The Skull (1965)

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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Maitland
Patrick Wymark ...
Jill Bennett ...
Jane Maitland
Inspector Wilson
Patrick Magee ...
Police Surgeon
Peter Woodthorpe ...
George Coulouris ...
Dr. Londe
April Olrich ...
French Girl
Maurice Good ...
Pierre, Phrenologist
Anna Palk ...
Frank Forsyth ...
Paul Stockman ...
First Guard
Geoffrey Cheshire ...
Second Guard
George Hilsdon ...


A collector of esoterica, Dr. Maitland, buys an unusual skull from his ordinary source of artifacts. The skull is what remains of marquis De Sade. Much too soon he discovers how the skull affects him: by turning him into a frenzied killer. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When the Skull strikes you'll Scream!


Horror | Thriller


See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 August 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Caveira  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The heirs of Donatien Alphonse François de Sade pressed charges to prevent any use of his name on the advertising material. The changes on posters and lobby-cards were made at the very last minute by sticking the new title "Le Crâne Maléfique" (meaning "The Evil Skull") on top of the former, "Les forfaits du Marquis de Sade" (meaning "the Infamies of Marquis de Sade"). Only on that condition the film could finally be released in the French territory. See more »


When Dr. Christopher Maitland goes to murder his wife, the table in his study is shown again, but the book and statue are missing, showing only the skull of the Marquis De Sade. See more »


[first lines]
Pierre: What are you doing here?
French Girl: Aren't you pleased to see me?
See more »


Referenced in The Creeping Flesh (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

Amicus,Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing at their best.
2 October 2001 | by (manchester , england) – See all my reviews

The Skull is probably the best film Amicus produced,based on a chilling short story by Robert Bloch and directed with visual flair by Freddie Francis it tells the story of a writer on Demonology ; Christopher Maitland(Peter Cushing excellent as usual) who is offered a skull and a fleshbound book originally belonging to none other than the Marquis de Sade for a mere £500,at first he is skeptical of its provenance but finally agrees to buy it from Marco a shifty character(memorably played by Patrick Wymark)who previously stole the skull and book from Sir Matthew Phillips(Christopher Lee)who had fallen under it's sinister spell in the past and was glad the skull and book had been stolen,Matthew tries to convince Christopher of its evil power and advises him to get rid of it as soon as possible,but to no avail,Christopher keeps the skull and begins to come unstuck, he starts hallucinating and having bizarre dreams. All the performances are first rate,but this is Peter Cushings film,he is literally in every scene and gives a convincing performance of a man falling pray to evil. I can't help thinking this could have been a true classic if it had had a bigger budget. The whole cast and crew have worked wonders with what little money and resources they must have had,it also remains(in my opinion) Freddie Francis best film as a director....a must for a cold winters night.

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