We all know The Crimson Ghost, the 1940s serial from whence the Misfits took their mascot, but that wasn’t Hollywood’s first crimson-themed ghoul picture. Above is a still from 1922’s The Crimson Skull, produced by Norman Studios (a pioneering hub in Jacksonville, Florida that made films starring black casts for black audiences). When cattle rustlers invade his ranch, a cowhand tries to run them out by becoming a skeleton-suited avenger.
The Crimson Skull is currently lost to history. Until it’s uncovered, we won’t know if critics at the time were accurate in decrying the movie’s shocking depictions of gunplay, robbery, and (as one Pennsylvania censor put it) “successful defiance of authorities throughout.”
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