Friday, October 31, 2014

The Mask (1961)

Allegedly Canada's first horror film, 1961s The Mask is a curious entry into the world of both fright films and 3D features. The plot involves a psychiatrist who becomes the owner of an extremely old tribal mask after a former patient sends it to him before committing suicide. When he tries the mask on, it propels the psychiatrist into a bizarre realm that quickly morphs from purely strange to increasingly disturbing with nightmare like visions. These visions soon begin to take their toll on the psychiatrist, altering his temperament and driving him towards madness.

I first became aware of this cinematic oddity when a still from the film was used on the cover of 1986s highly recommended RE/Search Incredibly Strange Films book. It wasn't long after that I finally got the chance to check out the film when it was broadcast on cable television. Most of the film is shot in standard black and white, but there are portions when a deeply reverbed narrator will remind you to "Put the mask on, NOW!" as all footage within the mask world is presented in 3D. A unique gimmick, the 3D viewers were not the conventional glasses, but instead a cardboard mask somewhat similar to the one in the film.

the trailer

the feature

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