The Masks - Recap

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On the eve of Mardi Gras, dying millionaire Jason Foster tells his doctor that he has to stay alive until at least midnight, as he has one special thing left to do before he passes on.

Soon thereafter, Foster's greedy relatives arrive for a visit. They include foster's daughter Emily, a whining hypochondriac; son-in-law Wilfred, whose only passion in life is business; grandson Wilfred, Jr., a dumb, stupid clod who has a disposition toward torturing animals, and granddaughter Paula, who is obsessed with her own vanity. The relatives are there to supposedly visit Foster and celebrate Mardi Gras, but Foster knows their primary reason is to see him off into the next world and thereby inherit his fortune.

Foster tells his family that he has special Mardi Gras plans for them; he has had special masks made for each of them by a Cajun friend of his. Foster explains that each mask is the antithesis of the wearer's self perceived personality. Emliy's mask is that of a sniveling coward, which Foster says is the direct opposite of Emily's personality of raw courage. Wilfred's mask is one of a cold, dispassionate automation, which Foster claims is the opposite of Wilfred's self described genial affability. Junior's mask is that of a mindless slob, which belies Junior's natural grace and refinement. Paula's mask is of an old, withered crone, which is the opposite of Paula's perfect beauty. Finally, Foster's mask will be the face of death, because he is still alive. Foster closes the deal by telling the group that they must wear their masks until midnight, and any person who refuses will be automatically disinherited. The family grudgingly agrees to the request.

Several hours later, the relatives start to complain and demand that they take off their masks. Foster is unimpressed. Midnight comes and Jason begins feeling deathly ill. He tells the family that the moment they are waiting for, his death, is now at hand. He wishes them well and dies. The heirs can now celebrate, or so they think. When they remove the masks, they find to their horror that their faces have permanently taken on the gruesome characteristics of the masks. Foster's last mortal act has literally brought the family's inner personalities to the surface and exposed them for what they really are. They are very wealthy now, but are horribly disfigured for the rest of their lives.

When the doctor removes Foster's death mask, Foster has the look of a contented man who died peacefully, and pain free.