The Screaming Skull (1958)

Directed by: Alex Nicol

Produced & Written by: John Kneubuhl


John Hudson .... Eric Whitlock
Peggy Webber .... Jenni Whitlock
Russ Conway .... Reverend Edward Snow
Tony Johnson .... Mrs. Snow
Alex Nicol .... Mickey

Release Date:
Theatrical: January, 1958

*Images courtesy at:





A newlywed couple Eric (John Hudson) and Jenni (Peggy Whitlock) spend their honeymoon Eric's desolate mansion in which she finds it very exciting to be at which there's peacocks and other nice surroundings but however she realises that Eric has a deep dark secret in which Reverend Edward Snow (Russ Conway) tells Jenni about Eric's first wife Marianne who died from a mysterious freak accident.
Jenni also has a history of mental illness, begins to see strange things including a mysterious skull as well as sounds of knockings whenever the skull is near these spots, which may or may not be a product of her imagination.
A mentally challenged landscaper Mickey (Alex Nicol) seems to be attached to Jenni and is around the areas whenever Jenni spots the skull.
Yet Eric is very disturbed about what Jenni encounters as he fears that Marianne could have risen from the dead to seek revenge.


I really wanted to jump in and watch this film showing a good introduction with a narration in which is great for an old fashioned drive in type of horror film. You kinda know as what to expect from it.
Of course there's some nice romantic moments between the married couple while spending some time at a mansion with beautiful looking peacocks and other nice sceneries too in which you wonder if this film was a love story by how it starts out.
There's also a creepy character of a mentally challenged landscaper who hardly says a word and acts disturbed by anyone who talks to him which is a nice touch to a horror flick. Plus a nice telling on a death of a woman in which a painting of her is displayed in the mansion which was a great key moment for a haunted type of place.
There's a good close up shot on Edward Snow talking to Jenni Whitlock about a terrible accidental death that happened there in which leaves a chill down your spine by how this discussion was done.
There's a nice scene with Jenni approaching Mickey and trying to talk to him while he's pruning some tree's which looked good on him acting a bit bothered and disturbed. There's a good moment with her catching a caterpillar and talking to him about it.
The film is extremely mysterious almost like a Sherlock Holmes type of fashion when the knocking noises starts to occur and a skull is revealed behing any of the knocking sounds which was nice and spooky with a perfect dark feel to everything. At times you wonder if it's more of a mystery than a horror thinking to yourself that someone could be placing this skull and scaring this poor lady guest.
But trust me it is a horror as the caring husband does lose his sanity slowly when the hauntings appear more and more as well as a surprise visit from this dead woman that had this terrible death aaccident in which it can still look creepy in today standards.
There's many good shots on Jenni walking through the dark hallway of the house hearing knocking sounds which seems incredibly spooky as well as shots on her sleeping and turning her head back and fourth while having a nightmare.
A nice shot when she opens a cabinet door a skull appears and a great shocking presence by her. There's also a good shot on a window area with Mickey standing outside glaring which looked incredibly mysterious as well as a good camera shot closing in on an outside doorway of the mansion.
A nice shot on a skull sitting outside of a doorway when Jenni opens the door with a good camera shot closing in on her with great freaked out expressions as well as her screaming intensely along with passing out.
There's a good moment after a picture is burned with both Jenni and Eric picking up the remains and digging up a hole with a good shot on a skull and her freaking out about it with him trying to convince her that there's no skull which looked good and twisted like.
A nice shot on Eric calling and chasing after Mickey with many good takes on. There's alot of energy on the two of them during this moment. A great forceful moment with Eric as well as good close up shot on him slapping his face.
There's also a good stern moment with Reverend Edward Snow getting demanding towards Mickey asking him about pulling off any tricks and telling him it's a sin if he's lying which looked impressive on someone trying to almost poison another person's mind. Nicol does well getting upset by trying to answer him.
There's a great shot on Eric splashing around a water area of the mansion trying to dig up a skull and going nuts in which Mickey shows a nice twist to this moment.
A very intense moment with Jenni losing control and freaking out as well as Eric losing his mind and strangling her which looked incredibly powerful.
There's a nice terrifying moment with him trying to run away near a staircase of a mansion with two skulls trapping him and great close up shots on these skulls cackling and a perfect close up shot on one of them attacking his face.
Shock rocker King Diamond used some clips of this movie for his rock video "Sleepless Nights" in which this film alltogether was perfect to watch and be entertained.
Bottom line is this film is close to an excellent horror flick which seemed a bit slow at first but really picks up halfway through and leaving a good impression on things going bump in the night. Sometimes the revealing skull can look too funny at times which isn't a big deal but it was supposed to look very scary. Well back then it was scary. The flick would be categorised as a cult classic but not up to mainstream standards since it's not hugely known.
It's worth checking out to anyone who loved old fashion black and white horror flicks like me.

The acting is very well done during this time period as John Hudson (Eric Whitlock) really knew how to portray a charming and sympathetic husband figure for the first part of the film and bringing out a strong deliverance with all that's going on. He also shows terrific and violent aggressions too later on in the story really changing his ways and was just as convincing while doing this from a calm mannered person to someone losing their sanity.
Peggy Weber
(Jenni Whitlock) was terrific as the calm and happy wife in which she does show a nice and peaceful friendly type of behavior around anyone she's with and making this very believeable. She also really knew how to act intensely scared and frightened with great paranoid reactions. She certainly knew how to scream as well as pass out and showing great timing to both of these when her cue was ready to do so.
Russ Conway
(Reverend Edward Snow) played a great preacher showing a nice serious attitude with his expressions as well as his speaking and really knowing how to make each scene that he does effective in his role of the film. He also showed a nice masculine presence onto the camera with his performance.
Tony Johnson
(Mrs. Snow) as his wife does wa fine job as someone who really knows how to act welcoming with their guests. She almost has that wholesome type of image coming across as a likeable type.
Alex Nicol
(Mickey) (Who also directed this piece) played the perfect key role to the story as a mentally challenged landscaper. He showed a nice disturbed and quiet type of behavior forcing his words out which makes you wonder if he's behind the scheme to any of the terrors going on. D
oes well by getting upset by trying to answer a Reverend in a scene. Well done.

Lots of excellent composing mainly with weeping violin music and some quivering opera type spooky singing from a woman which adds the perfect touch for the suspense in the film. There's of course the low toning drum poundings too. There's also some theme type music which sounds very similar to the 1980 classic The Shining. All of this was magnificently brought together by Ernest Gold.