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Case Number 15148: Small Claims Court

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The Mask (1961)

MVD Visual // 1961 // 77 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 3rd, 2008

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson once wore a cursed mask for Halloween. He was peeing blood for weeks.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of The Mask 3D (1961) (Blu-ray) (published November 27th, 2015), The Mask (Blu-Ray) (published January 8th, 2009), and The Mask: Platinum Edition (published May 17th, 2005) are also available.

The Charge

3-D terror that crawls up your spine!

The Case

A gifted archaeologist named Michael is desperate for help. Ever since he brought back a wacky-looking mask from his latest gig, he's been blacking out and having nightmarish hallucinations where he's killing people. He takes his situation to a renowned psychiatrist who of course promptly laughs him out of his office. Unable to get a grip, Michael blows his brains out, but not before packaging up the accursed mask and Fed Exing (or the equivalent courier) it to the psychiatrist. The mysterious package, as well as Michael's pleading suicide note, compels the doctor to try the mask on for himself.

And BAMMO he's thrust into a surreal world of the occult that happens to be transmitted in bodacious three dimensions!!! Well, not really bodacious, but we'll get to that later. After three separate trips to this 3D nightmare realms, the psychiatrist loses his marbles and begins harassing people and generally creeping everyone the @#$% out. It's up to a boring detective and a boring woman to stop him before he and the mask end up killing someone.

Put out by the studio Cheezy Flicks, The Mask lives up to the moniker—it's cheesy, certainly. But what's the most tedious cheese out there? Swiss? Or maybe provolone. Whichever cheese you consider the most tedious, feel free and plug it in here. The plot is threadbare and shallow in its attempt to "shock." This cursed mask angle is more suitable for a third-tier Tales from the Crypt episode. In between the hallucinations you'll have to endure some aggressively monotonous storytelling, delivered with acting panache that would rival a toadstool's.

Look, the only aspect of The Mask that will somehow move units is the 3-D. Like I said, there are three separate 3-D sequences, each of which are laden with wacko imagery like flying skulls and slow-moving zombies and some dude with a fake eye hanging out of his face and fireballs and rituals and foliage. Before these segments kick in some reverb voiceover screams PUT THE MASK ON! PUT THE MASK ON! PUT THE MASK ON! This is, of course, the subtle hint to slap on the 3-D glasses (one pair is included with the DVD). So does it work? Yes…ish. It's an uneven experience for sure but there are some fun 3-D times to have. About half the stuff pops out nicely, you know, hands reaching out from the screen and such, but the rest of it—which is not very 3-D at all—fails to impress. Maybe it was just me and my astigmatism, but watching this movie with 3-D glasses gave me a killer headache.

Iffy black and white full screen and a tinny stereo audio mix are joined by a set of trailers for more "Cheezy" B&W release—and that's your DVD.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: MVD Visual
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 77 Minutes
Release Year: 1961
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Classic
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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