What’s in a Mask?


With The Strangers, which I have not seen, still on the top summer horror charts, I can’t help but wonder what it is about masks, mannekins, and dolls that make for such terrifying figures? Scary dolls like Chucky are impossibly hokey but there is a long history of masked horrors from The Phantom of the Opera to Friday the 13th (now a veritable franchise), and even Hannibal. The mask hides not only identity but also the true nature and often gruesome reality of these characters.

As Oscar Wilde said, “Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth”. (Or murder you, or rob a bank).

The Strangers‘ trailers suggest a very long ride to a climactic undisclosed ending with an armed three against an innocent two. It smells like another torture horror film in the vein of Saw, Hostel, and The Chain Saw Massacre remake.

Stacie Ponder, whose Final Girl blog is rich with horror reviews and resources, wonders what’s with these masks in her article on AMCTV.

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