The Skull - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Skull Reviews

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July 29, 2016
This one is Amicus not Hammer but it is a typical Cushing/Lee film. It starts brightly enough but runs out of plot half way through. Has a good spooky atmosphere throughout but the second half of the film is disappointing.
October 2, 2014
Peter Cushing Stars As Demonology Professor Christopher Maitland, In This Brit Cult Horror From The Cult Horror Production Company, Amicus. Adapted From The Robert Bloch (Psycho) Short Story, "The Skull Of The Marquis De Sade", The Film Follows Maitland, Who Purchases The Cursed Skull, To Study The Occult. However As Time Goes On The Skull Possesses His Mind. This Can Be Hardly Called A Classic, But Is A Must For Fans Of Peter Cushing, Who Gives A Great Performance (He Rarely Gives A Bad One). The Film Itself, Is Well Written, Well Scripted & Over All A Pretty Decently Made Film. This Was Made At The Height Of B-Movie Horror's Which Showcased That A Horror Doesn't Have To Scare You Or Be Gory To Be Highly Entertaining. All You Needed Was The Correct Chilling Atmosphere, A Cast Who Give Excellent Performances & A Gothic Over/Undertone. They Certainly Don't Make Films Like This Anymore, Which Is A Real Shame.
November 10, 2013
The first major flaw in this film was how they depicted the Marquis De Sade, which, quite frankly, is irresponsible. Imagine some kid, going through a goth phase watching this and then wanting to research the work of De Sade to find out about this supernatural monster who dealt with witchcraft and the occult. That poor kid is going to get the shock of his life and may be scarred mentally. This was quite a boring film, I fell asleep for the final third but my mates tell me it didn't get any better so I'll leave it at that.
October 16, 2013
The Skull's tag-line reads, "When the skull strikes, you'll scream!" That generic phrase alone should serve as a warning of the boredom to come. The film is about a possessed skull with supernatural powers and unexplained evil motives. Although it stars the legendary Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, it has very little dialogue and isn't compelling nor even somewhat believable. It's a difficult watch but there are some very well done first-person camera shots that will remind you of John Carpenter's Halloween.

½ August 16, 2013
A really silly premise well-executed largely due to Cushing adding gravitas with his presence. Christopher Lee helps a lot in a much smaller role. There's a lot of great looking sequences here, largely due to Freddie Francis directing it I imagine. Not one of Amicus' best, but worth a look.
May 1, 2013
But for the one single shot where you can see the wires supporting the levitating skull, it's damn spooky!
½ August 25, 2012
Enjoyable horror yarn featuring two titans of the horror world in Cushing and Lee. Produced by Hammer Studios rival, Amicus, this flick features plenty of atmosphere with genuine bits of surrealism, just enough to allow the premise to sink into the viewer's brain and into the realm of movieland believability. Creepy in several spurts, with Cushing outstanding as a man curious in the arcane and supernatural ... perhaps, a little too much so. The Skull is a perfect Saturday afternoon creature feature special -hell, why not a double bill with The Screaming Skull, run NOT back-to-back ... but head-to-head!!!
March 23, 2012
great peter cushing film,very enjoyable with some creepy moments.
August 26, 2011
One of THE classics 60s horrors, and one of Peter Cushing's finest performances. A script by Robert Bloch based on his short story, along with an amazing supporting cast make this one of the greatest horror movies.
½ August 21, 2011
Totally ridiculous supernatural nonsense, but even I have to admit that it's a lot of fun if taken in the right spirit. Cushing and Lee are always worth a look, and there's some colorful supporting work from the likes of Coulouris, Gough, and Magee. Not the greatest production to come from Amicus, but it's nowhere near their worst, either.
July 21, 2011
Decent set-up for a 60s British horror flick, Peter Cushing acquiring the cursed skull of the Marquis de Sade. Directed by Freddie Francis and and small supporting role by Christopher Lee, this looks like it would be a decent Hammer horror film, but it's lacking the quality of Hammer pictures from this era. After the set-up the film really goes nowhere and was rather tedious. Still, it was a classy production and I can watch Cushing and Lee in anything.
Super Reviewer
March 24, 2011
Peter Cushing plays a demonologist who collects any items pertaining to the occult, witchcraft, devil worship, etc... This desire for the bizarre leads to his encounter with the skull of none other than the Marquis de Sade himself. This film produced by Amicus has a lot going for it. It has a good story by Robert Bloch as the basis for the script, some fine acting from Peter Cushing in the lead and Patrick Wymark as a disreputable salesman, good character roles by George Coulouris, Patrick Magee, Nigel Green, Michael Gough, and particularly Christopher Lee, some imaginative direction from Freddie Francis, and some very stylish set pieces and costumes. Francis has limited special effects at his disposal, and this is a minor distraction as in one scene you can clearly see wires carrying the skull and a book in the air. Francis also gives in too long I think to some dream sequences and other "are they real or not real" happenings with his camera predominating over long periods of silence. It works well at first, but it does grow stale with repeated use. The story and acting, however, greatly enhance the film and make me give it an easy recommendation.
December 27, 2010
Having a plot that was lifted practically in its entirety by Roman Polanski for his film The Ninth Gate, Freddie Francis' The Skull doesn't suffer from any of the artistic fence-straddling of the aforementioned disasterpiece. Francis was a well-heeled genre vet by the time having directed several other Amicus and Hammer productions before then.

It's only real obvious failing was a climax which is preceded by nearly 10 completely dialogue-free minutes.
Super Reviewer
½ October 31, 2010
oh, i adore the way they used to make horror movies like that, un-scary, atmospheric with an air of psuedo-enigma on various occults. this time, the skull of sade is the pandora's box which unlocks the evil.
½ April 21, 2010
Classic. You just can't go wrong with Lee and Cushing.
½ April 14, 2010
Movies with Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Lee are a must! Effects are good considering the era then, it's all about the sounds and theme to put the fear in moviegoers. Peter Cushing has the blue-st eyes...
½ October 14, 2009
Being possessed by the marquis De Sade is a great concept (just look @ Bloody Pit of Horror; it's great campy fun) but the Skull is pretty dull which is too bad because it has both Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee in it. All De Sade's skull does is float around & drive Cushing mad. Not to good & really only for Cushing & Lee completists
September 11, 2009
"The Skull" is a 1965 Amicus production that treats fans to the pairing of horror legends Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Inspired by a story by Robert Bloch [who also wrote Psycho], "The Skull" stars Cushing as Dr Maitland, an occult collector, who likes to study arcane objects. His 'frenemy' is Sir Matthew Phillips [Christopher Lee], and the pair are portrayed as rivals for the acquisition of rare occult artifacts. One night, Marco, a dealer in such objects, sells Maitland a biography of the Marquis de Sade, which is unique as it is bound in human skin. Later, Marco tempts Maitland with the promise of the skull of the infamous sadist, believed to be cursed, and to possess supernatural powers. When Phillips [Lee] comes to know that Maitland is interested in the marquis' skull, he warns Maitland against acquiring it, telling him the skull is evil and will possess it's owner. The rest of the movie centers on what Maitland does and the consequences.

Though the movie is carried by Cushing, who plays the lead role, Lee's role is not insignificant, though he only appears in a few scenes. The chemistry shared by these two legends is palpable, and I loved the way they interacted, portraying a friendly rivalry that has been seen again and again in other movies. The movie is also highly atmospheric, which is one reason I love horror movies of this period. Though the actual special effects are cheesy by today's standards, the atmosphere, setting, and especially acting elevate these movies to classic status. The DVD features are quite pitiful really, but I'd still say this is a must-have for fans of period horror, and classic horror.
Super Reviewer
½ April 4, 2009
Fine performances and classic 60's horror from the Brits.
½ March 1, 2009
The skull's eye view shots are what make it so special.
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