The Mask

83 minutes 1961

A psychiatrist comes into possession of an ancient South American skull mask that, when donned, calls forth the wearer’s most wicked impulses. This low-budget Canadian horror movie, picked up for distribution by Warner Bros. in 1961, clunks along for 83 minutes, but about 15 of them are taken up by wildly imaginative and ghoulish 3-D dream sequences designed by the noted Hollywood montage specialist Slavko Vorkapich. “Put on the mask!” commands a mystical voice on the soundtrack; viewers with the requisite anaglyph (red-blue) glasses can enjoy snakes leaping from the eye sockets of a skull,masked characters breathing fire, a sacrificial altar crumbling into a sinkhole to hell, and more. Vorkapich was known for the dynamism of his montage, and his sequences here have the hurtling quality of a bad dream. Julian Roffman directed. –J.R. Jones

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