Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath ★★★★½

I have now seen the light and understand what all the fuss is about with Mario Bava's Black Sabbath. A near perfect horror anthology (when does that ever happen?) with a gleefully manic performance by Boris Karloff all wrapped in the Italian horror/giallo trappings of fantastic set pieces, intense colors, and creepy sound and practical effects.

I wish I could go back in a time machine and make my younger impressionable self watch this so it would've scared the pants off of me and left permanent scars, just as 1973's The Severed Arm or 1953's The Thing that Wouldn't Die did. If I saw this as a kid it would've freaked my shit out -- the sneeze-and-you-miss-it scene of a decapitated corpse, the constant "nails on a chalkboard" ringing of a phone and water dripping, or the rictus smile of a woman's death mask.

But what really stood out for me was Boris Karloff's whackadoodle performance -- first as the anthology's carnival-like exuberant host, then as the disheveled wurdulac wreaking havoc on his loved ones, and finally as both host and wurdulac galloping away on a fake horse as the camera pans out and breaks the fourth wall to reveal a bunch of folks dancing in front of him with tree branches held overhead to create the "galloping through a forest" effect.

This was truly a chef's kiss.

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