I saw this movie on TV many years ago. As I was much younger, and as I recall, up to my eyebrows in "refreshments", I thought it was a great movie. So when I saw that it was finally on DVD, I HAD to get a copy. It was, at the time, a fairly original idea. And as my old friend Greg Horn (see review above) said, its obvious where the idea of the comic book and Jim Carry movie originated.
Well, despite the flaws in the movie, I certainly got my money's worth. The flaws were absolutely hilarious. The director must have been on some strong medication - probably to offset the tiny budget and third rate actors he was forced to work with. I lost count of how many times the script referred to it being night (i.e. the psychiatrist driving his car and picking up his secretary, whom he was banging behind his fiance's back, in broad daylight, parking his car, and telling her to "Look at the stars!"). The fight scene near the end between the shrink driven mad by the mask and the dour, half-baked looking police detective was hilarious; especially the pathetic parody of a karate chop to the shoulder that finally subdued the hapless lunatic. There were too many holes in the plot to keep track of without taking notes. And EVERYBODY was smoking cigarettes like there was no tomorrow!
But it was the dream sequences and accompanying music that really made the film. The sequences were directed by Slavko Vorkapich; and you knew where the loin's share of the film's budget went. These scenes were quite well done. There is a feeling of fear and nightmarish surrealism in them that one wouldn't expect from the rest of the film. The effects utilized the limited technology of the day with a deft artistry. The 3D element (BTW, the DVD comes with a free pair of 3D glasses; a nice bonus) didn't hit me all that strong. Maybe it was me. But despite this, the dream sequences made the film.
I was also interested in the idea the film presented of exploring the depths of the human mind. Such ideas were rare for 50's grade B (or C) horror flicks. But The Mask wrestled with the idea in a way that was heroic in light of the limits of budget and talent. Somewhere, someone may have been trying to get an idea across and make a statement.
There were also bonus previews of various lost films, serials, and advertisements that were just as hilarious as the bulk of the film.
I gave this four starts partly because of the brilliant creativity of the dream sequences and partly because of the fact that the DVD as a whole was an eloquent relic of a bygone era. The demented innocence of the beginning of a headlong plunge into a spiritual emptiness that has since engulfed the whole of humanity. Yet, looking at it cannot help but bring a smile to our faces. Personally, I'm not the type to long for the "good old days". Nor am I much interested in current popular trends - which will doubtless go the way of the dinosaur and films like The Mask. My own "now" is far too interesting and fulfilling to live in such fantasy worlds. But an occasional visit to the "Old Neighborhood" is always refreshing, enjoyable, and puts things in a delightful perspective.