Monday, June 3, 2013

THE MASK (1961) movie review

Mask, The (aka Eyes from Hell) (1961) d. Roffman, Julian (Canada)

After his patient commits suicide, psychiatrist Paul Stevens attempts to uncover the hypnotic, strange powers the titular object has upon the wearer, and unsurprisingly falls under its spell himself. Commanded (frequently) to “Put on the mask!” (also the cue for viewers to don their 3D glasses), Stevens is transported in a hallucinatory realm of horror imagery, with snakes, firebolts and sexy, muslin-wearing females lurching toward him and the audience in blue-and-red tinted stereovision.

Possibly best known as the cover illustration for Re:Search’s Incredibly Strange Films (at least that's where I first became aware of it - great book, by the way), this psychedelic 3D chiller about an Aztec ritual mask lives in a middle ground between standard potboiler and experimental film.

While a bit silly at times, there is a fair amount of thrill-n-chills entertainment to be found here, particularly as the addictive nature of the mask exerts itself over the poor headshrinker, tempting him to bump off his colleagues and loved ones.  Often recognized as the first Canadian horror film, and definitely worth a look.

Not to be confused with the 1994 Jim Carrey comic vehicle. Obviously.

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