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THE SCREAMING SKULL (1958)


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The producers promise to pay for your burial if you die of fright during this film. They make no such guarantee if you die laughing.

Married couple John Hudson and Peggy Webber move into Hudson's house. Hudson is on his second wife (no pun intended). His first died "accidentally." Webber is recovering from a stay in a mental hospital. She has money, and large breasts. Shortly after moving in, she hears strange noises; footsteps, a screeching sound, a Gregorian Chant, and that woman who always sings "woo ...ooh ...ooh" in these horror films. Also, a skull appears in a cupboard. Is she going mad? Or is someone trying to drive her crazy (say, her husband, for instance)? There are only three other people in the cast; a reverend, his wife, and Mickey the Gardener, who is played by the film's director, Alex Nicol. Mickey is one sandwich short of a picnic, if you will. Mathematically, that means his IQ is at least three standard deviations below the mean.

Hudson's brother William played the philandering husband "Harry" in Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. Apparently, scumbagness runs in the family.

Most of the scenes are filmed in the dark, and the sound is garbled, so you never can really tell just how bad this thing is. It is difficult to believe that Ernest Gold scored this film. I guess Otto Preminger never found out before he gave Gold the Exodus gig.


The entire cast of The Screaming Skull is captured in this still.
Let's see somebody try that with Spartacus.
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Alex Nicol surrounded by cracked pots. The symbolism escapes me.
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Peggy Webber waits for the lights to go on and the Prilosec to kick in.
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Russ Conway announces the Easter Egg hunt is ready to get underway.
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John Hudson heads to the Batcave.
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Peggy Webber auditions for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof .
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while John Hudson tries his luck at Hamlet.
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Peggy Webber realizes she should have read the warning label before consuming
all that Olestra.
untitled6-7.jpg

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> {quote:title=scsu1975 wrote:}{quote}

> Mickey is one sandwich short of a picnic, if you will. Mathematically, that means his IQ is at least three standard deviations below the mean.

>

 

Ohhhh, that's mean! ;)

 

But this sounds like a great movie to watch on Memorial Day. I'll be sure to watch this in its entirety sometime before TCM shows The Big Parade.

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> But this sounds like a great movie to watch on Memorial Day. I'll be sure to watch this in its entirety sometime before TCM shows The Big Parade.

 

 

 

Our soldiers fought and died to protect our great country, and one of the benefits of living in the United States, however frivolous it may appear to you, is to be able to sit back and enjoy a schlocky, fun movie like THE SCREAMING SKULL.

 

You see, horror film fans are patriots, too.

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Just saw it, Rich.

 

You know, this could have been decently chilling if William Castle had directed. As it is, it's a tedious rip-off of THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, REBECCA, and GASLIGHT. But the final few moments are eerily effective in a shoddy kind of way.

 

Did anyone else think the self-portrait by the ex-wife looked exactly like Judy Garland? (and specificlally, in A STAR IS BORN?) However, for some reason, when Peggy Webber sees it she immediately starts screaming and runs out of the room.

 

Apparently this late spouse had a vision problem, because her supposed death mask/bust on the tombstone resembles 1930's actress Ann Harding.

 

So the best "performances" come from Judy Garland and Ann Harding, the only people with talent to "appear" in this movie.

 

Message was edited by: Bronxgirl48

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> {quote:title=Bronxgirl48 wrote:}{quote}

> So the best "performances" come from Judy Garland and Ann Harding, the only people with talent to appear in this movie.

 

John Hudson did a pretty fair impersonation of Jerry Lewis during the climax, as he ran wildly to and fro.

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heeheehee, yes he did.

 

And director Nicol might have been thinking of balmly old "Ben" ("the sea got her, she's never coming back, is she?") the caretaker, in REBECCA, as the inspiration for Mickey. (I love his last lines: "They gone!" At least, I think that's what he said)

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> {quote:title=Bronxgirl48 wrote:}{quote}

> Our soldiers fought and died to protect our great country, and one of the benefits of living in the United States, however frivolous it may appear to you, is to be able to sit back and enjoy a schlocky, fun movie like THE SCREAMING SKULL.

>

 

Bronxie, with all due respect, what _ever_ gave you the impression that watching a movie like The Screaming Skull would seem frivolous to me? As it happens, I just got back from Dewey's noir fest, where the main attraction was Women in the Night, a movie that would probably give any schlocky film a run for its money. Not only that, but it's a very patriotic movie to watch on Memorial Day, too, as Dewey himself mentioned as he presented the film to the audience.

 

> You see, horror film fans are patriots, too.

 

Again, with all due respect, I would appreciate it if you wouldn't speak for me. I'm a horror film fan, too, and just because I haven't had time to watch more horror flicks lately doesn't mean I need any other fans of the genre to speak for me.

 

While I didn't have time to watch it today, I really do want to start catching up with this and other horror movies, and I appreciate it very much that Rich is so nice to post this stuff for all of us.

 

Thank you for your understanding,

Holly

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Hold up...wait a minute. Garland and Harding worked together in "THE SCREAMING SKULL"?? Sort of like Gildersleeve and his buddy Rosencrantz in Shakespeare.

 

I'll have to check it out, but first "BLONDE ICE"...after "CRY OF THE CITY." Uh-oh look out, here's Hope Emerson...softly kissing Victor Mature on the lips.

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Oh, yes, Judy and Ann put in unexpected appearances.

 

The painting on the wall in the creepy old mansion bears an uncanny resemblance to:

 

a_star_is_born.jpg

 

You keep waiting for the "Born in A Trunk" number.

 

The only screaming I would do is for encores.

 

And Ann is front and center (literally) at the tombstone.

 

Enjoy!

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Holly, what we might have here, as Strother Martin says in COOL HAND LUKE, is failure to communicate.

 

My perception, and please correct me if I'm wrong, was that the mention of Memorial Day and THE BIG PARADE, seemed unusually unnecessary for this thread. Granted, it was the holiday, and yet I felt these references to patriotism (or should I say, the possible implied lack of patriotism of people who might be interested in THE SCREAMING SKULL instead of something with more gravitas, like THE BIG PARADE), was somehow not in keeping with the light-hearted, let-loose aspects of why the thread was created, and why all these fun horror/sci-fi threads are created, at any time of year. I also had hoped you would have made time to see THE SCREAMING SKULL, since you did say you'd be sure to do so. Granted, other things might have interrupted your intended viewing, but, I have to honestly say that I felt you were more interested in letting us know it was Memorial Day and that you would be watching THE BIG PARADE, than in any real interest in THE SCREAMING SKULL.

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> {quote:title=Bronxgirl48 wrote:}{quote}

> Holly, what we might have here, as Strother Martin says in COOL HAND LUKE, is failure to communicate.

>

> My perception, and please correct me if I'm wrong, was that the mention of Memorial Day and THE BIG PARADE, seemed unusually unnecessary for this thread.

 

Bronxie,

You got it all wrong. All I was trying to say, basically, was that a) it was a holiday; and B) there was a movie later on TCM that I wanted to watch, but that I hoped I'd have time to watch The Screaming Skull beforehand.

 

That's all, really. It wouldn't have made much difference to me which holiday it was, or which movie TCM was showing that I wanted to catch.

 

> Granted, other things might have interrupted your intended viewing, but, I have to honestly say that I felt you were more interested in letting us know it was Memorial Day and that you would be watching THE BIG PARADE, than in any real interest in THE SCREAMING SKULL.

 

No, Bronxie, my interest in The Screaming Skull was actually even stronger than for the other movie.

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> No, Bronxie, my interest in The Screaming Skull was actually even stronger than for the other movie.

 

Then we'll look forward to your ramble here about it when you finally get a chance to see it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

> No, Bronxie, my interest in The Screaming Skull was actually even stronger than for the other movie.

 

I realize you have many movies from other genres you'd like to catch up with, but I'll inquire once more if you've seen THE SCREAMING SKULL.

 

Speaking for myself, it's good to see you on all of Rich's fun threads, but you were missed on BRIDE OF THE GORILLA and BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA. It surely can't be fun for you just to drop in, say a quick hello, and then leave; at least take advantage of the links that are provided by Rich for us to see these wonderful gems, and then share your opinions with everybody. After all, isn't that what these message boards are about?

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Okay, I'm nagging you again, but it's for your own good! Have you seen ANY of the movies in Rich's Horror and Sci-Fi threads? Not that it's mandatory of course, but don't you want to truly join us instead of just dropping in and then out so quickly? Come on, don't be so guarded, where does that really get you in life?

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> {quote:title=HollywoodGolightly wrote:}{quote}

> Well, there's so many of them... but don't worry, I will get around to it, and I'll blog about it in the CFU, too. ;)

 

As "Renfield" (Dwight Frye) says in DRACULA, "Words, words, words!"

 

I'll be repetitious, but it's a query that I believe many would like to know -- why bother to immediately drop into all of Rich's horror and sci-fi threads -- and then just as quickly disappear -- if you're not really interested in the movies he's talking about?

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