Archive of films Masque of Madness (Notes on Film 06-B, Monologue 02) / A Masque of Madness (Notes on Film 06-B, Monologue 02)

2013, 80 min

Section: Imagina
Year: 2014

A playful yet respectful lesson in film history: Boris Karloff played not only Dr. Frankenstein’s monster but also nearly 200 other roles – from demons to dignified gentlemen. Old movies have begun to reminisce among themselves to reveal surprising and entertaining connections in the actor’s career.


The latest entry in the writer-director series Notes on Film follows the career of Boris Karloff, the iconic actor who worked with Douglas Sirk and Peter Bogdanovich, but who also appeared in second-rate TV shows. Pfaffenbichler ignores distinctions between high and low art, drawing Karloff’s movies into thematically related yet entirely unexpected interactions that, in the final result, interpret film history more innovatively than period encyclopedias. The actor’s career is more than simply the story of an individual, it also documents technological development and the changing approach to various topics and taboos. The picture makes no attempt to provide an exhaustive exegesis of the artist’s work, instead highlighting points of commonality as it jumps haphazardly through time. On another level it adopts a loving stance toward film itself, a medium capable of synthesizing the lofty and the macabre. The director concisely refers to his ingenious compilation movie as an "homage to a great actor and also a weird film history lesson.”

About the director

Norbert Pfaffenbichler

Norbert Pfaffenbichler (b. 1967, Steyr, Austria) is a Viennese artist, filmmaker, and curator. In 1994-2001 he took a media master class at the Academy of Applied Arts. He works with film and video and produces installations, sculptures, photographs, collages, and drawings. In his series Notes on Film he examines the motion picture world and recasts film history with respect to our fascination for power, iconic faces, and aesthetic violence. He has presented his works at all kinds of shows worldwide, including the Sónar festival in Barcelona, the film festivals in Rotterdam and Toronto, and the Diagonale in Graz. His previous compilation, A Messenger from the Shadows, in which he focuses on the work of actor Lon Chaney, screened at KVIFF in 2013.


Neubaugasse 45/13, 1070, Vienna
Tel: +43 152 609 900
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film


Section: Imagina
Director: Norbert Pfaffenbichler
Music: Johann Sebastian Bach
Editor: Norbert Pfaffenbichler
Producer: Norbert Pfaffenbichler
Cast: Boris Karloff
Contact: sixpackfilm


Brigitta Burger-Utzer

Distributor, Sales Agent


© 2024 FILM SERVIS FESTIVAL KARLOVY VARY, a.s. [email protected] +420 221 411 011 All contacts

AccommodationsAccommodations Festival Pass, tickets, reservationsFestival Pass, tickets
HistoryHistory ContactsContacts
Archive of filmsArchive of films KVIFF TalksKVIFF Talks
Industry Days Programme 2021Industry Days Programme KVIFF Eastern PromisesKVIFF Eastern Promises
VideogalleryVideogallery PhotogalleryPhotogallery
ContactsContacts Posters of the 57th KV IFFPosters of the 57th KV IFF
HistoryHistory Festival GuideFestival Guide