With only a few more days until Halloween, I found myself in a very kinky mood indeed. Perhaps not as kinky as the Marquis De Sade, who appears to have had a very twisted mind. Oh, I say!
He liked nothing better than performing sordid acts on those less fortunate than himself.
And I thought that was quite normal until I was corrected the other day whilst administering a sedative to one of my victims… Anyway, I appear to be veering off completely from what I’m meant to be talking to you about, so I apologise my friends. Wrap up tight and hold the covers over your heads my friends, as we pick up The Skull DVD, put it in the player and press play…
Dr.Christopher Maitland is a writer and collector of occult items. He is particularly fond of those items which have a very macabre history and are twisted in some way or another. He is offered the chance to purchase a unique item, unlike any he has purchased before. Wait for it… The skull of the Marquis de Sade!
The very skull of possibly the most twisted and perverse person ever to exist in human history! Surely it’s an offer he can’t refuse?
Well, the price tag of £1,000 puts him off slightly and he politely refuses the offer from his regular supplier Marco. How Marco acquires the artifacts is not Maitland’s concerns however and he is surprised when Marco knocks the price down to a more bargain price of £500. What a bobby dazzler.
He’s warned to not purchase the skull by fellow collector Sir Matthew Phillips, but he becomes enchanted by the skull and it’s power over him takes shape in the form of madness and death. Will Maitland go on a hack and slash fest killing all in his path or will he be stopped in his tracks before he can cause torture and pain to those around him? As usual, you need to check out the DVD to find out.
For a film that has now reached it’s 50th year, The Skull still has some punch packed in it’s story line and cinematic vision. Although not very horrific in the way that the victims are murdered, Freddie Francis manages to make quite chilling use of De Sade’s skull, which looks on as Maitland walks down the long path to insanity.
This is a film rooted in classic storytelling (based on Robert Bloch’s story), not reliant on gore but allowing off screen murder and violence to generate the fear in your mind, rather than allowing you to witness it.
I was happy that the film delved into the idea that the occult could cause no end of trouble and misery if tampered with. It also shows how determined someone can be when they are seeking power and understanding beyond human comprehension.
I would recommend The Skull to lovers of classic gothic horror, who are looking for a film to chill them at Halloween, but not make them out and out sick!
There are also a fair few extras, which I’ve listed below for your enjoyment!
- Exclusively restored 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- New video interview with film scholar Jonathan Rigby
- New video interview with critic & author Kim Newman
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and new artwork
- Limited Edition Collector’s Booklet, featuring an essay by Vic Pratt