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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

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 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 this movie could finally be released in the French territories. See more »

Goofs

The table seen at the very end of the film that the skull sits on is different from the table it is on through the rest of the movie. The table seen in the ending has no pattern, just horizontal wood grains. The table seen earlier has a pattern of hexagons. 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 TJ and the All Night Theatre: The Skull (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dug-Up Skull Leads To Skullduggery
21 October 2008 | by ferbs54See all my reviews

On paper, the 1965 Amicus production "The Skull" would seem to be a surefire winner. Based on a story by Robert "Psycho" Bloch, directed by horror veteran Freddie Francis, starring British horror icons Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and featuring such sterling character actors as Michael Gough, Nigel Green, Patrick Wymark and Jill Bennett, it would seem like a can't-miss proposition. While the film is undeniably fun, however, it somehow falls short of greatness. In it, Cushing plays an occult investigator who comes into possession of the 150-year-old, particularly nasty-looking skull of the notorious libertine the Marquis de Sade, and comes under the influence of its baleful and hypnotic powers. (Indeed, it's more like the skull has come into possession of him!) The film features strikingly handsome sets, a justly celebrated and Kafkaesque dream sequence, stylish direction from Francis (dig those skull's head POV shots!), and, near the picture's end, a very interesting and suspenseful 20-minute segment largely devoid of dialogue. While some viewers have complained of visible strings attached to the levitating skull, that really didn't bother me (a single wire is barely visible for perhaps two seconds); what did vex me is that we never learn of the skull's evil doings between the time of its disinterment and its modern-day shenanigans. It MUST have been up to something during those 150 years, right? The film also seems a bit tentative in that it never lets Cushing become truly possessed and crazed; how much better the picture would have been if ol' Pete really went on a tear! Still, watching Cushing and Lee together has long been one of the supreme pleasures of horror cinema, and this little movie does have its winning ways. It's no "Creeping Flesh" or "Horror Express," but still most enjoyable.


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