| 90 MINS | COLOUR | AMICUS |
19th Century France: A phrenologist has a burial plot opened up. After he hacks the cadaver’s head off, he takes it home and cleans it in a bath of acid: he is presented with a clean human skull. Mysteriously, his mistress finds him sometime later lying in the bath, dead, with the skull nearby.
Modern-day London: Dr Christopher Maitland and Sir Matthew Phillips, both specialists in the occult, are bidding for some statuettes in an auction room. Phillips bids an exorbitant price for the items but doesn’t seem to know why.
That night, Marco, a supplier of occult materials, arrives at Maitland’s and offers him a book that details the life of Marquis de Sade. After Maitland purchases it, Marco tells him he has something else that may interest him. When Marco arrives back with a gleaming white skull and offers Maitland a low sum for it, Maitland suspects that he may have stolen it.
When Maitland discusses this with Phillips, Phillips confirms that Marco stole the skull from him and that he does not want it back as it possesses strange powers.
AllMovie: Despite the potentially cheesy premise, the film is remarkably subtle and spooky thanks to the deft hand of director Freddie Francis and an excellent performance from Cushing.
SpookyIsles: Gripping and unusual, Amicus’ The Skull is “an eerie shockfest”!
BritMovie: The Skull remains one of the most stylish and atmospheric horror movies of the 1960s and certainly worth repeated viewings for those attuned to it.
From poster: When the skull strikes. You’11 Scream!
- Directed by Freddie Francis.
- The film’s final twenty-five minutes contain almost no dialogue.
Peter Cushing — Dr. Christopher Maitland | Christopher Lee — Sir Matthew Phillips | Patrick Wymark — Anthony Marco | Jill Bennett — Jane Maitland | Nigel Green — Inspector Wilson | Patrick Magee — Police Surgeon | Peter Woodthorpe — Bert Travers, Marco’s Landlord | Michael Gough — 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