alex nicol

Queen of Schlock! The Screaming Skull

It has suspense. It has physiological horror. It has a stunning dame with a gorgeous sweater girl wardrobe. Most importantly, it has a SCREAMING SKULL!

The Screaming Skull is one of my all time favourite 1950s b-movies. When I need a little pick me up, I will either watch it or Plan 9 From Outer Space. Why these movies instead a comedy? Because they both remind me that dedication and love of your craft help you succeed in making your end product. Also, they are both a helluva lotta fun!

The Screaming Skull is a 1958 independently made American black-and-white horror film, produced by John Kneubuhl and directed by Alex Nicol, that stars John HudsonPeggy WebberRuss Conway, Tony Johnson, and Nicol. The Screaming Skull marked Nicol’s directorial debut; he decided to try it because he felt that he was not acting in the roles which he wanted. The film was distributed by American International Pictures as a double feature in different markets with either Earth vs. the Spider or Terror from the Year 5000 {source Wikipedia}

If you are a fan of westerns you will likely recognize Alex Nicol. During the 1950s he starred in dozens of them. As mentioned above, he personally didn’t feel as if he was getting the roles he really wanted so he decided to create his own, though funny enough a lot of his directing efforts were in westerns. Like they say, do what you know.

Personally, the thing that keeps bringing me back to this movie is the main character Jenni Whitlock and the actress who played her, Peggy Webber (she will be getting her own blog post soon) and of course the skull. Peggy Webber is perfection in this movie. The issue with some movies in this genre, is actors can take the acting really over the top and not in a good way. Peggy Webber doesn’t do that. She is very convincing as a fragile, newly wed, in a creepy old house. Dealing with the circumstances she is put in, would be enough to put anyone on edge, let alone be recovering from a nervous breakdown. She is an absolute delight to watch. It’s why I keep watching this movie over and over.

As I also mentioned before, though minimal, her wardrobe is fantastic, including the bullet bra look! She is classic without looking boring. As a sewist, when creating my own wardrobe, I tend to look at the b-movies of the 1950s. Currently, The Screaming Skull and Little Shop of Horrors have been a huge influence and will continue to do so.

Now, back to the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie before, you are in for a treat. It’s about a newly married couple moves into the home of the husband’s late wife. {seriously, who does that to a new bride} The grounds are lovingly looked after by the late wife’s ever loyal gardener, who is still grieving and reminiscent of the dead woman’s memory. Almost immediately after they cross the threshold, creepy and nerve wrecking events begin. These spooky moments have the new lady of the house thinking she is having another breakdown. This movie has it all! Now go watch it!

Below is a link to the entire movie!

Each month I run a b-movie night called Killer B Cinema. Join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a monthly evening of b-moves from the 1950s to 1990s! Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook!