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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Still Scary After All These Years?

First-Run Saturation For Los Angeles

Black Sabbath (1964) Gets A GPS Revisit

Gone over at length before, but fascination continues and is enhanced by Region Two release of Blu-Ray in both US and Italian versions. Mix/match these and you'll get a most satisfying so far Sabbath, but assemble with caution, as there are pieces to avoid. First The Telephone, a dud among three tales in this omnibus, but take the Italian's call if you must, as it retains lesbian subtext snipped when Jim/Sam brought Black Sabbath ashore for AIP release. The Telephone might be called a spaghetti Twilight Zone, staged all in one apartment and distinctly punk beside gothic companions. I dropped it altogether for a college run in 1975, tightening Black Sabbath to featurette length as campus combo with Brides Of Dracula. Scariest stuff by most accounts, that is, those lucky enough to have seen Black Sabbath in theatrical-1964, was The Drop Of Water and its hag of a revived corpse seeking payback for a stolen ring. Aaargh, that face ... and never mind that modern viewers are likelier to laugh ... we who remember still revere it.




The Karloff section was held for Sabbath's sock finish. Here was BK playing sinister in his seventies, a triumph of charisma over age, him still the scariest monster for kid-dom whether at matinees or midnights on the tube. Longest-serve The Wurdalak put Boris to bloodsucking and brandishing heads he'd hang as yard ornaments, a gleeful prospect for all us who thought him too tame in Thriller episodes. In fact, it was Thriller Jim/Sam wanted to evoke by having Karloff introduce each of the tales with tongue-in-cheek after TV example. He'd done as much for the Italians, but those intros were too far-out even for AIP, and since Boris had a contract with the firm, it was thought better to bring him over here to shoot fresh ones. What wounds the Italian Black Sabbath (called I tre volti della paura, or The Three Faces Of Fear) is Karloff's voice dubbed to their language. That's worth hearing once for curiosity, plus there's more gore (the head) and as with all three sections, different music which some prefer. For sentiment accrued from seeing Black Sabbath first-run, give me, for a most part, AIP's version, altered though it may be.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jerry Kovar said...

I find it interesting that LA bookings were a double feature of 2 AIP Mario Bava Italian imports (did Sam get a package deal? BOGO?) while the NYC saturation of "Black Sabbath" was as the "2nd Big Feature" to Universal's "McHale's Navy" (complete with opening weekend stage appearances of Joe Flynn, Tim Conway and Carl Ballantine). Me and the gang would have preferred the LA bill. Now I have to find "Evil Eye".

9:23 AM  
Blogger Stinky Fitzwizzle said...

Stinky agrees with the mix-and-match method, and prefers the American version, if only to hear Karloff's voice.

4:29 PM  
Blogger brickadoodle said...

I, too, screamed at my first sight of the “hag of a revived corpse” in “The Drop of Water”.

My grandmother had taken me to the “show” to see BLACK SABBATH. I must admit that my dear old granny, with her rictus grin and crazy eyes, bore an uncanny resemblance to the aforementioned ghoul, and when I turned to her to find some maternal comfort, I screamed again...

4:26 PM  

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