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26 January 2010 @ 12:01 am
Black Sabbath (1963)

In the vein of episodic, Twilight Zone-esque (look for the twist) vignettes, Black Sabbath delivers The Telephone, The Wurdalak, and The Drop of Water, but could essentially be moralized into “don’t piss off your girlfriends,” “always listen to the natives,” and “don’t steal from corpses.” And seriously, these all seem like pretty reasonable guidelines to me.

Understanding that I’m behind in my classic horror education, I’ve decided to focus on these films in the same way I’d enjoy, or pick apart, any newer film during a first-time viewing. While I do succumb on occasion to the glories of colored lighting, by short number three I was in dire need of regular shadows or a black & white sequence. Although, to be fair, near the end of The Wurdalak the lighting does feel more artistic. How can you NOT love a purple-teal-and-green lit-up ruin of a castle on some barren mountainside?

Beyond the highly stylized, era-specific (and culturally Italiano-specific) sets and stories, the first film, featuring Michele Mercier as a beauty stalked in her own home by an all-seeing, all-knowing killer she helped put in jail, actually did manage to create a bit of a creepy mood – or perhaps it was because I too was alone home in the dark with no one to hear me scream. But if I had to choose a favorite it would clearly be The Wurdalak staring Boris Karloff as a patriarch-turned-vampire who has returned home to feast on his loved ones. Not only is this slight variation, the bloodthirsty walking corpse’s preference in preying on those he most loves first, nicely gruesome, but there is some comedy to be had in the speed at which our hero (Count? Baron?) falls for the native, buxom blonde while doing pretty much everything wrong in trying to save her from her father’s loving bite.

Random Thoughts:
Scream – opening sequence feels a lot like The Telephone
A Serious Man – the new Joel and Ethan Cohen film has an eerie Wurdalack-ish start to it, in tone if not in the specifics. And it rocks.
I think Raimi took his eye-cam, monster-cam, Spidey-cam idea from The Drop of Water’s fly-cam.

And is it just me, or is Helena Bonham Carter well on her way to perfecting the waxy, bobble-headed corpse in The Drop of Water?

editorial note: This post was created for the Final Girl Film Club
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