essentially coming together to form a pure master class in horror cinema and a true testament to Bava's genius, not only as a one of the greatest genre filmmakers of the late twentieth century, but as one of the greatest Italian filmmakers of his generation. Throughout The Three Faces of Fear we see a continuing regard for storytelling, with Bava going beyond the jolts and jumps of supernatural cinema to give us intelligent and somewhat enigmatic characters that grab our attention and resonate with us on an entirely human level. He is also a filmmaker unafraid to let the drama and the tension drag out; creating a real slow-grind of lingering terror and escalating despair, which really makes the eventually pay off each story all the more affective. We also have the bold compositions, lurid colours, perfect editing and excellent score to add to the sinister atmosphere, as Bava again wrings his script for all the eerie, foreboding desperation that he possibly can.

Once again, it is a truly great place to start in terms of setting up the characteristic look and direction of many the Bava's subsequent films, in particular The Whip and the Body (1963), Blood and Black Lace (1964) and Kill, Baby... Kill (1966). However, even if we disregard the film as a landmark in Bava's career, it is still an absolute masterpiece of storytelling and creative vision; offering us a troika of short stories that develop various well-worn themes that are captured by Bava in his slow, colourful and occasionally subversive approach that is rife with a piercing wit and an incredibly bold iconography. The opening and closing scenes - with lead star of the second segment, Boris Karloff acting as the guide to the film - is again filled with a bold visual imagination and the director's typically tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, including the fairly radical final shot, in which Bava breaks the fourth wall and deconstructs the film in a way that is audacious, to say the least. Even so, The Three Faces of Fear remains one of Bava's finest films and an absolute masterpiece of pure, unadulterated horror cinema that is well worth re-discovering.

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4 Response to "Black sabbath (1963) Mario Bava & Salvatore Billitteri"

  1. Unknown says:

    May I request a Nitroflare re-up? Thanks!

    NLZ says:

    Done, and 1080p hd rip added!

    Unknown says:

    Great! Thank you!

    Unknown says:

    There's one release of this one in english, it'll be nice to see it here too =)

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