The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake
|The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Edward L. Cahn|
|Produced by||Robert Kent|
|Written by||Orville H. Hampton|
|Music by||Paul Dunlap|
|Edited by||Edward Mann|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake is a 1959 American black-and-white horror film written by Orville H. Hampton and directed by Edward L. Cahn, one of a series of films they made in the late 1950s for producer Robert E. Kent on contract for distribution by United Artists.
Jonathan Drake (Eduard Franz), a university professor specializing in the occult, is summoned to the home of his brother, Kenneth Drake (Paul Cavanagh), when a family curse threatens Kenneth's life. Jonathan Drake arrives too late to save his brother from a violent death and subsequent decapitation before his burial. The curse is the work of Dr. Emil Zurich (Henry Daniell), a Swiss agent who was a member of Jonathan Drake's ancestor's exploration party two hundred years previously. Zurich was captured, thus forcing Captain Drake to lead a rescue party into the jungle: Drake's party massacred the tribe (save for the tribal witch doctor Zutai (Paul Wexler), only to find that Zurich has been beheaded. Zutai, now a zombie with his mouth sewn shut in the manner of a shrunken head, is assisting the miraculously resurrected Zurich in his pursuit for revenge and supernatural destiny against Captain Drake's male descendants. Zurich and Zutai lay their plans to murder and behead Jonathan Drake, which will end the curse on the Drake family.
- Henry Daniell as Dr. Emil Zurich
- Valerie French as Alison Drake
- Grant Richards as Lt. Rowan
- Lumsden Hare as Rogers
- Frank Gerstle as Coulter
- Paul Wexler as Zutai
- Howard Wendell as Dr. Bradford
- Eduard Franz as Jonathan Drake
- Paul Cavanagh as Kenneth Drake
- Jonathan Hole as the Funeral Director
Leonard Maltin gave the film two out of four describing the film as "Acceptable horror fare involving centuries-old voodoo curse upon family and contemporary scientist who puts an end to the weird goings-on." In The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, pop academic Peter Dendle sees Zurich as a metaphor for the "awkward blend of native Indian and European" and Zutai as "a walking parable of the silenced and subservient New World slave". Wheeler Winston Dixon, in A History of Horror, said, "What sets Four Skulls apart is Cahn's absolute seriousness in the film's execution."
- FILMLAND EVENTS: MGM Purchases New Novel of Chamales Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 30 Dec 1958: B9.
- "The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake(1959)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2017-10-01.
- Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6.
- Dixon, Wheeler W. (2010). A History of Horror. Rutgers University Press. pp. 67–68. ISBN 9780813547954.
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