The Screaming Skull
Written by John Kneubuhl
Directed by Alex Nicol
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff
Eric Whitlock...John Hudson
Jenni Whitlock...Peggy Webber
Mr. Snow...Russ Conway
Mrs. Snow...Tony Johnson
“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 its producers feel they must assure free burial services to anyone who dies of fright while seeing The Screaming Skull.”
Eric Whitlock and his new wife Jenni move into the house he once shared with his deceased wife Marion. Right off the bat, he’s back in his old social circle, fraternizing with the Reverend and Mrs. Snow, and the mentally challenged gardener Mickey under his employ. Mickey’s hiding a bit of a secret, though: His undying obsession with the late Marion. Jenny herself was traumatized at a very early age, and those around her are warned not to stir up any unpleasant memories, for everybody’s sake. Everybody’s past seems a little less than Kosher, and we’re instantly reminded of how dirty pasts can haunt a sanitized present.
It’s only a brief period of time before strange things are afoot (askull?) at the Whitmore Estate, but only Jenni witnesses them. It would seem that perhaps they are only figments of her fragile mental state, but that would be a very droll explanation now, wouldn’t it?
Of the few suspects introduced, they did go with the most logical choice, which is at the same time understandable and disappointing. There were no major twists along the way, only an easy fix at the end, and for a film that offers to pay for your funeral, there were surprisingly few scares. It conjures up the old adage—I think it was either Mark Twain or Karl Marx—“Any film that opens with a disclaimer has promise, but any film that makes a promise is lying to you.”
It’s but a mediocre addition to any genre. After all, I saw the titular screaming skull damn near ten times, and I didn’t die once. A few questions to ponder, upon enjoying your traditional post-movie cigarette: Is everybody fucking crazy? What really happened to Eric’s first wife? Why was she buried beneath a tombstone shaped like an Illuminati pyramid? How exactly does a skull scream? And finally, why was a man as square as Eric behind the wheel of a car as pimp as that?
The world may never know. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Black & White