As pertaining to motion pictures, describes any film that exploits, in its marketing or promotion, the use of stereoscopic (3-dimensional) filmmaking techniques.

This blog is my notepad as I research a nonfiction book spotlighting 3-D genre films of the last century. While the book will focus primarily on films from the 60's, 70's and 80's this blog has no restrictions.

All articles on this blog are copyright 2010-13 of its author,
Jason Pichonsky, unless otherwise stated.

Images are used for information purposes and remain the rights of their respective owners.

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The Mask turns 50 this month and to mark the occasion here at the depthsploitation blog we're dedicating the entire month of October to the film. A fitting month since Canadian-made / American-distributed film premiered in New York on the 27th of October in 1961 just before Halloween.

The Mask has the auspicious distinction of being the first authentic horror film to come out of Canada. It's also the first Canadian feature film to utilize 3-D technology (advertised as Depth Dimension) and the first Canadian film to receive wide distribution in the U.S. (thanks to Warner Brothers).

For those of you unfamiliar with the film, lets get a few things clear. This Mask does not star either Cher or Eric Roberts, although deformity does creep into its dream imagery, and there are no wild Tex Avery / Jim Carrey moments, although that 80's version does share a number of similarities. No this is The Mask a Canadian exploitation flick, directed by the late Julian Roffman. At the centre of the film is an ancient tribal mask which legend claims to draw out the latent evil in its wearer and amplify it. When psychiatrist Dr. Allan Barnes (Paul Stevens) receives the mask in the mail from a recently deceased former patient, Raiden, (driven to suicide by the power of the mask), he does what any professional would, he puts the mask on. Dr. Barnes begins to have visions of another world, “beyond the subconscious”, and soon murderous tendencies begin to take hold as he becomes increasingly addicted to the mask's beckoning.

It's the dream-like hallucination sequences that have sustained The Mask's cult following since its release. These sequences are presented in 3-D, while the bulk of the narrative of the film is presented in 2-D black and white. Each time Dr. Barnes dares to enter this alternate world, the voice of Raiden beckons to both Barnes and the audience to “put the mask on, now”, a novel 3-D gimmick that would be repeated in numerous anaglyph films to follow. (The Flesh and Blood Show (1972), Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)  and Spy Kids 3-D (2003),  to name a few.)

So join us as at depthsploitation this month as we mark the 50th anniversary of Julian Roffman's The Mask. We've got some guest writers lined up and a few rare treats for fans of the film.

Paul Stevens gets Claudette Nevins to try on The Mask.


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