The Skull

June 15th, 2014 by Coventry

The Skull   The Skull dvd 81x120 reviews horror Director: Freddie Francis
Writer: Robert Bloch and Milton Subotsky
Release year:

All bone and no brains

When Dr. Christopher Maitland (Peter Cushing) purchases the skull of the infamous Marquis de Sade, a force of unspeakable evil penetrates his life and that of those surrounding him, possessing anyone who owns the skull with the will to kill.

The Skull   The Skull title screen 300x128 reviews horror

‘The Skull’ definitely isn’t on par with the other contemporary Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee pairings, from Hammer or Amicus or whatever other production studios, but it nevertheless remains an interesting and worthwhile slice of 60′s Brit-horror. Freddie Francis was always one of the most gifted horror directors in Britain and provides the film with a continuously gloomy and sinister atmosphere. Moreover, he was an even more gifted cinematographer and assures a large number of inventive shots (like, for example, a point of view from inside the skull), while the always reliable Peter Cushing gives away a marvelous lead performance.

The Skull   The Skull Cushing and Lee 300x127 reviews horror

However, the film specifically struggles with two major shortcomings, namely: a) the fact that the script is based on a short story (by Robert Bloch) and it’s not exactly fit for a full length feature film, and b) the absence of an actual evil villain/monster of flesh and blood. Cushing depicts an avid collector of occult objects who obtains – illegally – the skull of the one and only Marquis de Sade. Fellow collector and former owner of the skull, Matthew Phillips (Christopher Lee) attempts to warn his colleague about the mysterious and psychedelic forces homing inside the Marquis’ skull, but naturally he doesn’t listen. During the first two nights of the next new moon, however, he dramatically learns that the skull turns its owner into a helpless murder-committing marionette.

The Skull   The Skull kill 300x127 reviews horror

I haven’t read Bloch‘s short story, but I presume something went wrong during the processing into a movie screenplay, as there a few too many dull moments and a lack of clarity regarding the skull’s incredible powers. The intro, a certain dream sequence and a few flashbacks are extraordinary (what is it with the English and foggy cemeteries?). The climax is rather silly instead of frightening, with the skull floating around with the help of clearly noticeable strings – granted, the technical set-up for the moving shot was creative – as well as grotesque camera gestures and color patterns. Cushing and Lee obviously steal the show, but keep also an eye open for two genuine British cult heroes in minuscule roles: Michael Gough (‘Horror Hospital’) and Patrick Magee (‘A Clockwork Orange’).

The Skull   The Skull inside skull 300x135 reviews horror

Rating: The Skull   star reviews horror The Skull   star reviews horror The Skull   star reviews horror The Skull   blankstar reviews horror The Skull   blankstar reviews horror


Watch theatrical trailer on YouTube.


The Skull   The Skull poster 199x300 reviews horror

Bookmark / Share:
  • The Skull   facebook reviews horror
  • The Skull   stumbleupon reviews horror
  • The Skull   digg reviews horror
  • The Skull   reddit reviews horror
  • The Skull   twitter reviews horror
  • The Skull   myspace reviews horror
  • The Skull   delicious reviews horror
  • The Skull   linkedin reviews horror
  • The Skull   mixx reviews horror
  • The Skull   netvibes reviews horror
  • The Skull   tumblr reviews horror
  • The Skull   printfriendly reviews horror