If there is one lesson that I learnt here today, it’s that a terrible cover does not a bad movie make. Masks probably has one of the worst covers I’ve seen in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I like a naked lady as much as the next person, but the terrible photoshop and mishmashed placement of stills makes Masks seem like a cheap, low budget flick with no talent involved. Things couldn’t be further from the truth, though, as Masks is a fantastic slasher flick that sprinkles in some fine Giallo, topping it off with a soundtrack to die for.
DISCS: 3 (1 Blu-ray, 1 DVD, 1 CD)
RUN-TIME: 109 min
ASPECT RATIO: 2.35:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround/Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
SUBTITLES: English, Spanish
PRODUCTION DATE: 2011
RELEASE DATE: Sept 13, 2016
In her quest for fame, drama student Stella gets caught in the grip of a mysterious and deadly stage school.
Stella longs to be an actress. When she is accepted to a private school in Berlin, her dream seems to come true. But there is something wrong with the “Matteusz Gdula-Institute”. In the seventies, the school´s founder, Matteusz Gdula, practiced a learning style that promised to let students shine by driving them to their mental limits. In the end his method was banned, as mysterious deaths occurred during his lessons and Gdula committed suicide.At night, Stella hears eerie sounds in the corridors of the school. A fellow student disappears. Stella suspects that behind the closed door to the abandoned, forbidden wing of the school lurks a bloody secret.
A secret that kills the students…
The plot for Masks will seem familiar to most fans of Dario Argento, as Suspiria comes across as Masks biggest inspiration. Susen Ermich plays the gorgeous Stella, who is working hard to become an actress. She hasn’t been having the best luck when it comes to auditions lately and her only hope is the Matteusz Gdula-Institute. The school is renowned, but mainly due to the terrible history of the founder, Matteusz Gdula. His methods of teaching went to the extremes and a lot of people ended up dying because of it.
Stella isn’t met with open arms and warm hearts (especially when it comes to Lorenza Izzo lookalike Sonali Wiedenhöfer), but she does befriend Cecile (Julita Witt), who talks about a certain secret method that can have your talent reaching heights many actors strive to meet but never do. Stella agrees to undertake the method, but she is in for more than she bargained for.
Masks connection to the Giallo genre is obvious from the start, as the film doesn’t take long to bring in the gloved killer stalking their victims. It makes perfect sense for a German film to capture the vibe associated with Giallo, as most Italian Giallos had large German connections. Masks‘ director, Andreas Marschall, ups his game and gives the flick its own stylistic vibe that does echo Dario Argento in terms of visuals, but never comes across as pandering or ripping the maestro off. The film very much has its own look and feel. The only time the movie felt slightly off was the unusual, albeit fun Saw inspired ending, which left a few questions unanswered.
Masks does take its time getting to the main thread points, which does cause a few pacing issues, but Susen Ermich’s talent makes watching all these scenes worthwhile. Another bonus point goes to the wonderful shots of gore, with some truly outstanding practical effects. They will have even the most hardened gorehound grimacing.
Another bonus point goes to the wonderful shots of gore, with some truly outstanding practical effects. They will have even the most hardened gorehound grimacing.
It would be a criminal offence not to mention the amazing soundtrack by Sebastian Levermann. The guitar-heavy score, which echoes other Giallo greats like Goblin, is a treat in and of itself and Reel Gore Releasing knows this, hence the included soundtrack on the Blu-ray release.
Masks’ video quality has only a few issues to note. There are a couple instances of where the overall quality of the picture seemed rather soft and fuzzy, but thankfully, those scenes were few and far between. As for the German spoken audio soundtrack, Sebastian Levermann’s score has plenty of room to breath and dialogue comes through loud and clear. Included are English and Spanish subtitles.
Special features include some Behind the Scene footage of the making of Masks and it is nice to see a team working together with no issues. It’s also nice to see the use of heavy fog during filming coming back into play (the normal for older slasher films). Next are some deleted scenes, but you can see why they were deleted, as some would hurt the pacing of the film. Finishing things up is a music video by ORDEN OGAN, a trailer and a photo gallery.
Also included with the Limited Edition is a nice 24-page booklet, featuring an interview with Director Andreas Marschall; the aforementioned soundtrack and the first 1000 presses have a collector card included. Things would be perfect if only the cover art was better.
- EXCLUSIVE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK CD
- BEHIND THE SCENES
- DELETED SCENES
- MUSIC VIDEO CLIP
- TRAILER & SLIDESHOW
- 24-page Booklet
Masks means to impress gore fans, Giallo fans and slasher fans and it succeeds on all fronts. The Limited Edition Blu-ray is the perfect way to experience the film, so with that said, this release comes highly recommended.