Sunday 12 May 2013

Black Sabbath – UK BD/DVD review

OK, got another disc to review from Arrow films, this time its Mario Bava’s “Black Sabbath” which is being released on a BD/DVD deluxe edition combo pack.
Slightly different in style from his other works, Black Sabbath, or “The Three Faces of Fear” to give it it’s original Italian title, is a three part anthology film not unlike those Amicus horror films from the same era.
Presented by Boris Karloff, the first tale (in the English language version anyway) “The Drop of Water” is a classic supernatural tale about a nurse, who steals a ring from the finger of a deceased lady, only to find the rings former owner isn’t quite ready to part with it yet.
The second story, “The Telephone”, sees a young woman being terrorised by threatening phone calls by an abusive ex-partner that she thought was dead. Calling on an old friend to come over to keep her company, the two soon discover that her former partner may not be as dead as they thought.
And lastly “The Wurdalak”, in which Karloff also stars. Which is a period piece, set in rural Russia in which a family are eagerly awaiting the return of their grandfather, only to discover he is now a walking corpse with a thirst for human blood.
Now, there are 2 versions of the film on the discs. The original Italian language version of the film, and the English language export version. The US version (reviewed here) was heavily re-edited, used completely different introductions by Boris Karloff, showed the stories in a different order and utilised a completely different soundtrack.
Indeed, the Italian language version is almost like watching a completely different film, relying more heavily on background effects to provide atmosphere, which gives it a more gothic feel, whereas the US version relies more heavily on the new musical score, which gives it a more “campy” feel.
Now, the case contains the  Blu-Ray and 2x DVDs. The Blu-Ray contains both versions of the film, whereas the DVDs contain one version of the film on each. Plus one of the DVDs contains several additional extras not on the Blu-Ray.
Extras are listed as follows…
US and Italian versions of the film
Audio commentary with Bava biographer Tim Lucas (Italian version)
Twice the Fear feature. Side by side comparisons of the differences between the US and Italian releases
US version of the film
Twice the Fear feature (as above)
Italian version of the film
Audio commentary with Bava biographer Tim Lucas
Introduction by genre critic Alan Jones
Interview with star Mark Damon
3x theatrical trailer
TV spot
Radio spot
A superb set of extras, plus I’m pretty sure this is the only release of the film to contain the old US version as well as the original Italian version, so if you were thinking of adding this movie to your collection, then this Arrow release is definitely the only way to go.

The film is released to UK stores May 13.
Buy the UK BD/DVD combo pack from

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