director Julian Roffman
Wow. Just. Wow. And Wow again.
The Mask is amazing.
I guess I should have known that I was watching the film from which the image that graced the cover of the 1980’s alt-film bible, Incredibly Strange Films.
The Mask is considered to be the first Canadian horror film. And what a doozy it is.
An ancient skull-like mask, emanating from some South or Central American civilization, when donned induces whacked out hallucinations (formerly in 3-D, so you’d have to don your own 3-D glasses mask), visions of skulls and human sacrifice. I don’t know how many people were doing acid in Canada in 1961, but it’s pretty easy to read the scary skull trips as drug-induced nightmares, brimming with the addictions.
Apparently Julian Roffman made only one other film. This one, besides its fantastical weirdness has a slightly more hard to pinpoint character in the main parts of the story. Professional actors and film direction, but something slightly different about the mood or pacing or style, giving it an odd, interesting tone. The only thing at all that the film reminded me of was the also brilliant Herk Harvey Carnival of Souls (1962).
Amazing film. I almost wanted to watch it again immediately after seeing it. I can’t remember the last time I felt like that.