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The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959)

Approved | | Horror, Mystery | 13 November 1959 (USA)
Jonathan Drake, while attending his brother's funeral, is shocked to find the head of the deceased is missing. When his brother's skull shows up later in a locked cabinet, Drake realizes an... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jonathan Drake
Valerie French ...
Alison Drake
...
Police Lt. Jeff Rowan
...
Dr. Emil Zurich
...
Rogers
Frank Gerstle ...
Lee Coulter
Paul Wexler ...
Zutai
Howard Wendell ...
Dr. George Bradford
...
Kenneth Drake
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Storyline

Jonathan Drake, while attending his brother's funeral, is shocked to find the head of the deceased is missing. When his brother's skull shows up later in a locked cabinet, Drake realizes an ancient curse placed upon his grandfather by a tribe of South American Jivaro Indians is still in effect and that he himself is the probable next victim. That night he is awakened by the approach of an Indian, his lips sewed together with string, and wielding a curare-tipped bamboo knife. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Terrifying Case of SKULL-DUGGERY! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 November 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die vier Schädel des Jonathan Drake  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The script is based in part on the Amazonian Indian practice of removing the skulls from decapitated heads, padding them with hot sand and shrinking them to an extremely small size. See more »

Goofs

During the fight between Zutai and Jeff, the "blade" of Zutai's weapon is rubber, and keeps wobbling around, and bends when it brushes against anything. See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Zombies (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surprisingly gory for it's day
28 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I just recently viewed this film for the first time and was surprised at some of the more gory elements of this film. It was made in 1959, and it dealt with decapitation and shrunken heads. Although it didn't actually show the decapitation, it did show the skin being removed from a decapitated skull. By today's horror standards it was pretty mild (this picture was filmed in glorious black and white so you don't get the blood red effect of today's films) but nonetheless, it was pretty gory for it's day.

The story revolves around Jonathan Drake (portayed by Eduard Franz), the remaining male survivor of his family. His family has been cursed since his grandfather's time by a tribe of Amazon indians that were slaughtered by his grandfather and several other men.

Henry Daniell is just great as the creepy Dr. Zurich. There are several other strong supporting performances by Grant Richards as the stalwart Detective Jeff Rowan and Paul Cavanaugh as Kenneth Drake, Jonathan Drake's brother, who unfortunately loses his head to fulfill the "Drake Curse".

I did laugh a few times during the movie...Paul Wexler portrays Xutai, one of the Amazon indians, and he has to be seen to be believed. Even with his mouth sewn shut he looked more funny to me than menacing. Also you can tell that this movie was filmed on a very low budget. The sets are pretty substandard.

Despite these minor flaws I found this movie to be highly entertaining.


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