6.4/10
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34 user 24 critic

Diary of a Madman (1963)

Approved | | Horror | 6 March 1963 (USA)
An evil spirit leaves the body of his human host, a criminal on death-row, and sneaks into the body of his next human host, a French magistrate.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Magistrate Simon Cordier
...
Odette Mallotte
Chris Warfield ...
Paul Duclasse
Elaine Devry ...
Jeanne D'Arville
...
Pierre
Stephen Roberts ...
Police Captain Robert Rennedon
Lewis Martin ...
Father Raymonde
Mary Adams ...
Louise
Edward Colmans ...
Andre D'Arville
Nelson Olmsted ...
Dr. Borman
Harvey Stephens ...
Louis Girot
...
Martin
Wayne Collier ...
Arguing Cafe Couple
Gloria Clark ...
Arguing Cafe Couple
Don Brodie ...
Marcel the Postman
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Storyline

Simon Cordier is a well-respected magistrate who visits a condemned prisoner, Louis Girot, just before the man's execution. Girot again pleads his innocence insisting that he has been taken over by a spirit that forced him to commit his crimes. Cordier doesn't believe him and the man suddenly dies. Cordier does however note a rapid change in his personality during their short interview. In the following days, Cordier must face a number of strange occurrences in his home. He begins to wonder if he is sleepwalking but is soon hearing voices and begins to wonder about his sanity. It's recommended to him that he take up sculpting, something he once had an interest in. He develops a relationship with Odette, a gold digger married to a struggling artist, but the evil, invisible spirit soon drives him to murder. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He upholds the law, except when he murders.

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 March 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Horla  »

Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Simon throws the box of art supplies at the Horla to prove he is standing in front of the mirror, you can see Simon's reflection in the sheet of glass used to create the invisible Horla. See more »

Quotes

[first title card]
Title Card: "... the vulture has eaten the pigeon; the wolf has eaten the lamb; the lion has devoured the sharp-tongued buffalo; man has killed the lion with an arrow, with spear, with gun-powder; but the *"Horla"* will make of man what man has made of the horse and of the ox; His chattel, His slave, and His food, but the mere power of His will. Woe to us!"... Guy de Maupassant
See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Demons (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Suprinsingly great.
31 January 2008 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Most horror movies made between the '50's and '70's weren't very much psychological once and featured for instance monsters, gore and tons of blood. In that regard "Diary of a Madman" is a quite refreshing movie. It lies its emphasis on the psychological aspects of the movie and uses it for its tension, mystery and just overall horror, even though the movie still features a 'supernatural' horror theme.

The movie has a well build up and constructed story, that only gets better and better as it heads toward the ending. The movie begins quite typical but soon becomes very intriguing when it becomes obvious that just is not just another average standard '60's horror flick, with Vincent Price in the lead role. The movie shows how the highly respected magistrate/sculptor slowly looses his mind when he is being possessed by a strange mysterious spirit called an Horla. Of course no one believes him at first when he starts to hear and see things. He starts to question his own sanity, until the Horla has him in his almost complete control. Good old Vincent Price however decides to fight back and we already at the start sort of know what has happened, since the movie is told in the past time, when people read his diary in which he described the strange events that had happened.

So you don't really have to expect an horror movie with monster, gore and scare effects. This movie is mostly about its build-up and overall atmosphere. It's a psychological movie, though visually the movie is also a good one.

The movie features quite some early and variating special effects and other cinematic tricks. It's quite clumsy looking all of course but at least you can say that they really tried and put some effort in it to making something new.

Vincent Price of course always had been at his best in roles such as these, so this movie forms no exception to that. He is highly convincing as the respected magistrate but also as the 'madman'. Two of course total opposite elements, which Price perfectly knows to handle, without ever making anything look ridicules or totally unbelievable.

It's a real surprisingly good and quite different '60's horror flick, that deserves to be seen and known better, starring genre-legend Vincent Price!

8/10

http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/


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