The Skull

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Christopher Maitland (Peter Cushing) has a deep interest in the occult, to the point that he collects unusual and sometimes disturbing pieces related to occult elements. His primary fascination lies with the Marquis de Sade and recently, he acquired a book about de Sade’s life, bound in actual human flesh. But the centerpiece of his de Sade collection comes within reach when he is offered the skull of de Sade himself. The skull once belonged to his friend and fellow collector Matthew Phillips (Christopher Lee), but Phillips is glad to be rid of the item. He claimed the skull had some kind of powers, to move on its own and even control its owner’s actions at times. But Maitland is thrilled to own the skull despite these claims, but will he soon learn about its dark powers, or was Phillips just paranoid?

This is a release that’s sure to pique the interest of horror fans, as The Skull is an Amicus Production that stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, with direction by Freddie Francis. Given all this, I am surprised Paramount never released The Skull, but I am glad to see Legend Films make it available. The Skull is no masterpiece, but it is solid, well crafted entertainment that offers performances from two genre icons. The plot is thin and stretched to make it last, so expect a slower pace and focus on characters. In other words, The Skull is a little short on thrills, but the performances work well and the production is quite refined. So while an Amicus film, this is not traditional horror, more of a character driven supernatural thriller. Whatever you call it, The Skull has enough positives to warrant a look, especially if you’re a fan of Peter Cushing’s work.

Video: How does it look?

The Skull is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I’d never seen this movie in the scope presentation before and I have to say, it adds so much to the film’s visuals. The print is a little rough, with grain, debris, and scratches, but the image still manages to look solid. The colors are spot on, with accurate hues that don’t show much age at all, while contrast is well balanced and never causes any problems. So this does look worn, but the visuals still look more than passable.

Audio: How does it sound?

This mono soundtrack is decent, but has a thin sound thanks to a low volume level. So you’ll have to crank this one up a little more than most to hear all the elements. Even then, you might have a hint of trouble at times, as the low levels can make vocals a little hard to hear in some scenes. The audio is still ok though, as most dialogue is easy to hear and most of the other elements come through well, just a touch thin.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes no bonus materials.

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