For this assignment, I chose to watch the movie Black Sabbath on Netflix. This movie, an Italian horror film, has three separate stories, “The Telephone”, “The Wurdalak”, and “The Drop of Water.” This is an older film, which is evident by the quality and dialog of characters. There are some interesting design aspects of this movie, though, and in this post I will be considering the various ways design contributed to the stories.

To evaluate design, we need to look at more than just one component. For example, there is set design, audio design, and lighting design, among others. In this case, audio design would include elements such as sound effects, music, and audio. In Black Sabbath, there are several scenes that have dramatic or creepy music in the background. These effects how bring out a certain mood, such as fear or anxiety. As we learned about extensively last week, audio can really make or break a story, and certainly helps to develop the story.

Set design is another important aspect of a story. As an example, the image below has a scene in a desolate cemetery. The set design in this scene was very well executed, in my opinion, and adds to the overall theme of horror. Not only does the setting and mood almost scream ‘classic horror movie’, but the set is well designed and realistic as well. Without a realistic and detailed set design, there would be less for a viewer to identify with.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 5_FotoreditAs we learned in a previous week, visual effects are also very important for the successful development of a story. In Black Sabbath, there are many scenes that had interesting visual effects aided by lighting design. In the picture below, not only are there clear shadows in the room, red lighting is added to the scene, adding to the creepiness. This also helps the overall storytelling process.

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 6_FotoreditIn conclusion, design is a very important element when considering the development of a story. Furthermore, for a story to be successful, all elements of design (set, audio lighting) must be utilized correctly and realistically.

2 comments on “Black Sabbath Design Reflections

  1. Paul

    It is kind of hard to tell in that first shot, but the set is only the left third of the screen. The right two-thirds is actually a painting that was set up in front of the camera. There is a part where Karloff pokes his head in on the right side, which helps to reinforce the illusion of a full set.

    That’s really an issue of production design – by doing things that way, he was able to make the film with a very small budget, but without appearing as cheap as many movies of that era.

  2. Nora Forknall

    I liked that you analyzed multiple types of design. Based on the first image you posted, I thought that the entire thing was created as part of the set! It is interesting to find out that only 1/3 of it actually was set! When you talk about lighting, why did they choose red, you think? Why not green, or blue? To me, red seems more like a sinister and devilish color, alluding to the idea that the characters in that scene are up to no good. I did not watch Black Sabbath, so I do not know the plot or anything about the film.

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