Hooptober 8.0 – The Skull (1965)

Being Bonus Film #2 for Hooptober 2021

The second bonus film for Hooptober 8.0 is an early Amicus picture called The Skull. Amicus is kind of the lower rent little brother of Hammer, which isn’t to say they were bad: their speciality was really more the anthology film. The Skull feels a lot like them trying to do Hammer: it even stars Peter Cushing and features a cameo from Christopher Lee. It’s enjoyable, but I think after so many films – and so many Hammer films – this years I’m a bit burnt out. Nothing terrible, but nothing really special, either.

THE QUICK SUMMARY: It’s the skull of the infamous Marquis de Sade…and it’s CURSED! Christopher Maitland is a collector and writer of the occult. Strange and terrible things begin to happen when a shady antiques dealer tries to sell Maitland the skull. Soon those who hold the skull fall victim to hallucinations and madness. Will Maitland be the next victim? Will people watch this and think it’s a Hammer film? WHO WILL THE SKULL KILL NEXT?!?!

Nothing wrong here: it’s another solid Cushing performance, some lurid colors, and skulls…lots of skulls. I wanted to enjoy it more but I think this one’s on me – just too much too soon, and I found my attention wandering throughout a lot of the picture. If The Skull has a saving grace, it’s its easy act – almost entirely without dialog, it explores the skull’s effect on Maitland as he slowly goes insane, and it’s a wonderfully trippy section of the film…something I wish was in supply for the the while film rather than just the end.

There’s also the all too brief exchanges between Cushing and Lee. Take that, take the trippy ending, and The Skull will keep you on the good path. Me? I got one more of these films to watch and review and then I’m taking a nice, long break.

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