Plot: Jenni Whitlock (Peggy Webber) has just moved into her marital home, as she is the new bride of Eric (John Hudson). The home is a lavish one, a large house with a tended garden and a lot of potential for the newlyweds. As it turns out, the home was owned by Eric’s previous partner, his late wife. Jenni is optimistic, as she is happy with Eric and has no financial concerns, as she controls a sizable fortune. Soon after she moves in, Jenni experiences some strange things, such as odd noises, eerie feelings, and even skulls seen around the house. These events begin to weigh on her mind, making her a little unstable and desperate for answers. While the police had some ideas, it seems as if perhaps the events might be supernatural, since there seems to be very little proof of anything else at work. Is Jenni losing her mind or is there a dark force at work, supernatural or otherwise?
Entertainment Value: This is a fun b movie about gaslighting, which is always a fun premise for a haunted house flick, I think. A rich newly married woman is being slowly driven mad, which might be the work of supernatural forces or could be a more down to earth plot against her. This one runs a little over an hour and isn’t a genre classic, but it has fun moments and is a brisk watch. The black & white visuals are well crafted and the house makes an effective locale, but I think the cast is what adds the most fun to this old school chiller. Peggy Webber is good as the new bride falling into madness, but director Alex Nicol’s turn in front of the camera as the creepy gardener is by far my personal highlight. The scene where he is repeatedly slapped in the face is so outlandish, especially the exaggerated sound effects. On the downside, obviously this dated and very tame by later standards, but that’s pretty common. I think The Screaming Skull is a fun flick that has appeal to those who appreciate older horror pictures.
No nakedness and no blood. But we do have good atmosphere and some fun horror tropes, such as the creaky old house, eerie portrait of a scary woman, and a weirdo groundskeeper with a bowl haircut. Well, perhaps that last one isn’t a trope, but it is still a fun inclusion here. These older horror movies relied on mood and visuals, so you won’t miss the bloodshed and it would feel out place in this instance. The dialogue is basic, but falls into overly dramatic at times, which is good news. The characters get a little over the top, especially Jenni’s descent into madness. So some fun lines and wacky character moments, which are always welcome. On the craziness side, this one is pretty standard outside of Webber’s humorous performance and the scene where the gardener is slapped around. But hey, a little wackiness is better than none.
Overall Insanity: 1/10