44 user 23 critic

The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake (1959)

Approved | | Horror, Mystery | 13 November 1959 (USA)
1:40 | Trailer
Anthropologist Jonathan Drake believes that the men of his family have been cursed for generations by the native South American tribe he studies. Shortly after his brother, discovers one of the tribe's shrunken heads, he's found murdered.


Edward L. Cahn





Complete credited cast:
Eduard Franz ... Jonathan Drake
Valerie French ... Alison Drake
Grant Richards ... Police Lt. Jeff Rowan
Henry Daniell ... Dr. Emil Zurich
Lumsden Hare ... Rogers
Frank Gerstle ... Lee Coulter
Paul Wexler ... Zutai
Howard Wendell Howard Wendell ... Dr. George Bradford
Paul Cavanagh ... Kenneth Drake


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


A Terrifying Case of SKULL-DUGGERY! See more »


Horror | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


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 »


After examining Drake lying motionless in his bed his doctor says there is no sign of a pulse, but in the closeup of him the pulse in his neck is clearly visible. See more »

User Reviews

Scared me silly as a kid
13 January 2000 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

Hilarious little horror film involving a curse on the Drake family--each male member of the family is killed at age 60 and decapitated! There's more but it's really too complicated (and unbelievable) to go into.

I originally saw this on a local TV station on a Saturday afternoon in the 1970s. I was in the fourth grade and it scared me silly! A shot of a headless corpse in a coffin really did it for me. I saw it again in high school and just thought it was silly. Seeing as an adult it still IS silly---but in a good way.

This is a LOW budget film with tacky looking sets (obviously borrowed from another picture) and a cast of virtual unknowns. The only name here is Henry Damiell who looks miserable. Also Valerie French is just terrible. Good acting is given by Grant Richard (as Lt. Rowan) and Eduard Franz (as Jonathan Drake).

This is not a good movie but worth seeing--for laughs. The plot is really out there (especially a twist at the end). Also notice the vault with electric lighting (!!!) and a knife used at the end that is (pretty obviously) rubber. LOVED the way it shook! A camp classic!

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Release Date:

13 November 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Vogue Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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