Thursday, August 23, 2012
Black Sabbath Review
It’s very difficult for me to review older movies sometimes. This movie is nearly 50 years old and therefore I have to really consider the time when the movie was made, the studio, the world around it, and who would actually go and see it. There are a lot of factors that I put into my frame of reference before fully exploring the movie for review, and at times get frustrated with the pacing. It’s hard for me to go back so many years to remember what it was like to see these for the first time, but one must do so in order to get the true essence of horror cinema from the era of the 1960s. Today’s review of Black Sabbath takes us back to the year Kennedy died, 1963. Boris Karloff is creepy, that's for sure.
First and foremost, you should know that this movie is an anthology horror type of film. There are 3 separate pieces within a full movie frame, and that’s not always a bad thing. I like when movies do this, because you really don’t need to waste 90 minutes on a story that has a thin plot, but even though it’s unnecessary so many directors do it, that I might as well save my wrists from typing the thought. The movie begins like an episode of Tales from the Crypt, rather than something you’d get from the 60s, and maybe the producers were trying to capitalize on the popularity of things like the Twilight Zone, I don’t know.
The three stories are set up with a cause and effect sort of scenario, each one starting with a hard push then slowing down until you get the twist that is supposed to get you at the end. The first one is entitled “The Telephone” and it’s a short about a woman who is receiving weird phone calls, only to find out that the voice on the other end would be her tormenter unto death! A mild entrance into horror and despite the woman being a call girl, we get no sense of that, so downgrade a good review to a bad review for lack of boobs! I loved the figures of the 60s too.
The second piece is a vampire tale called “The Wurdalak” which takes us back to the 19th century where a beheaded corpse is discovered and a relic becomes a nightmare for one traveler. When someone comes looking for the relic, the lord of a manner brings them inside only to realize that they are of the undead (vampire) and the mayhem begins. This light romp is nothing like the many other horror tales involving vampires, even the shiny ones, so I found it to be a bit dry.
The last segment is called “The Drop of Water” and it did have a better tone than the previous two. Things go awry for a caretaker when a woman dies and comes back…or does she? A frightening tale of nerves is what we get in the final story and something that reminds of an Edgar Allen Poe story rather than anything from the 1960s.
Overall Black Sabbath is worth a watching, but I’m not sure that I can fathom how it felt to watch this at the time of release. At this point I’ve seen so much horror, gore, sex, violence and beyond that this tame movie doesn’t have the impact that I’m sure it had on audiences at the time. I can appreciate the acting, the easy on the eyes women, and the overall attempts at scaring the audience, but it just doesn’t sit the same with me as some more modern fair. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just older, and sometimes-older movies just don’t have that gusto they had before. This is one of them, in my opinion.
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