The Screaming Skull (1958) - Movie Script

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-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.

-Welcome, Mrs. whitlock.
-It's lovely, Eric.
-You look disappointed
for a moment.

-I did not. It's really lovely.
-Oh, look.
-I bet that's the den there.
-That's right.
-Ls that a bedroom?
-- Yes, it is.
- Lt's gonna be ours?

-It'll need some fixing first.
-It was her room, wasn't it?
-Yes.
-Come on along. I'll show you
the rest of the house.

-It's rather
forbidding now, I suppose,

-empty like this.
-But it was usually this way.
-Shortly after marianne
and I were married,

-she removed all of the furniture
her parents had left her.

-"This is our home,"
she used to say,

-"and we must choose
everything carefully."

-Well, we didn't get very far
before she died.

-But now that you are here,
it's gonna be lovely again.

-I'll get the things
out of storage tomorrow.

-They're all in town
at the warehouse.

-And I'll take care of that, too.
-You have candles?
-Sure.
-It'll be twice as romantic.
-Speaking of being romantic...
-I forgot to carry you
over the threshold.

-I love you.
-- I love you.
- Oh, jenni.

-I thought life
had died out for me.

-What's that up there?
-Oh, that's where Mickey
keeps his gardening things.

-- Who's Mickey?
- The gardener.

-He's kept it up
for two years I've been away.

-- By himself?
- That's right.

-He must work awfully hard.
-Oh, he and marianne
would spend hours on end

-working here in the gardens,
-and up in the greenhouse
back there.

-See, he loved it very much.
-Sometimes, I used to wonder
who she was,

-my wife or Mickey's nursemaid.
-You know, I don't think
he quite believes she's gone.

-I think he expects her
to show up

-one of these mornings
and scold he

-for neglecting the gardens.
-You still love her, don't you?
-No, I'm not jealous.
-I'm grateful to her.
-I think to have loved once,
-really love,
-to learn how to love always...
-Learning it from her,
you give again to me.

-I wish there was some way
to thank her.

-- Who's that?
- I don't know.

-And they're driving
around the back.

-Come on, come on along.
-- Eric.
- I see Eric. Hi.

-We stopped by
to meet your new wife.

-Oh, Eric, this is
a wonderful surprise.

-- It's been a long time.
- It has.

-- Reverend.
- Good to see you, Eric.

-Jenni, this is Mrs. snow.
-I'm very happy to meet you.
-Jenni, this is
a lovely surprise.

-And the reverend, Mr. snow.
-Hello, my dear.
-- Oh, she's sweet, Eric.
- I know.

-I happened to be going
into town, I ran into Mr. mauer.

-He told me
you were getting back today.

-And we thought we'd just drop by
-and bring you something
for your dinner.

-- How nice of you.
- Well, it'll save you

-all the bother of shopping while
you're trying to get settled.

-Then, why don't you stay
for dinner?

-- Oh, no, not tonight.
- Oh, no, no.

-We wouldn't think of that.
-- Oh, now, please say yes.
- We'd like for you to.

-- It would be like old times.
- All right.

-On the condition
that I do the cooking.

-You don't have to.
-You know,
i know that, but I'd love to.

-Well, there's Mickey.
-Excuse me, honey.
-Mickey.
-Oh, poor Mickey.
-He keeps this place up
like a shrine.

-Eric told me
how he loved marianne.

-Mickey's father
was a gardener here

-when marianne's mother
was alive.

-Mickey and marianne
grew up together here.

-Jenni, this is Mickey.
-How do you do, Mickey?
-I hope we'll be good friends.
-Well, Mickey?
-Thank you, Mickey.
-- Well, shall we all go inside?
- Lt's a good idea.

-Mickey, remember,
you promised me

-some of those rose cuttings.
-Nice seeing you again, Mickey.
-I'm going to have to get you
-down to the barbershop
one day very soon.

-Excuse us, Mickey.
-All right, that's done.
-Oh, god. Please be careful.
-Oh, Edward, now,
don't break your neck.

-You're doing great, reverend.
-- Don't worry.
- Good heavens.

-Honestly, the two of them
are just like children.

-That doesn't look too bad, Eric.
-Jenni, I hope you have more luck
in getting your husband to mind

-than I've had with mine.
-You know, you've got to admit,
-it does make
the room look better.

-It went very well, Tarzan.
-For penance, you can come
help me with dinner.

-Now, come on.
-Edward, you keep jenni company?
-Yes, dear.
-No, marianne, no.
-Send them away.
-No.
-Oh, she's so very nice, Eric.
-- Jenni?
- Yes.

-- Isn't she wonderful?
- Yes.

-She's not at all like marianne,
and I think that's for the best.

-You know, so many men,
when they lose a wife,

-they try so hard
to deny the loss,

-they marry someone
exactly like the first wife.

-It hardly seems fair
using the living

-to bring back the dead, does it?
-No, I suppose, it doesn't.
-We make a prison
for ourselves out of the past,

-at least, our sentimental wish
for our pasts.

-- Mrs. snow.
- Yes, dear.

-There's something I must
tell you and the reverend.

-Well, of course, Eric.
What is it?

-You see, jenni has not had
a very happy past.

-- Oh?
- And talking about it

-or about something that might
strongly remind her of it,

-she's very impressionable.
-Is there something wrong, Eric?
-No, not really.
-You see,
-she lost her parents
many years ago

-in a very tragic way,
-and talking
about unhappy past only...

-She's very impressionable.
-See, I want her
to be happy, Mrs. snow.

-Of course you do,
and so do we all.

-Now, how did she lose them?
-Well, I'm not prying, dear.
-It's just that Mr. snow and i
can help bette

-if we know something about it.
-They drowned in an accident.
-Jenni saw it all.
-Who's Mr. mauer?
-Mr. mauer?
Well, he's a lawyer in town.

-I thought no one knew
we were coming.

-You said you heard
from Mr. mauer?

-Well, Eric wrote him.
-He takes care of the estate
or what's left of it.

-Oh, that's right.
Eric has to see him tomorrow.

-Well, Eric's co-executor
of the estate,

-along with Mr. mauer.
-You see, marianne's death
was so sudden

-that, well,
all that was left to Eric

-was the house and these grounds.
-Mr. mauer told me
that Eric had found

-someone very sweet
and very kind,

-and with whom
he is very much in love.

-He didn't say enough.
-How did marianne die?
-Didn't Eric tell you?
-I think the subject's
rather painful to him.

-I don't like to make him
talk about it.

-Would you mind telling me?
I'd like to know.

-It was a rainy day.
-She and Mickey had been working
up there in the greenhouse.

-She left him to go back
to the house for a few minutes.

-The way we pieced it together
after the accident is that...

-While she was coming
down this path,

-apparently, it began
to rain very hard.

-She must have run along here.
-We don't know, of course,
what happened then.

-Perhaps she slipped on a leaf.
-They said her skull was smashed.
-It was thought
that she hit her head

-on the edge of the cement wall
where we're sitting,

-and she fell in there.
-She died in the water.
-That's where Eric found her
10 minutes later.

-Marianne.
-Marianne.
-Marianne.
-You said...
-You said, "Mickey, wait here.
-I'm going down to the house
forjust a minute.

-Wait here, Mickey," you said,
-and then you went away
in the rain...

-And you didn't come back
to play.

-Marianne.
-Why didn't you...?
-"Back then'?
-I don't forget that you and Eric
are coming for lunch

-the day after tomorrow.
-We'll do better than that.
-We'll come to church
on Sunday, as well.

-Oh, getting Eric to church
is like moving a mountain.

-He'll come.
-Come along, my dear,
it's getting late.

-Eric, thank you very much
-for bringing jenni
into our lives.

-Thank you for the dinner.
-It's a pleasure. Thank you.
-- Good night.
- Good night.

-Edward, did you know
that jenni's very wealthy?

-Well, yes, Mr. mauer
told me in town today.

-But she's not at all
like marianne.

-You know, she's so gentle
and timid as if...

-As if she were afraid
of something.

-I knew you'd like
my friends, clear.

-Hey, what's this, huh?
-Just happy, that's all.
-- Oh, come here.
- L'm so happy.

-Come on.
-How are the cots?
-Fine.
-What are you reading?
-Something Mrs. snow sent over.
-- Interesting?
- Uh-hmm.

-It's called
"beast in the jungle."

-It's all about a man
who waited all of his life

-for something great,
-wonderful to happen to him.
-He had only one good friend,
-it's a woman
in whom he confided.

-And she died.
-At her grave,
he suddenly realized

-that she was the great
wonderful thing

-that he'd waited for
all of his life.

-But it's too late then.
-And his memory is like...
-Beast in the jungle...
-Rise up out of the past...
-Overwhelming.
-Oh...
-Poor fellow.
-He doesn't know what he missed.
-Eric?
-Eric?
-Eric?
-Jennl
-what are you doing here?
-The window was blowing.
Where were you?

-I thought I heard
someone moving about.

-Now, what is it?
-What is that?
-Is that water?
-Lily pad?
-I don't think Mickey
looks for her in the pond.

-Jenni, now, stop it.
-I can't help it, Eric,
that bad feelings come back.

-I forbid you to talk about it.
-She looked like that, Eric.
-My mother looked like that.
-Oh, jenni, jenni.
-I can't help it, Eric.
-Darling, you're just
talking yourself

-into those same old fears.
-I've got to talk about it, Eric.
-I have to talk about it.
-I forbid you
to talk about it now.

-What?
-Just that with you beside me,
I'm alive again.

-I don't wanna be sick anymore.
-Honey, look.
-Now, you mustn't go on
thinking like this.

-Besides, how could
a very poorly-done self-portrait

-upset you so much?
-I know it's only my own fear.
-It's my own guilt
that I can't get away from.

-Eric, I'm sorry.
-Oh, I want you to listen to me,
and I want you to believe me.

-Now, you were sick once, yes,
but you were cured.

-Mickey caused this.
-You may as well know.
-He does look for marianne
night after night

-down by that pond.
-And he probably
comes here afterwards.

-I'm gonna speak to Mickey
in the morning.

-Now, don't you see
-how simply
it's all explained away?

-But if I also heard
a scream, Eric,

-before I went to the hospital,
-I was hearing things.
-I'm hearing them again.
-What did you hear?
-It was a high, strange scream.
-High, strange scream?
-Like a peacock's cry?
-What's that sound like?
-Come here.
-Sound like that?
-You see?
-It's all very, very real.
-I'm such a fool.
-You feeling better now?
-Yes.
-Shh, shh.
-Good night.
-Ah, we won't be bothered
with any of Mickey's

-nightly visits anymore.
-I've forbidden him
to come into the house.

-I was just nervous last night.
-I wish you wouldn't
take it out on Mickey.

-No, he's a child.
-He must be disciplined.
-I'd like him to feel
I'm his friend.

-Why don't you do
some gardening with him

-while I'm at town?
-If he sees you're interested,
-you'll win him over
quickly enough.

-Wait a minute.
-I made a list, staples mostly.
-Are you sure you don't
wanna come in with me?

-You'll get more done without me.
-I got to see about the lights,
the phone, the bank,

-and the warehouse people
about that furniture,

-you know, that couch
has just about broken my back.

-Don't forget to see Mr. mauer.
-I have to see him this evening.
-It's a bore,
but I'll have to see him.

-Will you be home in time
for dinner? I'll wait for you.

-Now, if I'm not,
don't you worry, darling.

-Getting out of mauer's clutches
-sometimes requires
an active guard.

-I love you.
-Hello, Mickey.
-Oh, look out.
-You almost cut him.
-He's a handsome one, isn't he?
-So cuddly and warm.
-When I was a little girl, I used
to wanna be a caterpillar.

-So, I was a very little girl.
-There you go.
-Marianne must've loved
the gardens.

-We'll keep them lovely
for her always.

-You know what I'd like
to do, Mickey?

-I'd like to pick
some of the nicest flowers

-and take them to her.
-Would you like that?
-Yes.
-Eric told me she was near here.
-Could you show me where?
-Is that all right, Mickey?
-I'm sure it was a great loss
to all of you, Mickey.

-She cries.
-Cries?
-- In the night.
- Dead people don't cry, Mickey.

-I heard her.
-Heard her?
-Mickey?
-I don't think he quite
expects she's gone.

-She cries.
-She cries in the night.
-I think he expects her
to show up

-one of these mornings.
-She died in the water.
-The base of her skull
was smashed.

-She didn't wanna die.
-She died in the water.
-Eric?
-Jenni?
-Jenni?
-Jenni? Honey?
-Honey?
-- Eric!
- Lt's all right, darling.

-It's all right, I'm right here.
-I'm right here.
-Just lie back, that's right,
just lie back.

-It's all right.
-When you found me,
what else was there?

-What do you mean what else?
-Askull?
-Jenni?
-I know there was no skull.
-Of course not.
-Mickey says
marianne cries at night.

-Why, that childish, stupid...
-Don't blame him.
-We both heard the peacocks.
-He, out of his love
for marianne,

-which is the cry to be from her.
-I, out of my sickness.
-Now, darling.
-We've been all through that
nonsense last night.

-Don't you see?
-I've never imagined
seeing these things before.

-To just stand there and see it,
if it turned out to be not...

-Eric...
-I want you to call
Dr. Anne tomorrow in New York.

-I want you to take me back.
-No, jenni.
-Now, it may sound selfish,
-but don't you see,
having you to love,

-I'm happy, too.
-I don't wanna lose that.
-Now, in the morning,
Mr. snow will be here,

-and we'll tell him...
-He's very comforting.
-And I think he'll agree with me.
-About what?
-I think it's Mickey.
-You see, he hated me
from the first.

-Marianne was his friend,
and while I married her,

-he thought I was taking her
away from him.

-And now that she's dead,
-taken away from him forever,
-I suppose
in that childish mind of his,

-I'm responsible for that.
-And now, because you're my wife
and in marianne's house,

-he hates you, too.
-I don't think
Mickey is responsible.

-He's not quick enough
or clever enough.

-And who?
-Myself.
-It's all in my own mind.
-We do need
somebody else, darling.

-We need somebody
outside of the confusions

-of our love for each other.
-Now, the reverend snow
will be here in the morning.

-It was in there.
-Well, this much is real anyway.
-Look here, jenni.
-You see, this is how you gouged
your hand.

-And you say,
you threw the skull down here

-where Eric is looking?
-Yeah.
-Did you find anything, Eric?
-Nothing yet.
-Surely, jenni,
you must agree with me

-that anything
as fragile as a skull

-would've been smashed to bits
down there.

-And Eric has found nothing,
-and to assume that the skull
would move of its own

-all the way from there
to the driveway door...

-Come now, jenni,
there's no reason for that.

-Don't you see?
I agree with you.

-Did Eric tell you
i spent over a yea

-in the sanitarium'?
-Well, Eric told Mrs. snow
-that you are
very impressionable,

-but that's all.
-I know lots of people
needing rest go to sanitariums.

-This wasn't quite
that kind of sanitarium.

-You see...
-I grew up loving my father
and hating my mother.

-Well, she never knew it.
-Something I kept to myself.
-She was very beautiful,
-very gay, like her.
-Very much.
-And I knew she resented
that I was not more like her.

-I used to lie awake at night
and wish she were dead.

-Well, that isn't very unusual.
-I understand many children
go through such a period.

-I was no longer a child.
-One day...
-I got my wish.
-They were both drowned.
-I could still hear her scream.
-I was all alone
on the little beach.

-And all I could see
was the overturned boat

-on the top of the waves.
-And I kept trying to reach them,
-and the waves kept
throwing me back.

-And then...
-I could hear her cries no more.
-And then, hours later,
-the men came and searched
for the bodies.

-They were never found.
-And that's when these
bad feelings started,

-this feeling
that if I really wanted to,

-I could've saved them,
but I didn't.

-That I really killed them.
-No, jenni, you tried.
-You tried your very best.
-I didn't.
-But thinking, and begging,
-and praying couldn't make
this feeling go away.

-That's when they took me
to the hospital.

-But they told me I was cured.
-Jennl
-they told me I was cured.
-Mickey!
-Mickey!
-All right, you go on.
-I'll be there in time for lunch.
-But where do you think
he's gone off to, Eric?

-Who knows about Mickey.
-He might be hiding.
-You looked at marianne's grave?
-Mickey?
-Mickey!
-Mickey?
-Mickey!
-Mickey!
-Mickey!
-Eric, did you find him?
-No.
-Where's jenni?
-She's with Mrs. snow
on the patio.

-Eric...
-I think I should tell you
that jenni has confided in me

-about the sanitarium.
-Oh, did your wife know?
-I told that jenni
was impressionable,

-but not that...
-Well, I haven't said a word
to her.

-Mr. snow,
-you can do both jenni
and me a great favo

-by forgetting
she ever told you that.

-But, Eric,
if it helps explain...

-It explains nothing.
-If I were you, Eric,
I'd take her away.

-If she's so impressionable,
-and that house
frightens her so much,

-why subject her to it?
-Look, I can't do a thing
like that.

-It'd be the worst thing for her.
-Mr. snow, it would be admitting
she was sick again.

-I want her to be happy.
-We'll stay here.
-Perhaps you know best, Eric.
-See, I've got a simple
and old-fashioned

-piece of philosophy.
-The only cure for her fear
is to teach her she's loved,

-I mean, really loved,
-and I love her so much.
-God bless you for that, Eric.
-She's a very fortunate woman
-having someone like you
to care for her.

-Be night soon.
-Oh, jenni, jenni.
-I'm sorry.
-Darling, you've got to believe
it will not happen again...

-9v9 l...
-Mickey!
-Mickey!
-Eric.
-Eric!
-- Eric, stop it!
- No, all right.

-What are you trying to do
with that skull?

-Eric, stop it,
it wasn't his fault.

-- Where did you get it?
- Leave him alone.

-I'll take care of this, jenni.
-Now, I know
you never liked me, Mickey.

-I know you're doing it
to get us to leave here.

-Idiotic attempt to scare us,
as if we were children.

-It was you, wasn't it?
-Wasn't it?
-No, not me, not me.
-Ah, get out of here!
Get out of here!

-I wish you'd apologize to him.
-You know as well as I do
it's not his fault.

-It's all in my own mind.
-Jenni, I'm gonna do something,
and you're gonna help me do it.

-- What's that?
- That portrait upstairs...

-Reminds you of your mother.
-Yeah.
-You were fine until you saw it.
-Now it has you all preoccupied
with memories of the past.

-We're gonna burn it.
-That's precious to you, Eric.
-The picture means nothing to me.
-I want you to be happy.
-We can't be until this fear
is out of our lives.

-All right, jenni.
-Go on, jenni.
-Let's go back in now.
-It's only the peacocks.
-Fire's almost out.
-Yes.
-We can't let those ashes
stand overnight.

-The brush in this hill
is a regular tinderbox.

-You wanna help me?
-All right, you feeling better?
-It's as if I destroyed her
with my own hands.

-She'll come back, Eric.
-She'll come back.
-Darling, if you go on talking
that way,

-you destroy the whole purpose.
-Now, the thing is out
of the house, and it's over.

-You just give it half a chance,
and you'll begin to forget it.

-And if you'll just spread
those ashes out a little for me,

-I'll get the water to it.
-That's it.
-Eric!
-Eric!
-What is it, darling?
-That skull!
-It's the skull!
-Darling, there's no skull there.
-There's no skull there, darling.
-There is no skull there, jenni,
darling.

-There's no skull there.
-There's no skull.
-We'll be able to catch
a plane tonight?

-When we get into town,
i will call Mr. mauer.

-He'll arrange a midnight plane.
-I thought there'd be more time.
-Time for so many
wonderful things.

-It's gonna be all right.
-Of course.
-It's just me.
-It's gonna be all right.
-Good evening, my dear.
-Mrs. snow's hens thought
you might like some fresh eggs

-for your breakfast
in the morning.

-Hello, Eric.
-This is a surprise.
-Those hens labored mightily,
as you can see.

-Fine, I'll take them.
-If you'll excuse me, dear.
-Of course.
-What is it, Eric?
-I've got to take jenni away.
-That hospital she was in before.
-It happened again?
-I thought it would help her
if we got rid of that portrait.

-- You know the one.
- Yes.

-And we burned it.
-She saw a skull in the ashes.
-You were there?
-I saw nothing, of course.
-Of course.
-And I thought it was Mickey.
-But when I was there myself,
and I saw her...

-Mr. snow, there's something
I've never told you,

-I've never told anybody,
-but when jenni was put away
in that hospital,

-she tried to do away
with herself.

-I'm terribly afraid.
-You think she might
try it again?

-I know she will.
-Unless I get her back
to that hospital.

-When are you going?
-Tonight.
-We shall miss you.
-Mrs. snow and I have grown
very fond of jenni.

-Yes, and she of you.
-I don't suppose you'll be
coming back here again, Eric?

-No.
-Nev er.
-I'll miss him and his wife.
-He's very kind.
-Yes.
-And I said good-bye to him
just now.

-He tried to talk me out
of what I saw.

-How?
-He said he felt the skull
was real.

-He's gonna bring
the some men in the morning

-to search the estate.
-Where?
-Everywhere.
-He's just talking,
trying to be kind.

-I suppose.
-I'll go upstairs and pack.
-You wanna come with me?
-I'll be up in a minute.
-Mickey!
-Mickey!
-Mickey!
-All right.
-Where's the skull at?
You saw me put it in the pond.

-- You must have. Where is it?
- I don't know.

-- I don't know.
- Don't lie to me.

-Don't lie to me.
Where is it?

-- I don't know.
- Tell me the truth.

-Who took it?
-Tell me, tell me.
-- Tell me.
- I didn't take it.

-- I didn't take it.
- Who?

-- Who?
- Not me, not me.

-Who?
-Marianne, marianne, took it.
-Marianne took it.
-You and your marianne.
-All right!
-Oh, Edward,
in the name of heaven.

-Mickey, where did you find this?
-Pond.
-Well, who put it there?
-- He did.
- Eric?

-He did.
-Then, there was a skull.
-But Eric said that he didn't
see it when jenni saw it.

-I know.
-Oh, but why would Eric
lie like that?

-Mickey, those other times
with the skull,

-did you do it?
-No.
-Mickey, you've never lied
to me before.

-Lying is a sin,
you understand that?

-You must not lie to me now.
-Did you do it, Mickey,
all those other times?

-No.
-I simply do not understand that.
-If it wasn't Mickey...
-And it wasn't her imagination...
-But why would Eric
do such a thing?

-I don't know, i just don't know.
-Well, what do you think
we should do about it?

-We're going back there
to that house.

-All right.
-Mickey?
-Mickey?
-Eric and I are leaving, Mickey.
-I'd like to say good-bye.
-I'd like to leave
as your friend, Mickey.

-Mickey?
-Mickey?
-Eric! Eric!
-Eric!
-Eric!
-Jenni?
-Jennfl
-what happened?
-Jennl
-jenni, are you all right?
-Oh, jenni?
-Eric...
-Eric tried...
-- Shh, oh, don't, don't.
- Where is Eric?

-I don't know.
-- I don't know.
- I'll find him.

-It's all right, Edward.
Now, be careful.

-Shh.
-It's all right, darling.
-Oh, it's all right.
-Oh, it's all right.
-All right, come on.
-Eric?
-Eric?
-Please answer me.
-Eric?
-Eric?
-Eric, where are you?
-Eric?
-Eric?
-Eric.
-Why did he do it?
-Your money.
-The question is now,
did marianne die in an accident?

-I suppose we'll never know.
-They'd gone.
-Rest.