Daily Archives: April 22, 2020

Horror Films A to Z ~ The Skull

The Skull

Year: 1965
Runtime: 1h 23m
Director: Freddie Francis
Writer: Robert Bloch, Milton Subotsky
Stars: Peter Cushing, Patrick Wymark, Jill Bennett

A collector comes into possession of the skull of the Marquis de Sade and learns it is possessed by an evil spirit.

Initial: Strong horror pedigree. I’m not expecting much other than loud, cheesy 60s horror.

Production Notes: Freddie Francis directed mostly horror films for Hammer and Amicus production companies, but as a cinematographer he won Oscars for Sons and Lovers (1960) and Glory (1989) and often worked with David Lynch. He was the cinematographer on Lynch’s Dune (1984).

What Did I Think: (possible spoilers ahead) The Skull exceeded my expectations. Aside from the beginning, the movie is set in the 60s, so it lacked the cheesiness that can occur when the early 1800s are translated by the 1960s. It also takes itself seriously, which is needed with the level of special effects we’re talking about. The trailer makes it look more melodramatic than it is, but I’m not saying it isn’t melodramatic. The pacing was slow, but it wasn’t uneven. I wasn’t bored because the sets were lush and Peter Cushing is great to watch. And there’s guest star Christopher Lee! Not playing a villain!