The Skull – UK, 1965 – overview and reviews

NEW! Rate this movie! Just press a star to vote now!
[Total: 7   Average: 3.1/5]

skull_poster_02

The Skull is a 1965 British Amicus Productions horror film directed by Freddie Francis from a screenplay written by Milton Subotsky, adapted from The Skull of the Marquis de Sade, a short story by Robert Bloch (Torture Garden; The Night Walker; Psycho).

skull1965dvd

The film stars the frequently paired horror actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, alongside Patrick Wymark (Repulsion, The Blood on Satan’s Claw), Jill Bennett, Nigel Green (The Masque of the Red Death, Countess Dracula), Patrick Magee (Dementia 13, The Black Cat) and Peter Woodthorpe. Michael Gough (Horrors of the Black Museum, Konga, Horror Hospital) also has a minor role as an auctioneer.

skull-1965-billboard

It was one of a number of British horror films of the sixties to be scored by ‘avant-garde’ composer Elisabeth Lutyens, including several others for Amicus.

the-skull-kino-lorber-blu-ray

Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com

On 14 March 2017, Kino Lorber release the film on Blu-ray in the US with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas
  • Jonathan Rigby on The Skull featurette (24:14)
  • Kim Newman on The Skull featurette (27:18)
  • Trailers From Hell with Joe Dante
  • Trailers

the skull 3

Plot:

In the 1800s, Pierre, a phrenologist (Maurice Good), robs the grave of the recently buried Marquis de Sade. He takes the Marquis’ severed head and sets about boiling it to remove its flesh, leaving the skull; before the task is done, Pierre himself has met an unseen and horrific death.

19jg

The modern-day: Christopher Maitland (Cushing), a collector and writer on the occult, is offered the skull by Marco (Wymark), an unscrupulous dealer in antiques and curiosities. Maitland learns that the skull has been stolen from Sir Matthew Phillips (Lee), a friend and fellow collector.

Sir Matthew, however, does not want to recover it, having escaped its evil influence. He warns Maitland of its powers. At his sleazy Soho lodgings Marco dies in mysterious circumstances; Maitland finds his body and takes possession of the skull. He in turns falls victim as the skull drives him to hallucinations, madness and death…

The-Skull-1965-Eureka-Entertainment-Blu-ray

Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.co.uk

Reviews [click links to read more]:

Although Freddie Francis created a visually seductive film, the narrative — based on Robert Bloch’s short story — is simply not strong enough to support the feature-length running time. A sterling cast is therefore wasted in what would have been a better part of one of Amicus’ celebrated anthology features.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

tumblr_lt1orvbvkA1qz5q5oo1_500

“Clearly the film lacks a proper script, and I wouldn’t blame any Peter Cushing fan for wanting to avoid one of his poorer performances. However, it is probably the most visually dynamic film in Freddie Francis’s directorial oeuvre, even when those visuals can’t sustain the flimsy story. What The Skull does best is provide a peek at the full potential of a highly talented individual.” Classic-Horror.com

The Skull remains one of the most stylish and atmospheric horror movies of the 1960s and certainly worth repeated viewings for those attuned to it in, order to take advantage of the amount of visual detail that director Freddie Francis and his staff have imbued with it.” Britmovie

freddie francis directs peter cushing in The Skull 1965

“Francis overdoes his camera movements, inserting too many point-of-view shots from within the skull, detracting from their effectiveness. Most of the credit for the film’s success should go to Bill Constable and Scott Slimon for their claustrophobic sets which expertly convey the barely pathological tendencies of a manic collector of occult bric-a-brac.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror, edited by Phil Hardy

The Skull Blu

Buy The Skull and The Man Who Could Cheat Death from Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

the skull 1965 ad mat

91dfkA1mNGL._SL1500_

Buy The Skull + The Man Who Could Cheat Death + The Deadly Bees on DVD from Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

the skull

the skull la calavera del marques

51YJ5HqDwbL

Buy DVD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

skull 1965 ad mats

skull_poster_03

skullheraldcw9

peter cushing a life in film

Buy Peter Cushing: A Life in Film book by David Miller from Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

MOVIES and MANIA provides an independent aggregated range of previews, opinions and reviews from a wide variety of credited sources, plus our own reviews, in one handy web location. We rely solely on the very minor income generated by affiliate links and internet ads to stay online and expand. Please support us by not blocking ads on our site. Thank you.      

Leave your comment here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.