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The Mask aka 'Face of Fire' or 'Eyes of Hell' (3D and 2D) [Blu-ray]
(Julian Roffman, 1961)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Beaver-Champion Attractions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 45,062,345,757 bytes
Feature Size: 24,677,738,496 bytes
Video Bitrate: 21.52 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 24th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1635 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1635 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1558 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1558 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1559 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1559
kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
•Special Features: 3-D sequences provided in both stereoscopic (3-D television required) and anaglyph formats (red/cyan glasses not included)
• Newly restored Electro-Magic Sound (optional 5.1 Surround during 3-D sequences)
• Audio commentary by 3-D film historian Jason Pichonsky
• Julian Roffman: The Man Behind the Mask documentary (21:57)
• Four trailers and TV spots (original trailer - 2:48, Re-Issue - 1:49, TV-Spot 1- 0:51, TV-Spot 2- 0:28)
• 3-D Setup Video (for monitor calibration 1:12 3-D Sequence - 16:07)
• One Night in
Hell (in 2-D or 3-D) (7:24)
Description: After the shocking death of a disturbed
patient, psychiatrist Dr. Allan Barnes (Paul Stevens) comes
into possession of the ancient tribal mask that supposedly
drove the young man to his doom. When Barnes puts on the
mask, he is assailed with nightmarish visions of monsters,
occultists, and ritual torture. Believing that the mask has
opened a portal to the deepest recesses of his mind, the
doctor continues to explore this terrifying new psychic
world even as the mask reveals a latent violence in Barnes'
nature that threatens those closest to him.
Also known as Eyes of Hell, The Mask, is an inexpensive Canadian horror film is distinguished by a gimmick which relies upon full-audience cooperation. Anticipating Jim Carrey by 30 years, Paul Stevens comes into possession of an ancient mask which harbors Strange Powers. When Stevens places the mask over his face, the line "Put your mask on now" is supposed to cue the audience to don their 3-D glasses -- whereupon both Stevens and the audience experience a series of hallucinatory images. The major difference is that Stevens' hallucinations give him the urge to kill; it is hoped that the audience will not follow suit. In the early 1980s, a restored stereoscopic version of The Eyes of Hell was released to television in tandem with a pair of 3-D Three Stooges shorts, Spooks (1953) and Pardon My Backfire (1953).Excerpt from MRQE located HERE A psychiatrist has a patient who believes he has been lured into committing murder by an evil mask. When the patient commits suicide, the psychiatrist receives the mask in the mail. He decides to try it on for himself...
Let's get right down to the main attraction of this movie; when it was shown in theaters, the audience were supposed to put on their 3D glasses whenever they heard the phrase "Put the mask on NOW!", and they would be treated to some of the trippiest 3-D horror sequences they've ever seen. I have to give the movie credit; these sequences are truly bizarre, full of unsettling and grotesque images, and with a nightmarish stream-of-consciousness technique. If the movie was to be judged on these sequences alone, it would have been great. Excerpt from SciFiFilm.org located HERE
The 3-D effects in The Mask come across unusually well
when shown on television, making it one of the better examples of
anaglyphic 3-D video available.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, this Kino Lorber Blu-ray package offers both the 3D and 2D (Standard) versions of the film, The Mask. We will only review the 2D version here.
NOTE: When viewed on a compatible 3-D monitor and 3-D Blu-ray player set-up, the menu offers an option for both 3-D and 2-D playback, but when this disc is viewed on a regular 2-D monitor and 2-D blu-ray player, the 3-D version button is visible but not accessible -- the "Play Movie" option works only with the 2-D version -- there is nothing wrong with your disc, the specialized encoding merely prevents the 3-D version being incorrectly displayed on a 2-D screen.
Described by Kino as "The Blu-ray edition presents the film in stereoscopic 3-D from the original 35mm elements (3-D television, player and glasses required). The DVD edition presents the film in the anaglyph format, and includes the "Magic Mystic Mask", a replica of the 3-D glasses provided to viewers during the original theatrical release. Both include the newly restored Electro-Magic Sound (optional 5.1 Surround during 3-D sequences)"
As told to me by Robert Furmanek (in email): "Like many
independently produced films, THE MASK has not been well
cared for over the years. After producer/director Julian
Roffman sold the rights to 3D Video Corporation in July
1982, the film changed hands a dozen times. Each subsequent
owner cared less about the property as a motion picture and
owned it strictly as an asset. At one point, the rights were
held by a company whose primary business was the placement
of advertising in airport terminals!
I concur with Bob - the image quality is very strong - the print may show some occasional, frame specific, weakness (marks in the credits etc.) but the density is impressive providing great contrast and black levels. There is frequent depth with tight detail. I thought this BD gave an exceptional presentation. The captures can speak for themselves!
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Advertised as "newly restored Electro-Magic Sound (optional 5.1 Surround during 3-D sequences)" which is cool with a few surprising separations. There is also an option for the original mono - via a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1558 kbps It exports depth through the soundtrack in the more bizarre sequences with effects limited to the budget.The score is by Louis Applebaum - who had done mostly short documentaries and it adds some haunting atmosphere. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
There is a lot of love in this release with the supplements
going the extra mile. We get an informative audio commentary by 3-D film
historian Jason Pichonsky who fills in many details of the process and
production history. There is a 22-minute documentary entitled Julian
Roffman: The Man Behind the Mask acting as a kind of Making of...
for the film with some depth on the man behind the movie. There are four
trailers and TV spots (original trailer - 2:48, Re-Issue - 1:49, TV-Spot
1- 0:51, TV-Spot 2- 0:28) and a 3-D Setup Video for monitor
calibration running juts over a minute plus a 16-minute 3-D Sequence
that is fun. The 7.5 minute One Night in Hell (gets the option of
2-D or 3-D) and This short includes exclusive new music from Brian May &
the Czech National Symphony Orchestra and has a Dolby Atmos track*.
There are also films by visual consultant Slavko Vorkapich; The
14-minute 9413: The Life and Death of a Hollywood Extra, Abstract Experiment in Kodachrome running only a couple of minutes
and a Montage of 6 sequences running a total of 11-minutes. These are
all, inventive and cool to see. The Steelbook includes a signed Philip
Ridley art card!
November 5th, 2014
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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