The Skull (1965) Movie Script

What are you doing here?
Aren't you pleased to see me? Hm?
Get out!
I said get out.
And quickly!
You're usually glad to see me.
- Yes, but...
- Why else did you give me your key?
Yes, but...not now.
I've got to be alone tonight.
For 90 to Sir Matthew Phillips.
Thank you.
Hard luck, Mr Maitland.
Better luck next time.
Oh, it's all in the game, Marco.
Item number 73, four stone figures.
Mid-17th century, sculptor unknown.
Made after descriptions in the admirable
history of Father Sebastien Michaelis.
The figures represent the hierarchies of hell.
Lucifer, who commands all.
Next under Lucifer,
the Prince of the Seraphim
who tempts men with pride.
And now the demon who tempts men
with heresies
and sins repugnant under faith.
And finally, Prince of the fallen Cherubim,
who tempts men to be quarrelsome
and contentious
and to commit murder.
Now, who will open the bidding?
You'd better stop, Mr Maitland.
He's got more money than you have.
1,500. 1,500 once.
1,500 twice.
Sold to Sir Matthew Phillips.
Ladies and gentlemen,
it is now ten past one,
so I suggest we break for lunch
and resume the sale at 2.30 this afternoon
with item number 75.
Item number 74 having been withdrawn.
Matthew, those figures aren't worth
anything near how much you paid.
Even I was over-bidding.
What did you want them for?
I thought they'd go well with my collection,
for the right price.
Why did you want them so badly?
I don't know. I really don't know.
Good evening. Is Mr Maitland at home?
I'll see if he's at home, Mr Marco.
It's all right, Denise. I'll see Mr Marco.
Good evening, Mrs Maitland.
May I see your husband?
- I'm sure he will see me.
- I'm afraid he's busy.
He's never too busy to see me.
If you'll kindly tell him I'm here.
- Marco's here again.
- Ah.
- I told him you were busy.
- Has he brought anything with him?
He's carrying a bag.
I can't bear that man.
Why do you have to do business with him?
Darling, you know I need research materials.
He's the one who can get them for me.
- I'm afraid. I'm afraid for you.
- You needn't be afraid of Marco.
It's because people all through the ages
have been influenced and terrorised
by these things
that I carry out research
to find the reasons why.
It's all part of the unknown.
- The unknown's always intriguing.
- And sometimes dangerous.
My husband WILL see you, Mr Marco.
Good evening, Mr Maitland.
Good evening. Won't keep you a moment.
I'm sorry to come unannounced and so late.
- I hope I'm not intruding.
- What have you got for me?
Something choice.
- Very choice.
- Why don't you show me?
The life of the notorious Marquis de Sade,
the man whose name has become the symbol
of cruelty and savagery that is in all of us.
The Marquis de Sade was born in 1740,
of distinguished Provenale lineage.
He was a handsome young man
when he joined his cavalry regiment -
pale, delicate, looked like an angel.
With the soul of a devil.
He began to write books
filled with the pleasure of inflicting pain.
It was rumoured that he practised sorcery,
making sacrifices of blood to his master,
the Devil.
These were only rumours.
It was the facts, his offences against society,
which sent the Marquis to prison
over and over again.
He ended his days
confined as a lunatic
with an eternal hatred of all mankind.
A most interesting man.
A most interesting book.
How much do you want for it?
Look at the binding.
- What's it made of?
- Skin.
Human skin. So, you see it is very special.
Where did you get this book?
I didn't think you were so particular.
Look at these other things.
The crux ansata fashioned from a thigh bone.
That shrivelled hand of glory
stolen from a grave in Mainz.
This knife, Gilles de Rais's,
the notorious wife murderer.
Hm. Bluebeard.
You didn't enquire into THEIR pedigree.
- I needed them for my work.
- Yes, I know.
Demonology, black magic, witchcraft.
I've read your books.
200, not a penny less.
Think of it - a deeper look into your world
of fantasy and imagination.
And how useful for your research!
Ah! Cash, please.
Of course.
Oh, by the way,
I may have another item for you.
Perhaps tomorrow night.
But it will require somewhat more than this,
if you want it.
You're always welcome here,
whenever you have something interesting.
I think you'll find that what I have for you
is most interesting.
- Good night, Mr Maitland.
- Good night.
- I'll tell Mr Maitland you're...
- Mr Maitland is expecting me.
- Did you enjoy the book?
- Very much.
I hope what you've brought me tonight
is just as interesting.
A beauty, isn't it?
So small and delicate.
It would be a worthy addition
to anybody's collection.
All I'm asking for it is 1,000.
For a human skull?
Oh, Mr Maitland!
What do you take me for?
Do you think I'd bring you just an ordinary
human skull?
Do you imagine I'd ask you for 1,000
for a skull of a nobody?
1,000, Mr Maitland, and cheap at the price.
You'll pay it gladly when you know the story.
Marco, I wouldn't pay that price
for Napoleon's skull.
I think you'll find the owner of this skull
a great deal more interesting.
You see before you the skull
of Donatien Alphonse Francois.
Marquis de Sade.
What proof have you?
Do you happen to have a copy of
Havelock Ellis's Studies?
Yes, they're over there by the mask.
In the section named La Fontaine
there is something you might find
rather interesting.
A short time after the Marquis de Sade
was buried at Charenton in 1814,
his skull was stolen from his grave.
The man who stole it was a phrenologist.
Such was his interest, professionally,
in de Sade,
he wanted to see if an examination
of the skull would show
whether the Marquis was truly insane.
A few clays later, the executor of
the phrenologists estate, a friend of his,
a certain Dr Londe...
Ah! Too many things.
It'll take weeks and weeks of work.
What's this?
- Who are you?
- I am the executor of Monsieur's estate.
Oh. Well, continue. I shan't disturb you.
Yes, but excuse me. Er... Who are you?
But I asked you who you were.
Who do you think I am? His mother? Hm?
We were colleagues.
He was really devoted to his work.
Perhaps that was the trouble.
- Too devoted.
- What do you mean?
Is there perhaps something
that you should tell me?
He brought something back with him
the night he was killed.
He didn't show it to me. He took it in there.
What could it have been?
I don't know.
But whatever it was it...changed him.
Changed him? In what way?
The way he spoke to me.
He never had before.
He was always gentle, kind.
- And you think that this thing changed him?
- Yes. It made him evil!
I wonder what it could have been.
I don't know.
If you'll excuse me, I'll get my things.
I wonder what it was.
That's rubbish.
Well, suppose I'll put them down.
That's wonderful!
That's it.
One head.
Dr Londe could not explain his action
to the police.
To all their questions,
he merely replied, "The skull."
And this, according to you, is the mysterious
skull of the Marquis de Sade?
Here's the description. Read it for yourself.
There are plenty of skulls
that will fit that description.
You know me, Mr Maitland.
I have never sold you anything
which was not truly authentic.
You can take my word for it.
I know that is the skull
of the Marquis de Sade.
No. It's too much for a skull
and a flimsy story.
Well...let's say 800.
All right then - 500, and right now.
This is the first time I've known you
to lower your price.
- Now I know it's a fake.
- On the contrary.
If it were, I wouldn't budge from my price.
You stole that skull, didn't you, Marco?
What does that matter to you?
You can tuck it away in your collection,
look at it whenever you like
and know that it's yours.
Nobody need be any the wiser.
Think about it, Mr Maitland.
For 500.
Yes, I will think about it.
Here's my address.
Oh, thanks.
Top floor.
Room number 57.
If you change your mind,
come round tomorrow night.
Bring the money with you.
- Oh, really!
- Bad luck.
I seem to be having an off night.
I've never played so badly in my life.
You certainly don't seem to be able
to concentrate. Anything the matter?
I was offered an item last night
by a mutual acquaintance, Marco.
Oh, yes? A somewhat shady individual.
But useful.
He offered me a death's head which he said
is the skull of the Marquis de Sade.
He wanted 1,000
but finally came down to 500.
Naturally, I'd like it in my collection,
if it's genuine.
- It's genuine enough.
- How could you possibly know that?
Because, my clear fellow,
it was stolen from me.
- What?
- Brandy?
No, thanks. Marco's expecting me later
this evening. Why don't you come with me?
You could identify your property
and get it back.
I shall do nothing of the sort!
I'm glad that the skull has been stolen
and I advise you to leave it alone.
- But why?
- Because it's dangerous.
You've never taken any notice
of superstition before.
That is why, when I tell you that I sincerely
believe the skull to be dangerous,
you'd better take my word for it.
But how can a mere skull be dangerous?
Unless your mind makes it so.
De Sade said he wasn't mad.
And I believe him.
He was far worse than mad.
He was possessed -
possessed by an evil spirit.
A spirit which still inhabits the skull.
I kept the skull locked in a glass case
in the library. I had the only key.
Once a month, during the two nights
of the new moon,
the time of devil worship and black magic,
I found in the morning
that the skull had been removed.
Who removed it?
Those who use its power.
Invisible beings,
spirits from a strange, evil world.
Sometimes, I used to hear them calling me
to join them in their ceremonies.
It took all my powers of will to resist.
I wouldn't resist, given the opportunity.
I'd wait for them. It'd make a good chapter
for one of my books.
Don't think that I wasn't tempted.
I knew that the moment I set foot in the room
I'd be unable to resist the forces of evil.
I would do whatever the skull
wanted me to do.
Remember the auction?
Remember these -
Lucifer, Beelzebub, Leviathan?
And Belberith, who incites to murder.
I bought them. I told you at the time
that I didn't know why.
But I know now.
Then why did you?
Because the skull wanted me to.
It needed this one for its worshippers.
They were all kept in the library
till after the skull had been stolen but
I never went into the library
on the nights of the new moon.
- You're a coward.
- Perhaps sometimes it's better to be.
All I can say to you is...
keep away from the skull
of the Marquis de Sade.
Is this what you're looking for?
Where'd you get that?
Have you been messing about in my room?
- What would I be doing in this junk heap?
- Where did you get that?
- I found it.
- Where?
- In the hall.
- Where!?
- In the broom cupboard.
- Huh!?
I AM the caretaker here.
Thank you.
You're the strangest tenant
we've ever had here.
Is this junk worth any money?
- Oh, it's of no value.
- Huh.
Anyone must be barmy
who collects things like this.
Come in.
Well, who are you?
- What do you want?
- Are you Christopher Maitland?
- Yes.
- We have a warrant for your arrest.
- My arrest?
- I must caution you that anything you say
will be taken down in writing
and may be given in evidence.
- What is the charge?
- You'll find out.
- Come along.
- My wife is out. I must leave a note for her.
You can phone from the station.
Come along.
But this isn't the police station.
Who are you?
What do you want?
Why am I here?
- Oh, Chris.
- It's OK. It's all right.
It must be terribly late.
You must be freezing. I'll get you a drink.
I thought you were working. Why didn't
you leave me a note, like you usually do?
Where were you? What were you doing?
I don't know, Janey.
I honestly don't know.
I was sitting over there, reading.
I can only imagine that I fell asleep.
Had a most terrifying dream.
It was a nightmare.
When I woke up,
I was in Marco's lodging house.
I have never been there before in my life.
It was almost as if something
had compelled me to go there
and I went without knowing.
This is what I was afraid of.
I tried to warn you.
Did Marco bring you anything last night?
Yes, he did,
but he wanted far too much for it.
I must find out more about it.
You say this door was open
when you came in?
- Why did you come here?
- Marco had a volume I wanted urgently.
Some reference material
for a book I'm writing.
I telephoned him
and said I'd pick it up tonight.
When I found the door open
I thought he'd gone out for a moment.
I came in to wait.
I found him like that
and called you immediately.
- I don't understand it.
- What don't you understand, Doctor?
- The caretaker, sir.
- Thank you, Constable. Come in, Mr...?
Travers. Bert Travers.
Well, Bert, have you known the tenant long?
A couple of years.
I had nothing much to do with him.
He did his own room.
Didn't let anyone near it.
- Mr Travers, do you have a pet of any kind?
- No.
Does anyone else in the house -
a large dog, perhaps?
- We don't allow them.
- Thank you, Mr Travers.
Doctor, what have animals to do with this?
The man's jugular vein was bitten -
clean through.
- Do you know what last night was?
- How do you mean?
- The date.
- Oh, it was...
- It was the 23rd.
- Well?
The first night of the new moon.
The first night of the new moon.
- That's the first night of the rituals.
- Exactly.
And tonight is the second.
If you have the skull...
get rid of it!
Would you take this?
It's to protect you,
as it protected me against the skull
and its evil worshippers.
You really are superstitious, aren't you?
What are you doing here?
What's that you've got?
You stealing something?
- No. This belongs to me.
- Funny.
- I've seen that before, in HIS room.
- I paid Mr Marco for it.
Now, how do I know you're telling the truth?
- Must be worth something, that.
- Excuse me.
What about a little phone call to the police?
- Will you get out of my way?
- Careful.
You've got the skull.
I knew you had it.
Get rid of it!
Jane, help me!
Help! Help me, Jane!
Help me! Help me, Jane!
Help me!
Jane! Help!
Help me!
Jane, help!
No! No!
No. No!
We'll get nothing out of Mrs Maitland,
not for a long time.
- And Maitland?
- His throat was torn.
Exactly like the Marco case.
- What's the connection?
- What connection could there be?
- Witchcraft?
- Hardly.
Not in this clay and age.
Not in this clay and age.