The Mask (1961)

The Mask

IMDB Entry – The Mask 

Now that the 2018 Festival is under way it’s time for some craziness. The Mask is the first Canadian Horror film ever made and it’s a doozy. The movie has some  absolutely far out sequences, particularly the parts of The Mask that were filmed in 3-D. In order to get the most mind blowing experience possible, I cranked up the House of Stuff strobe light and had it blinking during the entire picture. Combined with the bottle of Zinfandel from Big White House Winery , it was the perfect way to watch a great low budget film.

This is not the Jim Carey Cameron Diaz blockbuster version of The Mask. That movie was inspired by the comic book created by Mike Richardson and Mark Badger for Dark Horse Comics. I wouldn’t be surprised if those guys saw this film when they were younger and came up with ideas to make the story more commercially appealing. The basic concept of someone putting on a mask and taking on a new personality isn’t exactly unique so it’s also possible they never saw this film.


The Mask


A psychiatrist receives an ancient mask that’s a tribal relic. It’s supposed to have a curse on it. He can’t resist trying it on, especially when a booming voice keeps commanding “Put the mask on now!”.  This also the signal to put on the 3-D glasses. The viewer is then treated to a trip through one of the most psychedelic environments in the history of film. Strange looking people, fog, flashing lights, weird noises and a floating stone skull dominate the imagery. After the first experience the Dr. is hooked and will do anything to wear it again, including murder.

The Mask seems to be a film that warns the audience about the dangers of becoming addicted to weirdness.  In 1961, the psychedelic sixties hadn’t quite caught on yet so the picture may have been perceived as more Salvador Dali inspired than it is today.  The Mask is one of the few movies that I saw for the first time on VHS that I’d call one of my favorites. There’s nothing like a theater showing to get the full impact of a great movie, unless it’s seeing it as an impressionable adolescent. The Mask is one of the exceptions to my rule.



The Mask


Insidious: The Last Key (2018)

Insidious: The Last Key

IMDB Entry – Insidious: The Last Key

It’s time to kick off the 2018 Halloween Film Festival and there’s no better horror film currently at the theaters than Insidious: The Last Key.  I got my ass out the door early so I was able to attend a private screening of the film at the beautiful Cinema West in Livermore, home of the reclining seat. Before the film began they ran a preview for the upcoming monsterama Rampage and it looks great. I’m also seeing trailers for Slender Man and Winchester so it’s safe to say 2018 looks like another great year for ghosts and monsters. The House of Stuff team will be going all out to bring you the best in new and used films as well as a fine selection a crappers all season long.

Insidious: The Last Key is the latest entry in the James Wan Universe. That’s right Mr. Wan has enough hot properties on celluloid to deserve his own filmverse alongside the Marvel Universe, the James Bond Universe and the Universal Monster Universe. In case you’ve been in a coma all century,  as writer, director or producer James Wan has been responsible for most of the modern resurgence in the horror market. He’s the man behind the Saw, Conjuring, Annabelle and Insideous franchises. To top it all off … he’s writing the screenplay for Aquaman. In years to come he’ll be recognized as one of the great creative forces in chillers.


Insidious: The Last Key


Insidious: The Last Key continues the adventures of Elise Rainer played by Lin Shaye. Ms. Rainer was introduced in the first Insidious movie in a supporting role. She’s became the central character with Insidious 3 and retains the position this time around. Lin Shaye is a really refreshing choice for a lead actress. She older and not at all glamorous looking. She’s not spunky, witty or charming either. She just a normal looking senior with a believable personality who happens to be able to see spirits. Shaye brings the character to life and pretty much carries the film.

A man places a call to the Elise to ask for help with ghosts in his home. It’s the house where Elise grew up so she get the Ghostbustlovers or whatever these guys call themselves and head for New Mexico. Insidious: The Last Key has a few surprises and plenty of shocks. I was particularly impressed with the clarity of the dark shots. Hats off to whoever did the lighting. I’m not sure where this film fits in the series but I’m guessing it’s between 1 and 2.  I don’t think I’m ready to pull out the previous 3 movies to verify, but if you do , let me know.  Either way, it worth a trip to the to the show.



Insidious: The Last Key


More Magnificence

The House of Stuff team is busy getting ready for the new season.  We’ve got a great line up of chilling movies scheduled.  The new season will begin when the theaters clear out their Christmas movies and a major new horror film opens.  Meanwhile here’s another set of films from prior seasons and Merry Christmas!

The Somewhat Magnificent Seven

The House of Stuff Halloween Film Festival for 2018 will start in a few weeks or so.  Meanwhile I’ve noticed that I’m getting new subscribers all the time.  As a thank you for your patronage, here’s 7 of my favorite movies from past festivals in a convenient new format.  Just click on the poster and you’ll open a new window to the post.


2017 Halloween Film Festival Awards and Summary

2017 Halloween


2017 Halloween Film Festival Awards and Summary

The 2017 festival was a big success, screening an even 100 films of which 50 were festival first timers.

I like to include movies from every decade and I think this year’s crop accomplished that quite nicely.

Decade   Number of Films Shown
1920s         5
1930s         9
1940s         6
1950s         9
1960s       10
1970s        11
1980s         8
1990s         9
2000s       10
2010s       24


Best First Festival Screening Movie 

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

The restored Blu-Ray version brings this nearly forgotten gem back to life.  Highlighted by engrossing performances from Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and a suspenseful story.


Honorable Mention 

The Lodger (1927)

Kwaidan (1964)

Jessabelle (2014)

Split (2016)

The Mummy (2017)


2017 did in fact turn out to be a monster filled year. New entries from the King Kong, Alien, Stephen King, and Mummy franchises filled the theaters.  I was able to find 50 movies that I hadn’t seen before, with 24 of them made during the current decade.  I wasn’t too surprised to end up with 3 recent chillers on the Honorable Mention list as it started out as 6 before I trimmed the list.

I hope everyone enjoyed this years movies.  I’m going to take a short break to get caught up on non-horror movies.  I’ve been studying screenwriting and I’m going to take some time to work on The House Of Stuff Movie … starting with a better title.


2017 Halloween