The Screaming Skull
Directed by Alex Nicol
The Screaming Skull begins by showing the viewer a coffin,
the idea being that it is reserved for them, just in case they die of
fright while they are watching the movie.
According to the
narrator’s introductory speech:
“The Screaming Skull is a motion picture that reaches its climax in
shocking horror. Its impact is so terrifying that it may have an
unforeseen effect. It may kill you. Therefore, its producers feel they
must assure free burial services to anyone who dies of fright while
seeing The Screaming Skull.”
So there you have it. Don’t say that you have not been warned. But is
it really so terrifying? No, not at all, but it is pretty good
and should appeal to anyone who enjoys old horror movies.
The central characters are newlyweds Eric and Jenni Whitlock. Eric is a
widower and, two years after the death of his first wife, he has
returned to his former home and brought Jenni with him. It is a large
house surrounded by a lovely garden where peacocks roam the lawns and
frogs croak in the pond. Such a big garden is a lot of work, but
fortunately they have a good gardener. His name is Mickey and although
he is a little mentally challenged he knows his stuff and treats the
garden almost like a shrine to Mary Whitlock. Mickey loved her very
much. His father used to be the gardener there when Mary’s parents were
alive and he and she grew up together.
Eric and Jenni are very happy at first, but then strange things begin
to happen. Jenni hears screams in the night and soon finds herself
haunted by a skull. The first time it appears Eric is away on business
and she is awoken in the night by a scream. She rushes to an empty room
that has a view of the lawn and looks out. Seeing the peacocks on the
lawn she breathes a sigh of relief, believing that they made the noise.
Then a cupboard door swings open and the skull is inside it. Jenni
throws it out of the window, but a little later she hears banging on
the front door and when she opens it she sees the skull at her feet.
Then it she who is doing the screaming and, one way or another, she
ends up doing a lot more screaming before the end of the film.
The Screaming Skull has a runtime of about 67 minutes and although it
starts off a little slow it gradually picks up pace and is rather
spooky towards the end. In one scene
Jenni is wandering in the garden at night, looking for Mickey. She has
doubts about her sanity, is returning to the sanatorium in the morning,
and wants to say goodbye to him before she leaves. She cannot find
Mickey, but she does find the former Mrs Whitlock waiting for her in
the potting shed, which gives her something else to scream
Viewers who are looking for a high octane movie crammed with special
may find this one a little disappointing, but viewers who
enjoy old-fashioned chillers with a classic feel will probably
enjoy watching The Screaming Skull.
John Hudson ... Eric Whitlock
Peggy Webber ... Jenni Whitlock
Russ Conway ... Reverend Edward Snow
Tony Johnson ... Mrs. Snow
Alex Nicol ... Mickey
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