Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Jill Bennett, Patrick Magee
Directed by Freddie Francis
I’ve been waiting what seems like forever for this movie to officially hit DVD in all its crazed genius. What we have here, folks, is one of the great films from the much beloved Amicus Studios making its very first appearance in digital video form! Yep, Paramount has finally started to open its vaults, and thankfully for us, the fine folks over at Legend Films were ready to poke around a bit and dig out a few gems! Sit back, dear reader, and get ready to learn of all the cheeseball horror that an empty skull can provide.
The premise is simple: Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee (a truly classic pairing) are rival antique collectors. They pass their time by spending their abundant supply of cash on obscure relics of a time forgotten and forbidden. Ancient statues, books bound in human flesh, you name it. The stranger, the better! Things are going great for our two protagonists until one of the local under-the-table dealers shows up with the prize of prizes — the skull of the infamous Gaspard François de Sade, or as he is more commonly known, the Marquis de Sade. But there’s no bidding war to be had between the two. Lee has already owned the skull, and much to his relief it was stolen from him. Why was he relieved, you ask? Because the skull is HAUNTED! *cues spooky music* Apparently this particular item has a mind of its own. Whoever owns it has his or her will bent to do its bidding, and in the case of de Sade, that means to murder at all costs! Cushing ignores Lee’s warnings, and before you know it, the game is afoot.
Can a storyline get any more fun in terms of classic horror? Not really. The Skull is nothing more than pure entertainment. Sure it’s cheesy. Yes, you can see strings holding the skull in place while it floats around the room, but who cares? This flick features Skull-o-Vision™! What’s better than that, man? We actually get to see murder through the skull’s empty eye sockets! BRILLIANT! This is the kind of movie that you are meant to watch either hanging out with your buds and laughing at it or cuddling up with your significant other on a dark, stormy night. My only real complaint? The movie was originally released in 3-D, and it was even funnier in the third dimension. I remember watching this on Channel 11, then WPIX, in New York back when 3-D movies were having a bit of a resurgence around 1983 or so. If only that version were included here as an extra. Speaking of which …
The supplemental gods have not smiled kindly upon this release. The Skull comes home bare bones. Ironic, no? All that you’ll find here is the theatrical trailer. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a good trailer, but still. At this point I would have settled for a still gallery chock full of lobby cards or poster art. Alas, that was not to be.
The Skull is a movie that all fans of classic horror will want to add to their collections. It accomplishes everything that a film of its stature should, and you aren’t likely to find a more fun time killer anywhere!
4 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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