For the life of me, I can never work out why 'the Skull' isn't better thought of across the horror world.
It's moody, got inclusively great performances and a brash, kickin' soundtrack.
Cast-wise, it's nigh on untouchable: Peter Cushing plays Maitland, a fool-hardy collector of occult 'curios' who comes to own the possessed skull of the Marquis de Sade, Patrick Wymark is brilliantly squalid as the shady antiques dealer, Marco, Christopher Lee and Peter Woodthorpe make telling cameo-appearances, and the deeply sexy (and good actress(!)) Jill Bennett plays Cushing's terrified wife, pushed to her limit by his obsession.
It's got Hammer-esque cemetery scenes, bulging-eyed insanity murders, a brilliantly trippy dream sequence where Cushing is forced to play Russian Roulette in a mad courthouse, and a devilish, grinning titular villain that floats around his front parlour very stylishly - even with a vicious letter-opener rammed in it's eye.
There may well be typically cryptic 60's drug metaphors abounding(I can sense them, but I'm damned if I can coherently uncover one for you), but that's not why 'the Skull' is so watch-able and entertaining.
It's a combination job, and with all it's component parts firing so finely, it can't do much else but work beautifully.
It's an elegant film, totally out of sync with many of its rivals and peers of the brash, boundary-pushing 1960's. Hopefully, this long overdue dvd release will redress the balance in 'the Skull's favour, and bring it to a modern audience, it's unavailability being the only reason I can see why its not being hailed.