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The Skull (1965)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,191 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 57 critic

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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Title: The Skull (1965)

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

When the Skull strikes you'll Scream!

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 August 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Caveira  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

The girlfriend of the phrenologist is seen munching modern marshmallows in bed in the year 1814; although the ancient Egyptians invented the original recipe, marshmallows (in their present form) were not invented until 1850. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Bone-headed nonsense.
30 August 2014 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

An early attempt by Amicus at a Hammer style horror movie, The Skull opens in wonderful Gothic mode with a night-time grave robbing scene, complete with unkempt, windblown cemetery, creaky metal gate, random owl hoots and a howling dog (the foley artist really went to town on this one). The desecrated grave in question turns out to be that of the infamous Marquis De Sade, the reason for the illicit exhumation being the retrieval of his skull, which is apparently host to an ancient demon called Baalberith, who drives men to commit blasphemy and murder.

Unfortunately, the enjoyably excessive Gothic atmosphere of the film's opening scene is virtually abandoned when, many years later, said skull falls into the hands of obsessive antiques collector Dr. Christopher Maitland (Peter Cushing), who becomes possessed by the demon and proceeds to do its evil bidding. Apart from director Freddie Francis's (over)use of unusual POV shots and a couple of cool floating skull shots, the film exhibits very little flair or innovation, lacks genuine thrills, features almost no graphic gruesomeness, and quickly becomes tiresome. The film's most interesting aspect—the involvement of a secret satanic society—goes absolutely nowhere (and seems to exist purely to pad out the weak story to feature length).

It says a lot when my favourite scene in the whole film is Maitland playing snooker against fellow antiquities collector Sir Matthew Phillips (played by Christopher Lee): despite owning his own snooker room, Phillips seems to possess zero skill at the game, randomly hitting balls to no avail (although he does rack up some points on the score-board, the cheat!). Maitland is equally as inept. At least the film gave me a few giggles, I suppose.


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