Skull: The Mask (2020) poster

Skull: The Mask (2020)


(Skull: A Mascara de Anhanga)

Brazil. 2020.


Directors – Armando Fonseca & Kapel Furman, Created/Special Effects Design by Kapel Furman, Photography – Andre Sigwalt, Visual Effects – Konstantinos Koutsoliotas, Special Effects Supervisor – Michelle Rodrigues, Makeup Effects – Jessica Monge, Production Design – Lize Borba. Production Company – Infravermelho Filmes/Fantaspoa Producoes/Tristan Aronovich/Boccato Productions.


Natallia Rodrigues (Beatriz Obdias), Ivo Muller (Tack Walder), Wilton Andrade (Manco Ramirez), Ricardo Galli (Father Vasco Magno), Rurik Jr (Skull), Guta Ruiz (Galvani Volta), Greta Antoine (Lilah Domingues), Wagner D’Avilla (Carlos Rodrigues), Eduardo Semerjian (Heer Schadel), Elder Fraga (Investigator Oswaldo)s


A skull that is believed to be of pre-Colombian origin is unearthed at an archaeological site. It is brought back to Sao Paulo by Galvani Volta on behalf of the businessman Tack Walder. Galvani’s girlfriend Lilah opens the box and conducts a rite, bringing the skull, an ancient Anhanga demon, to life. The following day, police detective Beatriz Obdias investigates as Galvani and Lilah’s bodies are found with their hearts torn out. As the crime scene cleaners get to work, the skull reappears and takes over the body of one of the men, forming into a mask around his head. As the skull-possessed killer conducts a trail of slaughter across the city, Manco Ramirez, who has been hereditarily entrusted to defeat the skull, pleads with the priest Vasco Magno to return the items he needs to fight the demon.

Brazilian genre cinema never much makes its way onto the desk here at Moria. I have been steadily making my way through the collected oeuvre of Jose Mojica Marin, the director/star of films like At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964), Tonight I’ll Possess Your Corpse (1967) and others, but there is not much more beyond that. And so when Skull: The Mask turned up, I watched with some fascination. (For a more detailed listing of Brazilian fantastic cinema see Brazilian Cinema).

Masks have had assorted prominence in various genre films. They are essential items worn by slasher boogeymen like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. There have been works like The Mask (1961), Oni Baba (1964), Violent Shit: The Movie (2015) and You Might Be the Killer (2018) about people possessed by masks. And then there were oddities like The Mask (1994) with Jim Carrey gaining gonzo superhero abilities after putting on a mask. If anything, Skull: The Mask with its combination skull and mask resembles a remake of Amicus’s The Skull (1965) in which Peter Cushing became possessed and driven to kill by the skull of the Marquis de Sade, albeit a version worked over with modern horror sensibilities.

Rurik Jr as Skull in Skull: The Mask (2020)
Rurik Jr as Skull

Skull: The Mask is okay. Once Rurik Jr becomes possessed by the mask, he essentially becomes a variant on Jason Voorhees – a masked and hulking maniac slaughtering his way across the city, proving unstoppable against all brought against him. There’s a predestined monster hunter who can defeat him – the native mythology the film draws on never gets any more complex than that. There are a number of very gory deaths, the best of these being a supremely gory sequence when Skull slaughters his way through the patrons of a nightclub.

Skull: The Mask was the second feature film for Brazilian director Armando Fonseca who had previously made the tv series Cinelab (2014-7) where he and others create makeup effects with very little resources and then the vigilante film Uptake Fear (2015). Co-director Kapel Furman is primarily a makeup effects artist and co-directed Cinelab and Uptake Fear, as well as solo directed the vigilante film Black Gunpowder (2011).

Trailer here

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