The Screaming Skull (1958)   3 comments


Eric and Jenni Whitlock, fresh from their wedding, arrive at the home of Eric’s late wife to start a new life together. Doesn’t that sound nice? The home, completely empty save a gigantic portrait of the dead woman, sits on a large piece of land inhabited by creepy child-man caretaker Mickey (director, Alex Nichol) and some peacocks. Cozy.

I like your feet.

Moments later, the minister and his wife arrive. After all, what honeymoon is complete without a visit from the parson? During the visit, Eric tells the minister that Jenni, of a delicate nature, has been under great mental strain since she witnessed the deaths of her parents and he hopes that leaving her alone in his dead wife’s house with a nutty gardener and some screaming birds will help. OK, he doesn’t actually say that but come on! Soon Jenni starts seeing skulls all over the place and Eric tells the minister of his concern.

Hiya, Dollface!

Eric’s a heck of a guy after all and tells his friends he’ll stand by his wife (and her money) even if she relapses and has to go back to the asylum. Sweet. Oh wait. It gets better. Eric’s wife, Marion died after tripping, hitting her head on a stone pond on the estate, and drowning…by accident and Jenni believes Marion still haunts the grounds. After a few more skull sightings and nightmares, Jenni believes she’s losing her grip and goes along with her husband’s idea to rid herself of Marion’s spirit. Jenni’s nightmares will cease if she burns Marion’s giant portrait. Well sure. So they burn the portrait and Eric, like the boy scout he is, rakes the coals so as not to offend Smokey-the-Bear. What does Jenni see in the ashes? A skull, natch. Eric sees no skull and that revelation sends Jenni off the rails. There’s more, but I don’t want to spoil it.

guy with skull
Skull? What skull?

Peggy Webber, of the Dragnet TV series stock company plays Jenni and Russ Conway, Reverend Snow. John Hudson and Tony Johnson round out the cast as Eric and Mrs. Snow. It looks like the entire film was shot at dusk and apparently in 3D as well. MST3K sent it up though I haven’t seen that version. Another film ripe for a live tweet. Watch it if you dare!! No, go ahead. It’s not that scary.


3 responses to “The Screaming Skull (1958)

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  1. Pingback: #BMovieManiacs Event: The Screaming Skull (1958) |

  2. It’s really not that bad. Surprised MSTK3 gave it a go. There’s lots worse out there.

  3. I agree, it is not that bad. Apart, perhaps, from Nicol’s performance as Mickey, the cast is strong. Anyone else think the two or so minutes given to Jenni’s either talking about or displaying that copy of Henry James stories, including “The Beast in the Jungle,” was suggestive? I’d love to know who thought to put that in the movie; I suspect it was Peggy Woods; she had had a dramatic anthology show in the late 40s. Love to know more about that. Anyway, the movie is worth watching.

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