WARNING: 3-D Effects may vary among individuals. Viewer discretion is advised! Do not watch alone! Explore the supernatural horror and suspense of The Mask, the first and only Canadian 3-D feature. Evil drives all who wa... more »re The Mask to madness... and mu« less
"Been waiting for this one to get to DVD. My review will be updated when I get the disc, but for now I'll comment on the movie itself and not the disc quality.
FWIW this was also known as Eyes of Hell, it is a 1961 low-budget Canadian horror film produced in 3-D by Warner Bros.
This is a really great B horror flick. One of those Friday night Shock Theater gems for sure. 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 enhances the strangeness of the 3-D scenes.
The movie is well done considering it's low budget, the story concerns a young scientist who obtains a mysterious ancient tribal mask. Whenever he puts on the mask he experiences weird dream-like visions which become increasingly disturbing and violent. The visions begin to alter his personality, and eventually drive him insane! Wee, what great Friday night fun! Pretty obvious where the later comic book and Jim Carry movie plot line came from.
UPDATE: As far as the disc quality, it's good, very watchable for a budget film, don't expect a flawless presentation as I'm pretty sure no master exists that would be better than this disc. Highly recommended."
PUT THE MASK ON NOW!!!
Dawoud Kringle | New York City | 10/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie on TV many years ago. As I was much younger, and as I recall, up to my eyebrows in "refreshments", I thought it was a great movie. So when I saw that it was finally on DVD, I HAD to get a copy. It was, at the time, a fairly original idea. And as my old friend Greg Horn (see review above) said, its obvious where the idea of the comic book and Jim Carry movie originated.
Well, despite the flaws in the movie, I certainly got my money's worth. The flaws were absolutely hilarious. The director must have been on some strong medication - probably to offset the tiny budget and third rate actors he was forced to work with. I lost count of how many times the script referred to it being night (i.e. the psychiatrist driving his car and picking up his secretary, whom he was banging behind his fiance's back, in broad daylight, parking his car, and telling her to "Look at the stars!"). The fight scene near the end between the shrink driven mad by the mask and the dour, half-baked looking police detective was hilarious; especially the pathetic parody of a karate chop to the shoulder that finally subdued the hapless lunatic. There were too many holes in the plot to keep track of without taking notes. And EVERYBODY was smoking cigarettes like there was no tomorrow!
But it was the dream sequences and accompanying music that really made the film. The sequences were directed by Slavko Vorkapich; and you knew where the loin's share of the film's budget went. These scenes were quite well done. There is a feeling of fear and nightmarish surrealism in them that one wouldn't expect from the rest of the film. The effects utilized the limited technology of the day with a deft artistry. The 3D element (BTW, the DVD comes with a free pair of 3D glasses; a nice bonus) didn't hit me all that strong. Maybe it was me. But despite this, the dream sequences made the film.
I was also interested in the idea the film presented of exploring the depths of the human mind. Such ideas were rare for 50's grade B (or C) horror flicks. But The Mask wrestled with the idea in a way that was heroic in light of the limits of budget and talent. Somewhere, someone may have been trying to get an idea across and make a statement.
There were also bonus previews of various lost films, serials, and advertisements that were just as hilarious as the bulk of the film.
I gave this four starts partly because of the brilliant creativity of the dream sequences and partly because of the fact that the DVD as a whole was an eloquent relic of a bygone era. The demented innocence of the beginning of a headlong plunge into a spiritual emptiness that has since engulfed the whole of humanity. Yet, looking at it cannot help but bring a smile to our faces. Personally, I'm not the type to long for the "good old days". Nor am I much interested in current popular trends - which will doubtless go the way of the dinosaur and films like The Mask. My own "now" is far too interesting and fulfilling to live in such fantasy worlds. But an occasional visit to the "Old Neighborhood" is always refreshing, enjoyable, and puts things in a delightful perspective. "
About the DVD
W. Smith | 10/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The DVD ships with just one pair (cheap skates!) of generic red/blue 3-D glasses with a white cardboard frame.
As far as extras, the DVD menu offers chapter stops and an approximately 15 minute sequence of drive-in movie ads and random film trailers that are a fun pre-show (although a "Cheezy Movies" logo watermark appears here and there during the ads).
The film itself is presented in a poor-to-fair transfer that could easily have come from a videotape source (and in fact there is the occasional horizontal noise line one would associate with tape). A disappointment, but watchable. When it comes to old, obscure B-movies on DVD, I've seen worse.
While I've never felt the 2-color 3-D process works very well on televisions (even in newer DVDs like "Sharkboy & Lavagirl") the 3-D segments here were better than I'd expected. Backgrounds recede, while actors and other effects protrude, and there is the occasional "stick in your face" effect. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the 3-D.
I've Been Looking for This One for Years.
E. Cabrera | St. Louis. MO. | 10/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie at the RKO theater in the Bronx back in 1961. I was 11 years old. I remember being so scared I left the theater with 3D glasses in hand, before the movie ended. I sort of forgot about this movie until I saw Jim Carry's campy version with the same name and similar plot. For years I tried to find this original 1961 version which I just found on Amazon. I was anxious to see how scary it really was, now almost 50 years later. The movie: For an early 1960's horror flick, I found it pretty good. I can see how this would scare a young kid as some of the psychedelic sequences were rather gruesome, but mild by today's standards. In addition, I'm sure the 3D effect added to my horror back then. The DVD comes with 3D glasses, but I didn't seem to get the full 3D effect watching it on TV - maybe they work better in a dark movie theater. I found the quality of the DVD to be fairly decent. BTW, the DVD includes advertisements and previews of serials from the 60's. One of the serials is about Jesse James trying to clean up his bad name. There was something familiar about Jesse that kept bugging me. The way he rode his horse in that crouched leaning forward position...and that voice...then it hit me - it's Clayton Moore! So if you ever wanted to see the Lone Ranger without the mask (excuse the pun), here he is... In summary, I found the movie enjoyable. At 6'4'' and 310 lbs. I was able to sit through the entire movie this time. However, I did store it in my locked basement freezer - just in case... "
The Big Box
Michael Osborn | Seattle, WA USA | 04/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Mask 3D I saw this movie in the theater in 1961. It was an experience that I never forgot. I had seen 3D movies before, but this one was different not just because it was so modern in style. I mean it was about common normal looking people instead of glamorous Hollywood-ized stars, more like TV shows than a movie. But the 3D sequences were unforgettable. As you probably already know only small parts of the movie are in 3D, but those parts are completely different from the main movie because they are psychedelic dream fantasies that appear only after the movie character puts on his mask (and you put on yours). It made a lasting impression in my little ten-year-old brain and I longed over the decades to see in again. This DVD presents the movie just as I remembered it. It seems even more like an old TV show now than it did then, like an Outer Limits episode, (the one where the man has a robot hand he talks to, for example.) My DVD came with only one pair of plain white cardboard 3D glasses and were folded wrong with the red lens on the right which then turns the 3D effect inside out making things that are supposed to pop out, recede instead. And that brings me to my main gripe with 3D movies in general, even those being made today. People have misunderstood the 3D effect from the very first movies. Look at the antique stereoscopes or even the 3D Viewmaster slides and you will notice that the approach to using 3D was 180 degrees from every 3D movie made in that 3D is actually a BIG BOX that you look into, and despite all efforts and propagandized exclamations to the contrary, the audience never has the sensation that things are popping out of the screen. Many people believe that they had to duck whenever the big stick was pointed at the camera because they were told to, but if they really look at the picture they will see that the big stick doesn't pop out but rather, the background recedes toward the horizon and the attempt just creates a fuzzy two-headed thing floating about the screen. This `Comin' at Ya approach is somewhat clownish in effect unless handled carefully. Just look at movies that were filmed in 3D but later released in 2D, like `It Came from Outer Space'. Exaggerated angles of various gestures and props seem like those used in the silent films 100 years ago. There was one other thing. All these years I remembered the movie ending with an explanation that the mask, although 500 years old, had a narcotic in it that was injected into the wearer with little barbs whenever it was put on over the head. This DVD does not have any ending like that at all and I wonder if all this time I was superimposing that ending from another movie onto this one, or was it edited off the end of this DVD version?"