The Skull (1965) directed by cinematographer Freddie Francis tells the story of Peter Cushing's Dr Christopher Maitland a collector and writer of all things occult who for a mere £500 can own the skull of the notorious Marquis De Sade.
This mysterious item sold by snuff sniffing dodgy dealer in all thing macabre Marco (Patrick Wymark) but is told by its previous owner Sir Matthew Phillips played by the late great horror Icon Christopher Lee appearing in four memorable scenes that Maitland should stay away from this dangerous relic but it already has the Dr in its grasp leading him down a murderous path.
The scene where Maitland is taken away by policemen in trenchcoats and is then forced to play Russian Roulette by a judge is a wonderfully kafka like nightmare which doesn't advance the narrative but takes audiences on a interesting by way from the story.
While hardly to induce scares these days in the post torture porn era of horror cinema its an entertaining movie nevertheless. The paper thin plot adapted from a short story from "Psycho" author Robert Bloch by Milton Subotsky is a minor fault the effective surrealistic set design from Scott Slimon, the avant garde score by Elizabeth Lutyens and the fluid camera work from Francis give the viewer something interesting to look at even if its just a tracking shot of Cushing's Maitland sitting in his study reading a human skin bound book make up for this.
"The Skull" has been restored in 1080P for this Blu Ray release and contains two great interviews with Film Scholar Jonathan Rigby and critic/author Kim Newman both excellently dressed gentleman give us an extensive education on the history of Amicus films, the production of "The Skull", its cast members and cinema release.
A must see if you have an interest in 20th century British Horror cinema.