Mask, The / Eyes of Hell, The (1961)

Mask, The / Eyes of Hell, The (1961)

“I’ve tried to stop, but I can’t — I don’t want to!”

Shortly after his client (Martin Lavut) commits suicide, Dr. Barnes (Paul Stevens) receives an ancient mask in the mail — one Lavut complained had been tormenting him. Soon Stevens — despite warnings from his kind girlfriend (Claudette Nivens) — is unable to resist the lure of wearing the mask himself, and begins to hallucinate incredibly frightening scenes.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Horror Films
  • Mind Control and Hypnosis

The storyline of this low-budget Canadian horror film is fairly straightforward, and clearly designed to center around the 3D hallucination sequences, in which characters are enjoined to “Put on the mask!” and audience members to put on their “Miracle Movie Fright Mask” — a.k.a. 3D glasses. These sequences are remarkably well-done given the low budget, and effectively freaky; I can imagine accidentally catching a glimpse of this on TV as a kid and being scared for days or weeks afterwards. With that said, there really isn’t much more to the narrative than waiting for the next moment we hear “Put on the mask!” According to Joe Dante in his Trailers From Hell review, it did reasonably well at the box office, especially when it was re-released (newly entitled “The Eyes of Hell”) as a midnight drive-thru flick — which makes complete sense.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Creepy, well-filmed 3D sequences (created by Slavko Vorkapich)

Must See?
No, though the 3D sequences are worth a look. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.


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