The Screaming Skull
"The Screaming Skull" is a motion picture that reaches its climax in SHOCKING HORROR! It's impact is so terrifying that it may have and unforeseen effect.. IT MAY KILL YOU! Therefore, it's producers feel that they must assure free burial services to anyone who dies of fright while seeing "The Screaming Skull."
Damn....Shit just got serious!
Personally, I think you are in more danger of dying of laughter...or boredom if you see "The Screaming Skull." Alternatively, I think the only people in any real danger of dying are the producers, once the audience gets to them!
In The Locker today is a true B movie classic from 1958, "The Screaming Skull." This American International Pictures offering stars John Hudson as Eric Whitlock and Peggy Webber as Jeni Whitlock and Alex Nicol as Torgo.. er.. I mean, Mickey, the characteristically creepy and somewhat dubious grounds keeper and gardener. The newlywed Whitlocks are coming to live in the house of Mr. Whitlock's former wife, who died of mysterious circumstances. They are soon joined by two other friends and the reclusive, “who ordered a side of creepy” gardener, Mickey. It seems that Mickey has a very unhealthy fixation on the former Mrs. Whitlock. Soon, the new Mrs. Whitlock begins seeing a skull pop up at opportune moments while nobody else seems to have seen it or been around to bear witness. After many encounters with this skull (which actually doesn't scream at all), the new Mrs. Whitlock (who, herself, screams quite a bit) she begins to feel that she is losing her marbles! It soon becomes apparent that Mr. Whitlock is trying to drive the new Mrs. Whitlock BACK into the loony bin so that he can stake a claim to her money. After the worlds most hilariously inept fight scene between a man and a body-less skull, the skull gets the better of Mr. Whitlock and somehow manages to drown him in the lily pond. The friends, aided by the semi-special needs case, Mickey, figure out Eric's game and arrive to bear witness to the aftermath.
So, would the local Coroner have to actually certify.. like ACTUALLY put it on the death certificate that you died of fright for them to fork up a free burial?
Watch The Screaming Skull on Youtube.
First, the introductory paragraph is actually the opening few lines of the movie. Classic! Absolutely classic. It kinda makes you wonder, after seeing the movie, just how big of pussies were the masses in the late 50's that this was considered a legitimate danger? I know it is for atmosphere and ambience, but its hokey as hell! The title is a misrepresentation as the skull never screams. Mrs. Whitlock screams a lot. Perhaps the title is a very subtle reference to "HER" screaming! And man, can she SCREAM!!! She does a convincing job on the "abject terror" front! After a while, you realize that SOMEONE has to be doing this to poor Jenni so the question then moves to "who?" Well, theres only four other people you've been introduced to so the pool of likely suspects is rather shallow. Go get 'em Shaggy and Scooby!
About 19 minutes into the film, Jenni is awakened by a banging and goes in search of the noise. Clearly, Jenni has never seen a horror movie. She wanders into a room, sees an open window banging, and she walks over to it and it suddenly jumps to her in the door again and she is hysterical, being held by Mr. Whitlock. Thinking this was an issue with the copy of the film, I sought out another copy of the film. It was in there too! What a crap edit!!
Wait.. "WHO'S" screaming here???
The face that only a screaming skull could love!
The movie desperately tries to lure the audience into the movie by setting a creepy tone and drawing you in with what may have passsed for suspense at one point, however, it is an epic fail on those counts. It gives it a good try and I give it an "E" for effort, but it just isn't there. The two peacocks wandering throughout the film screech and cry all the time, presumably, to act as a possible foil for the derring-do of the "screaming" skull. They irritate more than anything else.
I did mention the "fight" scene between a skull and Mr. Whitlock and how utterly ridiculous it was. It was thoroughly entertaining and I promise you, I went back and watched it 3 or 4 times. It was totally hackneyed and ludicrous! Look, I'm not telling Mr. Whitlock how to avoid getting his ass kicked by a headless, non-screaming skull, but one good kick from me and it would be first down and 10! On behalf of all men everywhere, it was kind of embarrassing, as a guy, that this dude got his ass kicked by a disembodied cranium. It was kinda sad. However.. the movie is considered a classic B movie for all of these reasons and more. I found the full movie on a podcast but it is also on YouTube. Enjoy! Enjoy!
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"The Screaming Skull"