When I was a teenager, I owned a fantastic book called INCREDIBLY STRANGE FILMS. I was enamored with all of the titles discussed therein, most of which were nearly impossible for a girl in a small town in the mid 90s to locate and view. But none enchanted me quite so much as the film that was on the book’s cover, 1961s THE MASK. The image was of a woman lounging seductively while a giant mosaic skull loomed overhead. It was not until years later that I was finally able to see the epic film this image comes from, and I’m thrilled to say THE MASK is finally getting a snazzy 3D Blu-ray release courtesy of Kino Lorber. Now….PUT ON YOUR MASK!
Directed by Julian Roffman, THE MASK was Canada’s first feature length horror film. A psychiatrist acquires a weird tribal mask which when worn transports him to a surreal landscape filled with seductive ladies, bizarre architecture, psychedelic light shows, and endless skulls and creepy imagery. As he becomes more obsessed with the mask, the visions become more terrifying and violent, seemingly driving him insane. The mask speaks to him, commanding him in a booming voice to “PUT ON THE MASK”, which was also a cue for the theatre viewers to put on their 3D glasses.
The cinematography during the dream sequences is both enchanting and haunting. Designed by legendary montage expert Slavo Vorkapich, the imagery is a brilliantly woven nightmare display. These sequences also feature a surreal early electronic score which was marketed as “Electro Magic Sound”.
Releasing on November 24th, the Kino Lorber Blu-ray release is stuffed with magnificent extras. Check out this killer list of bonus goodies below:
THE MASK Blu-ray Special Features:
-Audio Commentary by film historian Jason Pichonsky
-“Julian Roffman: The Man Behind THE MASK”, a 20-minute documentary
-Four trailers and TV spots
-3-D sequences in anaglyph (red/cyan) format (3-D glasses not included)
-3-D calibration guide (anaglyph)
-The films of Slavko Vorkapich:
-“The Life and Death of 9413, a Hollywood Extra” (1928)
-Montage Sequences (1928-1937)
-“Abstract Experiment in Kodachrome”
-Also includes the new short film, “One Night in Hell”, directed by James Hall and Jason Jameson, with music by Brian May
Like many low budget indie horrors from decades passed, the original negative for THE MASK was not treated well over the years and was eventually lost. But Kino was able to fully restore the film from a 35mm print, focusing their efforts not just the imagery, but also making sure the 3D elements are spot on. Be sure to pick up THE MASK, releasing to 3D Blu-ray for the first time on November 24th!