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Friday, November 9, 2012

The Screaming Skull (1958)


I'm back today with the second of my "Terrorpolooza 2012" reviews.  This time, it's "The Screaming Skull" .

Jenni and Eric are a happy couple who have recently gotten married.  Upon moving into Eric's mansion, Jenni learns of the tragic death of Eric's first wife.  Soon, Jenni will question her own sanity as strange sounds and skulls begin to haunt her.  Is it the ghost of Eric's first wife... or something more sinister?

I quite enjoyed this movie.  The premise is solid, as are the events that occur.  There are one or two small holes in the plot, but they're pretty minor and don't take away from the overall story.  I did feel though that the opening "disclaimer" was unnecessary, though it did make me smile as I remembered some of the William Castle movies I'd seen.

The characters, while they could be seen as somewhat stereotypical, are still interesting and engaging- especially the characters Jenni, and Mickey the Gardener.  I didn't mind the Reverend and his wife, but felt they were kinda just there as plot points, and Eric was a decently crafted character as well.

The acting is about what can be expected for a low budget film from the 1950's.  Some of it is a little cheesy, some of it right over the top, and some of it quite good.  It was cheesy for the most part, with the final chase scene being rather over the top on the part of John Hudson as Eric.  His facial expressions and movements are more giggle inducing than scary.  I will say that I thought Alex Nicol (who also directed this movie) did a pretty good job as the child-like Mickey.  I actually came to care quite abit for that character.

The camera offers the average fare to the viewer, with very little in the way of interesting or creative camera angles or movements.  There are some decent shots, and the use of shadows was good.  I really liked the way it looked when the ghost chases Jenni, but was disappointed by how they did the final chase scene with Eric.  It was a visual drop in quality from the chase scene with Jenni, I felt.

While I'd have very little problem with re-watching "The Screaming Skull" as part of a B-Movie Night with friends, I doubt that I would pull of the shelf and put it in the machine otherwise.  I'm putting it in "The Bad".

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