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The Skull (1965)

Not Rated | | Horror, Thriller | 25 August 1965 (USA)
A collector comes into possession of the skull of the Marquis de Sade and learns it is possessed by an evil spirit.

Director:

Freddie Francis

Writers:

Robert Bloch (from the story "The Skull of the Marquis de Sade" by), Milton Subotsky (screenplay by)
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Cast

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

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 August 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Caveira See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Amicus Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Patrick Magee (Police Surgeon) played the Marquis de Sade in Marat/Sade (1967) . See more »

Goofs

During the scene when the Skull floats to attack Peter Cushing's character, you can see the steel wires holding up the skull, in an "X" formation. See more »

Quotes

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

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User Reviews

 
The Skull of the Marquis de Sade.
29 August 2012 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

The Skull is directed by Freddie Francis and adapted to screenplay by Milton Subotsky from the short story The Skull of the Marquis de Sade written by Robert Bloch. A Technicolor/Techniscope production, it stars Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Jill Bennett and Patrick Wymark. Music is scored by Elisabeth Lutyens and cinematography by John Wilcox.

When collector of occult artifacts Christopher Maitland (Cushing) acquires the Skull of the Marquis de Sade, he gets more than he bargained for.......

Out of Amicus Productions, The Skull represents one of the more successful ventures for the studio away from the portmanteau formula they would become regarded for. That's not to say it's without problems, because it is far from flawless, but with Francis casting an ethereal sheen over the production, the film does hold tight as a 60s Gothic chiller of some worth. Actually it's one of the rare films that is reviewed quite accurately by the majority of writers who have written about it. Most agree that the material isn't quite up to being stretched to a feature length film, the long passages of silence in the story proving to be a necessity rather than a creepy tactic by the makers. The string work effects are cheesy, Lee is underused and the rest of the cast away from Cushing are thinly drawn. But it does overcome its flaws.

There are a number of great things within the picture. The use of Skull-Cam that gives us POV from inside the skull itself, works really well, as does the colour tones that Francis uses whenever the skull is holding court. A set piece involving a character falling through stained glass is very well constructed (good stunt work too), and Lutyens musical score is top draw-nerve jarring stuff. Then there is Cushing himself, forced to react for the most part to nothing more than a prop, he gives much by way of visual acting, totally mesmerising for the near silent last third of the piece. It's a very under valued turn from Cushing as it features a different string to his acting bow.

With shady characters, suspenseful silences (the opening pillaging of de Sade's grave is excellently macabre) and visual treats aplenty, The Skull is well worth checking out. 7/10


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