The Mask hit theaters in the summer of 1994, launching Jim Carrey so far into the spotlight that the bulb singed his skin (probably). The comic book adaptation performed much better than the modest expectations of New Line Cinema, but fans were close to receiving a completely different type of film.
Discussing the movie recently, director Chuck Russell stated that The Mask was “originally conceived as a horror film” and that New Line Cinema initially “wanted a new kind of Freddy movie.” Carrey’s character would “put on the mask and kill people. And have one-liners.” That most definitely sounds like one of horror’s most beloved slashers.
The director also recalled the first time that he saw Carrey, saying that “he wasn’t really desired as a leading man at the time.” Both Matthew Broderick and Nic Cage were on Russell’s list as possible leads. However, Russell watched Jim perform his stand-up on stage and described him as someone who “looked like a hallucination live on stage.”
Can you imagine The Mask as a horror film? Stanley Ipkiss donning the iconic green mask and terrorizing victims. It sounds… kind of badass, actually.
Somebody stop me.
Alas, Chuck Russell fought for his vision and The Mask became the comedy that launched Jim Carrey into super-stardom. I guess I can’t complain too much about what could have been. Would you like to see the classic comedy as a horror flick? A HORROR FRANCHISE, perhaps? Pitch your horror plot in the comments and let’s P, A, R, T, Y? Because we gotta!