Rent The Skull (1965)

3.3 of 5 from 86 ratings
1h 23min
Rent The Skull Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
  • General info
  • Available formats
Synopsis:
Peter Cushing stars as Dr. Christopher Maitland, a writer and collector of occult items (with a preference for those with a somewhat macabre history), who is offered the chance to purchase a highly expensive and unusual item - the skull of the Marquis de Sade. Warned against obtaining the item by fellow collector (Christopher Lee) in a rare non-villainous role), the skull's influence draws Maitland in, and madness and death soon follow...
Actors:
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Directors:
Producers:
Max Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky
Writers:
Robert Bloch, Milton Subotsky
Studio:
Eureka
Genres:
Classics, Horror
BBFC:
Release Date:
26/10/2015
Run Time:
83 minutes
Languages:
English Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.35:1
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • Exclusive new video interviews with critic and novelist Kim Newman and author and historian Jonathan Rigby
BBFC:
Release Date:
26/10/2015
Run Time:
83 minutes
Languages:
English LPCM Stereo
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.35:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Exclusive new video interviews with critic and novelist Kim Newman and author and historian Jonathan Rigby

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Reviews (2) of The Skull

A lesser Amicus offering ... - The Skull review by NP

Spoiler Alert
23/11/2019

Robert Bloch’s short story is given the Amicus treatment in one of their early horror offerings. They’re probably better known for the anthology films that marked them out from stablemates Hammer, and you might be forgiven for wishing this was a shorter chapter alongside other stories. Certainly, I felt that way.

Milton Subotsky’s script adaption apparently ran somewhat short of the required running time, so it fell to veteran Director Freddie Francis to fill time be panning shots across rooms and padding out further scenes in order to reach 83 minutes. Once you know this, it is easier to forgive the leaden pace, even at dramatic moments, and perhaps find yourself more sympathetic to the usually excellent Peter Cushing, whose climactic moments go on for far too long.

Cushing shares the credits with Christopher Lee, who isn’t featured much, and Michael Gough, who is featured even less. Also in the impressive cast are Patrick Wymark, Patrick Magee, Peter Woodthorpe and George Colouris – all terrific actors, and all deserving more screen time.

The skull of the title is given the full horror treatment by Francis – hallucinogenic lighting effects and even some impressive ‘floating’ scenes. The power it exudes over the characters is well conveyed, and yet the film ultimately falls a little short of its contemporaries and remains, for me at least, a lesser Amicus offering. My score is 5 out of 10.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Supernatural Horror. - The Skull review by Steve

Spoiler Alert
11/10/2023

Creepy occult horror expanded from a short story by Robert Bloch which doesn't deliver any big scares but creates a nice atmosphere of supernatural dread. A dishonest trader in paranormal nick-nacks (Patrick Wymark) wants to sell the skull of the evil Marquis de Sade to an obsessive collector (Peter Cushing) despite the warning of its former owner (Christopher Lee).

The skull is possessed and has a malign authority over anyone who acquires it. Consequently the film has a sedated, hypnotic ambience, as all the characters are to some degree under its influence. Then on the night of the new moon, the terrible power of the dead French aristocrat is revealed. OK, the effects are rudimentary, but the impression is unsettling.

The plot is padded out from its brief source. A strange Kafka-esque dream sequence is particularly ill suited to the style of the rest of the film. The best episodes have the feel of an MR James story, with dusty, male academics meddling with weird, arcane paraphernalia which they don't understand. There isn't much of a female presence, beyond screaming.

It was made by Amicus and maybe it would have been better tucked away into one of their horror anthologies. Still, the cast do fine work in treating the hokum with sincerity. The abundant clutter of black magic novelties adds to the spooky atmosphere and creates dark shadows and blind spots. It's not sophisticated, but still an eerie, fatalistic curiosity.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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