It seems to me that Amicus Productions always lived in the shadow of Hammer Studios. Hammer was more prolific and they had a much higher profile. The horror historians hold Hammer in the highest regard. I am a big fan.

Amicus made fun little movies that hold up well in comparison. True, Amicus never really reached the heights of Hammer highlights like Horror of Dracula and The Curse of the Werewolf, but on the whole I'll take an average Amicus movie over a Hammer production. Even the weaker Amicus movies are goofy fun.

The Skull is not one of their weaker efforts. It was adapted from Robert Bloch's short story, The Skull of the Marquis de Sade, and it was directed by one of Britain's greatest genre directors, Freddie Frances. And it is always a great time when Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee worked together.

The Skull is a lurid, suspenseful story of an occult collector, typically well played by Cushing, who happens upon the skull of the notorious Marquis de Sade. It seems that de Sade was more than merely a perverted madman, but was possessed by a demonic entity. The skull has retained some of the evil and soon is wreaking havoc upon its new owner.

The Skull is a lively movie that moves along at a brisk pace. And what's not to like? Satanism, Demonology, murder, madness. The score is cool, there are some nifty visual effects, and the cinematography is first rate.

You can watch The Skull for free with Amazon Prime, so take a pass on the next phony baloney CGI-laden mess and watch a lovely slice of vintage British horror instead.

Written by Mark Sieber



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