The Screaming Skull (1958) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Screaming Skull (1958) Review

Horrorific content by adrian on September 15th, 2018 | Movie Review, Worth Watching? | Classic Horror, Campy, Haunted House, B-Horror

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It’s about a widower who marries a woman with a history of psychological issues and moves her into the house of his dead wife, whose skull promptly starts haunting the poor lady.

The Screaming Skull was directed by Alex Nicol (who also directed Point of Terror) and stars director Alex Nicol (who also starred in The Night God Screamed), Peggy Webber and Russ Conway.

The tortured ghost who claims vengeance in the bride's bedroom!

Screaming Skull Review

The Screaming Skull is a really, really bad classic low budget B-horror that now floats around the public domain (meaning you can watch it right here on All Horror! That's of course if you want to watch a really, really bad classic B-horror).

What makes it so bad?

1. The intro. A narrator explains how the movie you're about to watch is so scary it could kill you, which is why every ticket holder also gets a free coffin in case they die of fright. Now, in their defense, making movie-goers think THEY were actually in danger just by watching a movie was a common marketing gimmick in the 50's. But, Screaming Skull went over the top with an entire intro complete with a funeral scene and a coffin reserved for you, the viewer. Firstly, can you raise expectations any higher? And secondly, seriously?!

2. Pacing. It becomes clear within the first 20 minutes that the only thing these filmmakers were skilled at was time wasting. There's so many scenes that are so unnecessarily long. They should have offered those free coffins to viewers who died of old age. For example, there's one particular scene where the new wife wakes up after hearing some loud noises and gets up to investigate. But by the time she actually gets to the room with the noise you're tired of waiting and don't even care anymore.

3. Confusing jump cuts. The production value of this movie is bargain basement low. One thing in particular you can't help but notice are the jarring jump cuts. For example, in the same scene as above, where the wife finds the source of the scary sound (a window banging shut in the wind.... something that was obvious from the moment it woke her up), one moment she's experiencing a supernatural threat and the next she's hugging her husband, who wasn't even home when she woke up. I thought it was me spacing out or something, but nope, turns out it was the editor who wasn't paying attention.

4. Confusing story. I'm not here to spoil movies so I won't go into details. But, the plot and all important details are all over the place.

5. Special effects. I know they were working with 50's technology, but oh man, the special effects were ridiculously cheesy and often made no real sense.

Worth Watching?

Really, really bad low budget B-horror from the 50's with over the top special effects? Um, yeah! Of course it's worth watching! The Screaming Skull is classic horror gold!

1. The intro is hilarious and really sets the tone for what's to come.

2. Pacing. Ok, the pacing sucks.

3. Confusing jump cuts. Hilarious!

4. Confusing story. Hilarious!

5. Special effects. Oh man, they're SO good. One minute you're watching a skull rolling around the yard, knocking on doors and jumping into cars, the next you're watching the skull as a gigantic hologram coming out of the woods! What!? The skull sometimes even hops on top of the skeleton of the dead wife, gets dressed in her Sunday's best for some reason and then floats toward the husband.... who defeats it by throwing a chair! What!??

The Screaming Skull is so legendarily bad that it was even featured on a Mystery Science Theater 3000. So yeah, definitely worth watching.


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