6.4/10
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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
...
Louise
Edward Colmans ...
Andre D'Arville
...
Dr. Borman
...
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 | Plot 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
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Did You Know?

Goofs

At the start of the movie the date in Magistrate Simon Cordier's diary states 1886 as the year. 18-19 minutes into the movie, when he returns the picture of his dead wife and son back to the trunk upstairs, the camera pans to the right after it's open and there is a Teddy Bear. Teddy Bears weren't around until shortly after the November 16, 1902 newspaper cartoon of "Teddy" Roosevelt's based on his bear hunting trip in Mississippi earlier in the month. ("Teddy" refused to kill a baby bear after its mother was killed). Steiff bears started at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903. See more »

Quotes

Police Captain Robert Rennedon: Murderers. They're all the same. Humanity would be much better off without them.
See more »

Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Pretty good if unknown Price movie
19 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Vincent Price plays Simon Cordier a kind man who is a judge. He is possessed by a Horla (never shown--you only hear its voice) who thrives on evil. It sets Price out to commit evil deeds even though he fights against it. Then he meets sweet Odette (Nancy Kovack) and things go out of control....

Well-made, colorful (some BEAUTIFUL set design here), low-key horror film. The plot is interesting and the acting is good (especially Price and Kovack). There's next to no violence in this one (the one murder scene is badly faked)...it mostly concentrates on Price fighting against the Horla. There's a few very interesting discussions between Price and the demon about good, evil and morality. It all leads up to a great climax. If you're looking for a blood and guts movie this isn't it but it is an intelligent thoughtful horror film. Recommended.


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