The Italians in the 1960’s gave us some of the greatest cult classic western and horror films. And specifically in the horror genre and among horror aficionados, Italian Horror has its own special place of reverence and respect. A film made in 1963 deserves such respect. Black Sabbath, directed by Mario Bava and starring Boris Karloff, was a trilogy of short horror films, two of which hold up today as legitimately frightening. Analyze that last statement, ‘legitimately frightening’. We know that today there are some great horror films being made that genuinely scare: The Conjuring, The Innkeepers, It Follows, The Babadook, et al. We are in a type of golden age of horror right now thanks to some young up-and-coming directors. So, is it actually possible in this day and age to watch a film from 1963 and have it genuinely scare you? In this particular case the answer is yes.

Black Sabbath Starring Boris Karloff: Frightening Scenes That Hold Up

Let’s face it, if you and some friends have a classic horror film night where all of the films are 50+ years old, most if not all of those films will not actually scare you. The viewing is more about the experience, nostalgia and having fun with your friends. So when there actually is a 1963 horror film that can compete with today’s modern horror gems in terms of  generating authentic fright, it deserves to be recognized. 1963’s Black Sabbath consists of 3 short films: The Telephone, The Wurdalak, and The Drop of Water. Of those three, The Wurdalak and The Drop of Water hold up- and of those two, the latter particularly competes well with anything thrown at us today.

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath (1963) The Wurdulak

One final note, in watching The Wurdalak, there is strong indication that Tobe Hooper was influenced by a particular scene that he used to great effect in his 1979 film Salem’s Lot– a relative thought lost, comes to your window at night. Enjoy.


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