Ozzy Osbourne’s favourite horror movie of all time

Black Sabbath emerged in the late 1960s with a sound that would soon transform the rock genre. Founded in Birmingham, the English band featured Ozzy Osbourne as their lead vocalist, who had struggled to pin down a job before finding himself at the helm of a pioneering heavy metal band. His previous stints of employment in places such as a slaughterhouse shouldn’t come as a surprise – the band revelled in darkness and the macabre.

The band’s first album, Black Sabbath, features an ominous image of a cloaked figure standing in front of a house that looks haunted – or perhaps home to a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque family of cannibals. Released in 1970, before the horror genre had even developed into what it is today, the album was sludgy with themes related to the occult and darkness – even the opening song on the album, ‘Black Sabbath’, contains the sound of rain and a brooding storm.

Thus, it is unsurprising to find that the band, who even penned certain songs from the perspective of the Devil, named themselves after Mario Bava’s film Black Sabbath, which is now considered a horror cult classic. The Italian horror master was known for making the first giallo movie, The Girl Who Knew Too Much, and helped to pioneer the slasher genre. It was only fitting for Black Sabbath to pay homage to horror cinema when naming themselves, something that is so intrinsically linked to their sound.

However, in an interview with Metal Hammer, Osbourne named his all-time favourite scary movie, picking out a supernatural classic, The Exorcist. Directed by William Friedkin, the movie was one of the ‘70s’ most defining horror films and remains one of the only entries to the genre to have won Academy Awards.

The movie explores the possession of a young girl named Regan, who begins to spew profanity, levitate, expel strange liquids and even rotate her head backwards after she is taken under the spell of a demon. Her mother is desperate to save her, employing several priests to fix her child, who becomes increasingly violent and terrifying to be around.

For Osbourne, the experience of watching The Exorcist was incredible, so much so that he recalled that the band were practically “shitting ourselves,” he explained, “Our manager came to us one day when we were on tour and says, ‘You have to go and see this film called The Exorcist.’ We said, ‘The Exorcist? What the fuck does that mean?’ He said, ‘Just go and see it.’”

After listening to their manager, Black Sabbath hit their nearest cinema and watched The Exorcist, scaring themselves silly. He added, “That one was just so real. We were freaked out! Here we were, Black Sabbath and I’m the Prince Of Darkness and all this, and we had to go see another movie – The Sting – just to stop thinking about it. It was so amazing.”

Revisit the trailer below.

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