What does the villain’s mask mean in The Black Telephone?


There is nothing better in a horror movie than a good villain. Although the story is good and there are intense scares, having an imposing antagonist is one of the keys for the film to stay in the minds of the viewers. the black phone It perfectly fulfills that aspect, since “The Raptor”, played by Ethan Hawke, attracted attention since the first trailer was published. His looks are intimidating, and combined with Hawke’s performance, we’re looking at one of the most terrifying villains in the genre, but… what does his mask mean in the black phone?

WARNING: The following note contains possible spoilers of the tape.

The black phone mask

Let’s start with something that few know: The film is based on a story written by Joe Hill, son of Stephen King. Obviously, the adaptation presents significant changes to expand the plot to a feature film. One of those changes involves the skin of “The Raptor”. The mask worn by the character causes several very tense scenes, and its director, Scott Derrickson, spoke about the inspiration behind creating it (via):

“It was my concept. I think he didn’t have any mask in the original story. In the script, he only has two masks: a devil with a smile, and another with a frown. During pre-production I thought that the mask would serve to sell the film, it had to be iconic. It was the aspect in which I worked the most during that stage”.

However, the choice of Ethan Hawke changed the director’s plans, because having an actor of that level all the time behind a mask was not the best option to exploit his talent:

“I had the idea to split it (the mask), and it was exciting to me that now I would have three masks: the one with the smile, the one with the frown and one without a mouth. I thought the character would choose which one to use based on his emotional reasons and the fear she wanted to inflict on Finney. I made a reference to The Man Who Laughsthe film in black and white”.

After this creative process, the sketches and ideas went to five different companies, one of them belonging to Tom Savini, a legend in the world of special effects for horror films. The final work presents three completely exaggerated expressions: joy, despair and absolute nothingness. If you pay attention during the movie, you can see that they also function as a very disturbing representation of the masks of comedy and tragedy.

Of course, masks like these benefited from the tremendous interpretation of Hawke, who saw them as a fundamental part of achieving his interpretation (via):

“This man is broken, malevolent and terrible. I, as an actor, need to know his reasons: What makes him laugh? Why does he do “X” and not “Y”? Even with the mask you can’t see what he looks like, you’re looking for any piece of information you can find. It wasn’t until I saw her (the mask), that I knew how to play the role. I found it absolutely fascinating that there were eight different versions of her and we could choose different ones for each scene. The mask made it real for me.”

What do you think? Do you think the mask the black phone will become a reference for the next Halloween? The tape is now available in all theaters in Mexico.

The entry What does the villain’s mask mean in The Black Telephone? was first published in Cine PREMIERE.



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