The Mask (1961 film)

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The Mask (aka Eyes of Hell)
Theatrical film poster
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 date
  • November 1, 1961 (1961-11-01) (U.S.)
Running time
83 minutes
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.


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.


A "Magic Mystic Mask", showing both front and back, which was handed out to theater goers to view the movie "The Mask" (1961).

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 urges the viewer to, "Put the mask on, NOW!" This was the cue for theatre-goers to don the 3-D glasses (originally shaped like masks) which they were given upon entering the theatre. The terrifying visions experienced by Dr. Barnes were then presented in anaglyphic 3-D.

The 3-D sequences, three in all, last 14.65 minutes (879 s). They were designed by montage expert Slavko Vorkapich, and feature an array of distinctively psychedelic visuals, some of which are mildly gruesome. A pioneering 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 2015, "The Mask" was restored by TIFF and copyright holders 3-D Film Archive for theatrical and 3-D Blu-ray/DVD release from Kino Lorber. The 3-D segments have been mastered for the first time from original 35mm left/right elements. The stereoscopic quality is vastly superior to all previous anaglyphic presentations.

Soundtrack release[edit]

The original soundtrack to the film was released for the first time on 'Ondes Positives Recordings' in December 2015. The release features the 3-D 'Mask' sequences from the film, along with a re-score of these sequences by the band 'Larva'.

External links[edit]