HALLE FUCKIN LUJAH 1960s ITALIAN HORROR
And not just any horror, a Mario Bava horror! Remember him? He’s fun.
Black Sabbath predates Bay of Blood by eight years, but Mario Bava had clearly figured out his campy Italian shit by this point, and even managed to get BORIS FREAKING KARLOFF to introduce and conclude each of the three shorts in this anthology. Let us begin with:
THE TELEPHONE: A french prostitute gets a phone call late at night from her former pimp who has just escaped from prison, which is particularly shitty because she was the one who sent him to prison, and he immediately informs her that he is going to revenge the shit out of her and kill her in the face (I WONDER WHY ABUSED WOMEN NEVER REPORT THEIR ABUSERS. WE WILL NEVER KNOW.) French Prostitute immediately calls over her former lesbian lover so she won’t be alone. Lesbian Lover gives her a knife to sleep with just in case and then, once French Prostitute is asleep, Lesbian Lover writes her a note confessing that she was impersonating Murder Pimp all along so that French Prostitute would invite her over….actually I’m going to rename her Batshit Lesbian Lover because what the actual fuck, lady. But, as Batshit Lesbian Lover is lovingly penning her “I am a lunatic stalker” note, who shows up but MURDER PIMP AND HE’S ALL READY FOR MURDER AFTER ALL! AW JINKIES!
The Telephone suffered from some pretty serious rewrites when being pitched to an American audience, because nothing scares Americans more than sex, but only if it’s womenfolk what be havin it. So what we get in The Land Of The Free is a shitty short about a lady who isn’t a prostitute calling her friend who isn’t a lesbian about a pimp who isn’t a pimp but is instead a ghost who writes mysterious ghost notes and does mysterious ghost things. Also there’s a neighbor named The Colonel BECAUSE AMERICA. Note: this version did not go over well because why the fuck would it.
Next up is THE WURDALAK: In which I learn that a “wurdalak”is a Russian vampire who must consume the blood of its family to convert them all so they can live happily ever after. Also that may be a spoiler.
So we’re in 19th century Russia and a young nobleman comes across a beheaded corpse with a super sweet knife stabbed through his heart. Like any thrifty 19th century Russian, this dude takes the super sweet knife and wanders on home to his family, who is currently wondering where the fuck Dad went after he took his super sweet knife to go fight the wurdalak. HMMMM. Dad, who is BORIS FREAKING KARLOFF, returns from the wilderness, but he’s looking a little pale and corpse-ish and no one wants to say it but he’s acting a little wurdalaky. Everyone shrugs and goes to bed, because 19th century Russia. AND THEN THE VAMPIRENING BEGINS.
This one is kind of fun and Karloffy and there is nothing I love more than seeing what Italians in 1963 thought 19th century Russians might wear. (Hint – hella eyeliner and fake lashes.)
And finally we have THE DROP OF WATER. A British nurse makes a house call to prepare a dead old lady for her burial, which I guess involves putting her old lady clothes back on and….that’s it. Good thing this woman went to med school, I guess. Nursie sees a sapphire ring on Corpsey’s hand and she immediately takes that shit because I guess when your whole job is getting dead people dressed you find joy in the little things. On her way out, she trips over a glass of water and encounters a vaguely annoying fly.
Cut to Nursie at home, WHERE SHE ALSO SEES A FLY!!! AND DRIPPING WATER. And like more importantly a fucking ghost of the dead lady. That’s basically the whole thing, just a brief haunting that, spoiler, kills the nurse, leaving only a small bruise on her hand WHERE THE RING ONCE WAAAAAAAS OOOOOOOOO OOOKY SPOOOKY.
FUCK am I happy to be writing about something dumb and silly and weird from the 60s. This trilogy was actually sort of panned at the time for its use of zooms and jarring cuts and twangs of scary music for dramatic emphasis, but you know what, FUCK YOU THAT IS WHAT I WANT. More modern reviews seem to be more enthusiastic and Boris Karloff loved working with Bava so much that he basically forced Christopher Lee and Vincent Price to do the same, which they did to great success.
I don’t even give a shit about how not good this is, I’m just thrilled to be writing about something fun right now…..FIVE HORRORS FUCK IT MY BLOG MY RULES
COME AT ME BRO.