Guillermo del Toro-Approved Classic Horror Shocker is Finally Available for Free

Guillermo del Toro-Approved Classic Horror Shocker is Finally Available for Free
Image credit: Warner Bros., Legion-Media

An eerie horror anthology that surprised even Guillermo del Toro.


  • Guillermo del Toro is not only one of the leading filmmakers of our time, he is also a leading cinephile.
  • That is why he recommended watching the classic horror movie Black Sabbath, directed by Mario Bava.
  • The movie is available for free on several streaming services.

Guillermo del Toro is undoubtedly one of the finest virtuosos of dark fantasy, thriller and, of course, horror. Each of his films is full of elevated cinematography and writing imbued with deep symbolism. It is impossible not to mention his work with color — Crimson Peak alone is worthy of admiration for its crimson, blue, cream, gold, and black colors, which say much more about the characters and the events surrounding them than the actors themselves (though it is hard not to praise the talent of the performers who work with del Toro).

Of course, del Toro is not only a great auteur, but also a great movie buff who never misses an opportunity to discuss his favorite films. For example, in a conversation with Turner Classic Movies, Guillermo del Toro shared a movie called Black Sabbath by another iconic horror filmmaker, Mario Bava. Why not check it out now that it's available to stream for free?

Del Toro's Favorite Movie

For TCM, Guillermo del Toro compiled a list of what he considered to be the greatest horror classics, and one of them was Mario Bava's 1963 Black Sabbath (yes, Ozzy and co named their rock band after watching this movie).

'Black Sabbath is a superb example of Mario Bava. He was a technician of the highest order but also a stylist of supreme intelligence. He could make a movie look grand and elegant and beautiful with a very tight budget and he could do that in black-and-white, as proven over and over again. Black Sunday remains his peak for that,' del Toro praised Mario Bava's style. However, it is Black Sabbath that the filmmaker considers the pinnacle of Bava's oeuvre.

'But here in Black Sabbath, his gleeful fairy tale abandon with the use of color compositions is delightful and eternal.'

Black Sabbath is an anthology film in three parts. The first, The Telephone, is an erotic thriller that doesn't shy away from frankness, lesbian characters, and psychological pressure (much to the displeasure of American distributors, who decided to take a less original and more heterosexual mystical turn in the English version). The second, The Wurdulak, is based on Slavic folklore and, in particular, the gothic novels of 19th-century Russian writer Aleksey Tolstoy and tells the story of vampire-like creatures who hunt their loved ones. The third, The Drop of Water, follows a London nurse haunted by a vengeful ghost.

'He uses three classic stories to illustrate increasing terror. The second one particularly, The Wurdulak, uses the Eastern European tradition that has the vampire coming back to his loved ones to vampirize them before he goes into the world propagating evil. Boris Karloff is absolutely terrifying in it. The final one, The Ring [aka The Drop of Water], contains one of the most shocking images you will ever see. So, be prepared,' del Toro concluded.

Where to Watch Mario Brava's Horror Classic?

As already mentioned, Black Sabbath exists in two versions, the original Italian one and the horrible one that we don't recommend. Yes, we're talking about the American version, which was re-edited and cut from the original — we only suggest watching it if you prefer English-dubbed movies.

Fortunately, streaming services now offer Bava's original European cut with English subtitles. You can watch it on Tubi, an ad-supported platform that requires no subscription or fee. Same goes for Plex. If you have a public library card or are a university student, the Italian version is also available on Kanopy. Apple users can access the film for free through Classix, a service for vintage movies and TV series.

Source: Turner Classic Movies.