Screaming Skull

Director: Alex Nicol

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Screaming Skull This film's promotionals included an offer of free burial services for anyone who died of fright while viewing Screaming Skull (1958). It was a fairly safe offer given how little happens that might actually startle anyone, despite that the script was inspired by F. Marion Crawford's classic horror tale "The Screaming Skull" (1911).

Mickey the mentally challenged gardener (played by director Alex Nicol) is obsessed with something in the pool & he comes under suspicion of mischief, though he's actually an innocent childlike fellow.

Eric (John Hudson) brings his wife Jenni (Peggy Webber) home to the estate he inherited from his former wife who died mysteriously. The young woman's nervous condition leaves her emotionally unsteady.

A skull nobody else seems to see begins haunting her & she has fits at the very sight of it. The "special effects" (if they may be so called) are a hoot. Toss in a truly ugly amateurish portrait of the former wife & the accumulation of "atmosphere" falls far short of tingly.

The main plot is one of low-grade mystery & faked supernaturalism, a basic gothic tale wherein the most vested interest hopes to drive a sensitive woman to suicide. But faking ghosts sometimes conjures the real thing, & the real thing just might be interested in a just revenge.

It's the sort of film that might have been seen at age eleven on television when it induced serious unease & nightmares, but when encountered twenty or thirty years later, one realizes eleven year olds can sometimes be frightened even by stuff that fails.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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