Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Skull (1965)

Starring Peter Cushing, Patrick Wymark, Jill Bennett, Nigel Green, Christopher Lee
Directed by Freddie Francis
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

An author on the occult is offered a chance to acquire the skull of the infamous Marquis de Sade, whose prior owners have been possessed and controlled by invisible creatures.

We have here one of several screen teamings of British horror icons Cushing and Lee, although Cushing has far more to do in the picture than Lee, who is credited as a "guest star," and although they're better known for their productions for Hammer Films, this one's from competitor Amicus.  It's worthwhile viewing for its first-rate photography by John Wilcox and former photographer Freddie Francis, who directed the film, may have had some say in the memorable shots from the skull's point of view, and it's gliding across the screen in a very eerie effect.   The story however is not the film's strong point, focusing little on background on de Sade and his notorious behavior, and staging fairly routine murders instead of unspeakable torture by the beings said to have possessed him and his skull.  Cushing is as always, excellent, but he's had better material to work with in numerous other productions.

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