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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(Above Titles: Arrow Blu-ray TOP vs/ Kino Blu-ray MIDDLE  vs. Arrow Blu-ray BOTTOM)

(aka "Black Sabbath" or "The Three Faces of Fear" or "Les trois visages de la peur")

 

directed by Mario Bava
Italy / France / USA 1963

 

Black Sunday was such a huge hit that a follow-up was swiftly demanded, and horror maestro Mario Bava duly devised this three-part horror anthology blending modern and period stories.

In the giallo-style The Telephone, a woman is terrorized by her former pimp after his escape from prison, and tries to escape him with the help of her lesbian lover, who has a dark secret of her own. In the Victorian-era The Drop of Water, a nurse steals a ring from the corpse of a dead spiritualist, which naturally tries to get it back. But it s the 19th-century Russian story The Wurdalak that comes closest to Bava's earlier classic, with the great Boris Karloff as a much-loved paterfamilias who might not be entirely what he seems.

Bava's direction is as stylish as ever, and Black Sabbath is almost a compendium of his favourite themes.

***

Vintage Bava in which Karloff introduces three adaptations from famous tales of the supernatural (and also stars in the last): The Drop of Water by Chekhov, The Telephone by Howard Snyder, and The Wurdalak by Tolstoy. Pictorially it's amazing, and even the script and dubbing are way above average. If only Amicus, who subsequently cornered the horror omnibus market, had taken heed they might have got some ideas as to what can be done with the format.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 17 August 1963 (Italy) / 6 May 1964 (USA)

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Comparison:

Image - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Anchor Bay (Mario Bava Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for all the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Anchor Bay (Mario Bava Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Arrow (European) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution

Image

Region 0 - NTSC

Anchor Bay
Region 1 - NTSC
Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:19 1:32:18 1:32:15.196 / AIP Version: 1:35:51.787 1:32:24.956
Video

1.77:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.64 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.77:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.3 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,717,952,259 bytes

Feature: 23,273,865,216 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

AIP Version:

Feature: 21,651,652,608 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 27.00 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,091,053,086 bytes

Feature: 20,575,751,424 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 25.94 Mbps

 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Image

 

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay (Mario Bava Collection)

 

Bitrate: Euro

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: AIP

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Kino

Blu-ray

 

Audio Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono

Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono

LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
* DTS Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / 16-bit

AIP Version:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

LPCM Audio Italian 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Image

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.77:1

Edition Details:
• Liner notes by author Tim Lucas
• Mario Bava Biography and Filmography
• Boris Karloff Filmography
• Photo and Poster Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: August 1, 2000
Snapper case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.77:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary with author Tim Lucas
• A Life in Film: An Interview with Mark Damon (20:59)
• International and U.S. trailers
• TV and Radio Spots
• Poster & Still Gallery
• Mario Bava Biography
• Boris Karloff Biography
• Trailers for other Mario Bava Films
 

DVD Release Date: April 3, 2007
Slimcase in a boxset

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow Film

Aspect Ratio: 1.74:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 48,717,952,259 bytes

Feature: 23,273,865,216 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

AIP Version:

Feature: 21,651,652,608 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 27.00 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• 
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of two versions of the film; I tre volti della paura the European version with score by Roberto Nicolosi & Black Sabbath the re-edited and re-dubbed AIP version with Les Baxter score, on home video for the first time
• English SDH subtitles for English Audio and a new English subtitle translation of the Italian audio
• Audio Commentary with Bava biographer and expert Tim Lucas (Euro version only)

• Twice the Fear (32:13)
• Introduction to the film by author and critic Alan Jones (2:53)
• A Life In Film An Interview with star Mark Damon (21:01)
• International Trailer (3:26)
• US Trailer (2:23)
• Italian Trailer (3:18)
• TV (:54) and Radio Spots (1:06)
• Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic David Cairns and a substantial interview with AIP Producer Samuel Z. Arkoff on his experiences of working with Bava, conducted by Tim Lucas, illustrated with original stills and posters


Blu-ray Release Date:
May 13th, 2013
Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,091,053,086 bytes

Feature: 20,575,751,424 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 25.94 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• None


Blu-ray Release Date: July 16th, 2013
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 10

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION Kino Blu-ray - June 2013: Kino's bare-bones Blu-ray of Mario Bava's Black Sabbath is significantly darker and greener than the Arrow. It must be a different print and not knowing the original appearance - I'd say it doesn't look bad if you disregard the excessive green and the loss of detail in the darker scenes. It is in the 1.75:1 or thereabouts AR and shows a tad more information in the frame - mostly on the left edge. It is single-layered with a lower, but acceptable, bitrate. Audio is only in the original Italian (no English option), lossless (linear PCM) and has optional subtitles. The only extras are trailers (no AIP version included). Nice to have the option but you gotta give kudos to Arrow for the completeness of their Blu-ray package.  

 

***

ADDITION: Arrow - Region 'B' Blu-ray - May 2013': Regarding the European version - Arrow's new transfer is a large stride ahead of the DVDs. Surprisingly it shows a little less information in the frame - usually on the side edges. The dual-layered disc houses both the European and, slightly longer, AIP (American International Pictures) English edition in 1080P in separate transfers. The AIP version starts with the MGM logo and aside from some different takes (like the Karloff opening) it has some strong differences with the image quality from the European. It seems out of ratio and shows even less information in the frame. It is brighter but colors vary and it appears to have some artifacts. Actually it is an interesting curiosity and the order of the three films is different but visually it is inferior to the European film.

Eric says: "The difference between aspect ratios from the European and AIP versions is because the AIP version comes from MGM's own HD master, so the framing and color choices are different from the ones taken with the transfer of the Euro version. The European version was processed by Technicolor while the AIP version was in Pathe color, so MGM's color choices may be based on reference materials for the US version. Since the film was a coproduction with AIP, the aspect ratio is supposed to be 1.85:1 even for the European version."

Both offer linear PCM tracks with optional English subtitles (new English subtitle translation on the Italian audio). The European version has the score by Roberto Nicolosi & Black Sabbath the re-edited and re-dubbed AIP version has the Les Baxter score.

Extras on the Blu-ray include the audio commentary with Bava biographer and expert Tim Lucas (Euro version only) and a 1/2 piece entitled Twice the Fear. There are two DVDs with the package. The first has the Euro versionw ith a 3-minute introduction to the film by author and critic Alan Jones. There is also A Life In Film 20-minute interview with star Mark Damon and some trailers, TV + Radios Spots, plus the collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic David Cairns and a substantial interview with AIP Producer Samuel Z. Arkoff on his experiences of working with Bava, conducted by Tim Lucas, illustrated with original stills and posters. There is a third DVD included with the AIP version and the Twice the Fear featurette.

NOTE: Our own Eric Cotenas has written this about the extras: "Extras commence with an introduction to the film by Alan Jones (who introduced the Arrow releases of BLACK SUNDAY, LISA AND THE DEVIL, and BARON BLOOD) highlighting Boris Karloff’s “last great performance”, the influence of “The Wurdalak” on George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (Giorgio Ferroni’s feature-length adaptation of “The Wurdalak” titled NIGHT OF THE DEVILS attests to this), the real authors of the stories, and the alterations done to the American version (the clips seen in the introduction are upscaled from the older master and not indicative of the feature presentation). Video Watchdog’s Tim Lucas is on hand for an audio commentary (carried over from the Anchor Bay release) in which he makes the connection between Karloff’s position here as host and his duties on THRILLER and THE VEIL (his intros for the Italian version are alike in tone to the latter series than his more lighthearted intros for the American version) as well as the film’s omnibus format in the context of the number of other omnibus films in vogue at the time (including BOCCACCIO ’70 and Roger Corman’s TALES OF TERROR). Having interviewed camera operator Ubaldo Terzano, Lucas is able to also describe the different lighting schemes for each tale, as well as other aspects gleaned from other interviewees (he even knows the shooting dates of each episode). He also discusses the literary sources and influences for the stories (including the influence of Maupassant’s “The Horla” on “The Telephone”). Although Lucas wrote an extensive breakdown of the differences between the Italian and American versions (and there’s a half-hour featurette depicting the visual and aural differences), Lucas’ spoken account accompanying the Italian version more effectively conveys the detrimental effect the AIP chances had on the film). As per usual with Lucas’ Bava commentaries, he is able to point out almost each and every background player whose ever had any other association with Bava.

Also carried over from the Anchor Bay DVD release is the Mark Damon interview “A Life in Film” in which the actor-turned-producer talks about his acting career starting with being discovered at sixteen by Groucho Marx and his Hollwyood career (he admits that it was easier in those days because the look was more important, and then came the method actors…). He talks about his work with Roger Corman (his first lead was in THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER) and claims to have given Corman the idea to do the Poe series and directed some of THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM. His Italian career started with a string of Italian westerns (he claims to have recommended Clint Eastwood to Sergio Leone, but Richard Harrison has also been cited as the one who advised Leone), sword-and-sandal, and secret agent films. He briefly addresses Mario Bava and BLACK SABBATH (including Bava’s hands-off approach to directing actors, and working with Karloff) before discussing the next phase of his career as producer and distributor. The international trailer, U.S. trailer, TV and radio spots are also carried over; but there’s also an Italian trailer (which is slightly shorter but otherwise very similar to the international ones).

The major extra of course is, of course, the American International edit of the film.

While Arrow’s discs of the AIP versions of
BLACK SUNDAY and BARON BLOOD were reconstructions, BLACK SABBATH makes use of MGM’s own HD master. A reconstruction would have been impossible since the AIP version has so much exclusive footage and slightly different editing rhythms (the film was a co-production between Italy’s Galatea and American International who imposed changes for the English version at the shooting stage, which is why there is no export English dub track for the European version). The framing is slightly different and the colors sometimes less vibrant than the European version, but MGM probably made their color timing choices based on the Pathecolor archival elements for the film (the colors look suitably “Bavian” until one sees the European version’s Technicolor splendor). An early edition of Video Watchdog included as its feature article an extensive breakdown between the Italian and American versions of the film. The half-hour featurette “Twice the Fear” includes captioned splitscreen comparisons between sequences of the two versions from alternate angles, sound design and effects (with “The Drop of Water” varying most between the two versions in this respect), dialogue differences (meaning and tone, particularly in “The Telephone”), censored images (mostly from “The Wurdalak” which also has some scenes tinted day-for-night in the Italian but not the American), and scoring choices (BLACK SUNDAY’s Roberto Nicolosi on the Italian version and Les Baxter on the American).

The combo also features two DVDs, placing the Italian version and the bulk of the extras on one dual layer disc and the American version and the “Twice the Fear” extra on another. Besides Arrow Video’s usual reversible cover with new and vintage poster cover artworks, the combo set also includes an illustrated booklet (not supplied with review copies.)"

Bava fans should be very pleased with this incredible Blu-ray package. There is a lot to this (I hope I covered it all!) and we can fully endorse. Bravo Arrow again!

-Gary Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs: Anchor Bay used the same print for their transfer, but they digitally cleaned it up a bit. They carried over the extras from the image disc, but instead of liner notes we now have a commentary by Tim Lucas. Anchor Bay disc takes the prize.

 - Gregory Meshman

 


Menus
(
Image - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Anchor Bay (Mario Bava Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

 

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

DVD 1 (included in the Blu-ray  package)

 

DVD 2 (included in the Blu-ray  package)

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Mario Bava Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Arrow (European) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow (AIP) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Subtitle sample


1) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Mario Bava Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Arrow (European) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow (AIP) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Mario Bava Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Arrow (European) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow (AIP) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Mario Bava Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Arrow (European) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow (AIP) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Mario Bava Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Arrow (European) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow (AIP) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Mario Bava Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Arrow (European) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow (AIP) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Image - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Anchor Bay (Mario Bava Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Arrow (European) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Arrow (AIP) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Print damage on Image disc

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Arrow (European) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Arrow (AIP) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow (European) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Arrow (AIP) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Arrow (European) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Arrow (AIP) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray

 
Box Covers

Distribution

Image

Region 0 - NTSC

Anchor Bay
Region 1 - NTSC
Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

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