Saturday, 8 October 2011

You'll Scream!

Lots of people collect things, don't they? Comics or snuff boxes or postcards or vases or cars or sugar sachets. In fact, if there is a thing, then there is usually someone who collects that thing. But evil skulls? Really?

Peter Cushing plays an evil skull collector in, yes, 'The Skull', a Freddie Francis film from 1965. The creepy cranium in question belonged to the Marquis de Sade and, naturally, has a troubled history, with several unexplained deaths being attached to its unsavoury legend. Within a few days of buying it at a bewitched bones auction, Cushing's ordered life is starting to spiral down the u-bend - he's having nightmares, experiencing hallucinations, standing over his sleeping wife with a big knife in his hand - the sort of things he never ever did before the malevolent noggin came into his world. Incredibly, it seems that the evil skull is bad news. Really bad news.

'The Skull' is pretty good, considering, with some nice out there fantasy sequences and some great skull pov photography. Cushing is always particularly interesting when his cool and calm demeanour breaks down and he starts to unravel, and he falls apart quickly and irrevocably here to great dramatic effect. Freddie Francis' direction is excellent and to the point as you would expect from a genre director of his quality. Even Christopher Lee is quite good (and not in it much) and there's a nice cameo role for 'Island of Terror' favourite, Michael Gough. I miss that guy. 

Right, I'm off to add 'evil skull' to my saved e-bay searches.   

No comments:

Post a Comment