Mario Bava pays respect to his influential horror forefathers by having Boris Karloff act as host for – and star in one segment of – Black Sabbath (aka The Three Faces of Fear), a triptych of terrifying tales that reportedly was the Italian director’s favorite work. It’s certainly his most well known, and with good reason, considering its wealth of iconically chilling sights and luxurious, suspenseful cinematography. Obsession, greed, madness and hunger (of both a sexual and carnivorous variety) mark the film’s three stories: the first (“The Telephone”) concerns a woman tormented by increasingly menacing phone calls; the second (“The Wurdulak”) details a vampire crisis that engulfs a rural family and a wayward traveler; and the third “(A Drop of Water”) charts the deadly consequences of a nurse’s disrespectful covetousness. The dexterity Bava exhibits across these quite distinct narratives is somewhat astounding, from the lurid colors and serpentine camera pans of his giallo-ish opener, to the palpable suspense and gothic beauty of his triumphant Karloff-headlined second story, to the EC Comics-style spookiness of his concluding entry, which features a corpse whose undead smile is unforgettable. Black Sabbath is a gem of stunning visuals, but more fundamentally, it’s also – like the rest of his finest films – an exemplar of expressionistic visual storytelling.