Monday, October 05, 2009

31 Days of Halloween - Day 5 - Movie 2

If there's one movie I remember terrifying me as a kid, it was "The Skull"(1965). Contrary to what you'd think, even though this movie scared me to death and gave me nightmares, I still scoured the pages of TV Guide hoping to see that it would be on again. It no longer scares me, but I find it to be very eerie and full of atmosphere and an excellent score that amplifies the feeling of dread that powers this movie.

Occult collector and scholar, Peter Cushing is contacted by his dealer with an offer to purchase the skull of the Marquis de Sade. Cushing is suspicious of the skull's authenticity, but his friend and fellow collector, Christopher Lee, confirms the skull's authenticity, adding that it had been stolen from him and that he is glad, and that Cushing should stay away from it. Of course Cushing doesn't listen, and finds himself driven to possess this skull, then finds the skull trying to possess him, exerting it's evil influence over him, trying to make him do its malicious bidding. The skull doesn't need Cushing to do its work for it, it's perfectly willing and capable of murdering on its own.

There are a lot of parallels between "The Skull" and last night's movie, "The Mask" right down to a hallucinatory dream sequence. "The Skull" is full of good performances, and it's a pleasant change of pace to see Cushing and Lee playing friends in a movie. The sets are magnificent and chock full of weird occult items. "The Skull" is based on the Robert Bloch short story, "The Skull of the Marquis De Sade."


Shawn Robare said...

The wife and I absolutely love Peter Cushing and we weren't sure what to think about the Skull before watching it. The film totally won us over though, so much so that it's on the list to be added to our permanent collection.

The Frog Queen said...

Oh, I love this movie. One of our favorites!


Johnny B said...

When I was a kid, 5-6 years old (this would have been about 1965 or '66), I saw this flick at the local drive-in, and it really freaked me out, as I recall- just the way it was presented, with the weird color and odd optical effects like the "skull's-eye view" scenes. It was paired with some other movie (I want to say Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster) that was totally opposite in subject matter.

It was many years before I saw it again, and it didn't quite weave the same spell over me- but I still liked it, and might have to see if I can Netflix it one of these days.

The Captain said...

I love Peter Cushing too, I haven't seen this one yet.