The Mask (1961 film)

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The Mask (aka Eyes of Hell)
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJulian Roffman
Produced byJulian Roffman
Nat Taylor
Written byFranklin Delessert
Sandy Haver
Frank Taubes
Slavko Vorkapich
StarringPaul Stevens
Claudette Nevins
Bill Walker
Music byLouis Applebaum
CinematographyHerbert S. Alpert
Edited byStephen Timar
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • November 1, 1961 (1961-11-01) (U.S.)
Running time
83 minutes

The Mask (re-released as Eyes of Hell) is a 1961 Canadian surrealist 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.


  • Paul Stevens as Doctor Allan Barnes
  • Bill Walker as Lieutenant Martin
  • Anne Collings as Miss Goodrich
  • Martin Lavut as Michael Radin
  • Leo Leyden as Doctor Soames


3D Sequences[edit]

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

The 3D sequences were designed by montage expert Slavko Vorkapich, and feature an array of distinctly psychedelic visuals, some of which are mildly gruesome. "It sends you into this weird surrealistic world," enthused Cramps singer and horror aficionado Lux Interior, "with dry ice all over the floor, zombies roaming about and girls being sacrificed."[1]


Home media[edit]

The Mask was released on VHS in 1990 by Rhino Home Video (catalog number RNVD1968) as part of their Midnight Madness series of films hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.[2] The Mask was released on DVD by Cheezy Flicks on September 30, 2008.[3] In 2015, the film was restored by Toronto Film Festival and copyright holders 3-D Film Archive for theatrical and 3-D Blu-ray/DVD release from Kino Lorber.[4]


The Mask received mostly negative reviews from critics upon its release. Time Out was harshly critical of the film, calling it "totally banal", and criticized the film's use of 3D as being " tacky in the extreme".[5] TV Guide awarded the film 1/5 stars, writing, "Despite the unique audience participation gimmick, this is a fairly uninspired horror film. The plot is full of gaping holes that simply can't be covered, and a lot of loose ends are never explained at the climax. There's lots of gore in the 3-D sequences, but there's no suspenseful buildup."[6] On his website Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings, Dave Sindelar criticized the film's "weak" script, and middle section. However, Sidelar did commend the film's 3D sequences as being "truly bizarre, full of unsettling and grotesque images, and with a nightmarish stream-of-consciousness technique", even though they didn't make sense when compared to the overall plot.[7]


  1. ^ Mörat (20 September 1997). "Splattermania!". Kerrang!. p. 54.
  2. ^ "The Mask (1961)". VHSCollector. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  3. ^ "The Mask (1961) - Julian Roffman". AllMovie. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  4. ^ "The Mask 3D - Kino Lorber Theatrical". Kino Kino Lorber. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  5. ^ "The Mask, directed by Julian Roffman". Time Time Out London. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  6. ^ "The Mask - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV TV Guide. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  7. ^ Sindelar, Dave. "The Mask (1961)". Dave Sindelar. Retrieved 11 July 2018.

External links[edit]