The Mask (1961 film)

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The Mask (aka Eyes of Hell)
Directed by Julian Roffman
Produced by Julian Roffman
Nat Taylor
Written by Franklin Delessert
Sandy Haver
Frank Taubes
Slavko Vorkapich
Starring Paul Stevens
Claudette Nevins
Bill Walker
Music by Louis Applebaum
Cinematography Herbert S. Alpert
Edited by Stephen Timar
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
November 1, 1961 (U.S.)
Running time
83 min.
Country Canada
Language English

The Mask (re-released as Eyes of Hell) is a 1961 Canadian horror film produced in 3-D by Warner Bros. It was directed by Julian Roffman, and stars Paul Stevens, Claudette Nevins, and Bill Walker. It was shot in Toronto, Ontario and is the first Canadian horror film.

Plot summary[edit]

The story concerns a psychiatrist, Dr. Allen Barnes (Stevens), who obtains a mysterious ancient tribal mask. Whenever he puts on the mask, Barnes experiences dream-like visions which become increasingly disturbing and violent. The visions begin to alter Barnes' personality, and eventually drive him insane.

"Put the mask on, NOW!"[edit]

The Mask is notable chiefly for its surreal use of 3-D cinematography.

Most of the story is presented in conventional black-and-white. However, whenever Dr. Barnes is about to put on the mask, Barnes' voice (heavily processed with reverb) urges the viewer, "Put the mask on, NOW!" This was the cue for theatergoers to put on the red/green 3-D glasses (shaped like masks) which they were given upon entering the theater. The terrifying visions experienced by Dr. Barnes were then presented in anaglyphic 3-D.

The 3-D sequences, four in all, last only a few minutes each. They were designed by montage expert Slavko Vorkapich, and feature an array of distinctively psychedelic visuals, some of which are mildly gruesome. A crude electronic music score (billed as "Electro Magic Sound" in publicity materials) enhances the strangeness of the 3-D scenes.

Video release[edit]

The 3-D effects in The Mask come across unusually well when shown on television, making it one of the better examples of anaglyphic 3-D video available.

The Mask was frequently exhibited in 3-D on US broadcast and cable TV in the 1980s. It has also been issued in 3-D on both VHS and LaserDisc home video formats. In 2008, it was released on DVD by Cheezy Flicks Ent.

External links[edit]