It’s always nice to see Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in a horror movie together. It’s a weird movie even if it isn’t all that scary.
Plot: A collector comes into possession of the skull of the Marquis de Sade and learns it is possessed by an evil spirit.
Review: We already know the skull in question is going to be nothing but trouble for whomever posses it because we’ve seen how it was obtained (grave robbing) and how the grave robber ended up (he was killed under mysterious circumstances). Years later, the skull – which purportedly once belonged to the evil Marquis de Sade and might still possibly contain his spirit – ends up in the possession of a man who sells rare artifacts to various collectors in the city. Collectors of demonic paraphernalia and curios Christopher Maitland (Peter Cushing) is offered the skull for an exorbitant amount of money, and at first he can’t believe that it’s the skull of THE Marquis de Sade, but as he mulls it over during the night, he has striking visions of startling substance: He finds himself in the company of bizarre cultists who force him to play Russian roulette and other assorted sick games, and when he finds himself back home, he is compelled to procure the skull for his collection. He visits a fellow collector (played by Christopher Lee), who implores him NOT to buy the skull, but to stay far away from it, because HE was once the owner of the piece and it brought him nothing by pain and misery. Not heeding his advice, Maitland ends up with the skull (he could only obtain it after the previous owner died horribly under strange circumstances), and sure enough it brings him only doom.
An Amicus production, The Skull is basic horror hooey that’s worth watching simply because of Cushing and Lee. Classic Hammer and Amicus fans will enjoy it more than most, and it’s a solid enough nighttime viewing pleasure. Freddie Francis directed.
Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray looks better than previous releases – both on DVD and Blu-ray – from Paramount, but the artwork on this release (with a reversible cover) makes this release the best of all. Also, the Kino release includes cool special features, including an audio commentary by Tim Lucas, two meaty featurettes, a ‘Trailers from Hell” with Joe Dante, and more trailers.