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Template:Infobox Film

For the nickname of the conductor, see Georg Solti

The Screaming Skull is a 1958 horror film directed by Alex Nicol. It was parodied on the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000.

SynopsisEdit

The Screaming Skull begins with a voiceover explaining that the film is so frightening it may kill members of the audience, and that American International Pictures is prepared to pay for any burial services and funeral costs. During the voiceover, the camera pans inside an empty casket containing a note that reads "Reserved for you."

The narrative portion of the film begins as newly-weds Jenni and Eric return to Eric's palatial country home (formerly shared by his now deceased first wife). At the home they meet Eric's friends, the Reverend and Mrs. Snow, as well as Mickey, the eccentric and patchily-bearded gardener (played by the director, Alex Nicol).

When she begins to hear unexplained screaming noises and see unexplained skulls around her house, Jenni begins to believe the ghost of Eric’s first wife is haunting her. However, it is also revealed that Jenni has spent time in an asylum, that she has a great personal fortune Eric would inherit if she died, and that Mickey the gardener dislikes Jenni (and, moreover, was childhood friends with Eric's first wife). Possible explanations of the film's central mystery seem fourfold:

  • Is Eric behind the skulls and screams, driving Jenni to suicidal madness to get her money?
  • Is the screaming skull a "real" ghost?
  • Is Mickey behind the skulls and screams, driving Jenni away out of a general dislike?
  • Is it all in Jenni's unstable mind?

As the haunting continues, the first possibility is proved to be true, as the audience sees Eric planting a skull and then pretending to see nothing when Jenni points out that a skull is present. Eric's tactics begin to look like they will be effective, as Jenni is increasingly unnerved.

However, in subsequent scenes, it is revealed that the real ghost of Eric's former wife is also out to get Eric. It attacks him dressed in the clothes of his ex-wife, and bites at his neck like a vampire. In the final scene of the film, Eric is pursued by ghostly screaming skulls into a pond where a skull (presumably of his ex-wife) bites his neck and kills him.

TriviaEdit

  • Throughout the film, the characters refer to a character named "Maurer" or "Mower." He never appears in the film, but is in fact Eric's lawyer.
  • The film opens with an offer by the studio for free burial services to anyone who dies of fright from watching the film. In the MST3K version, Crow clarifies that viewers who die of boredom are not entitled to the free coffin.
  • When it was aired on MST3K, it was paired with a Gumby cartoon called "Robot Rumpus" before the film.
  • The Horror Punk Band "DoomHammer" has a song "the Screaming Skull" with the voiceover heard in the beginning as the intro.

Memorable quotesEdit

"The Screaming Skull is a motion picture that reaches its climax in shocking horror. Its impact is so terrifying that it may have an unforeseen effect. It may kill you! therefore the producers feel it necessary to provide free burial services to anyone who dies of fright, while seeing The Screaming Skull!"

External linksEdit

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