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Diary of a Madman

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Diary of a Madman (1963) starring Vincent Price, Nancy Novack
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Diary of a Madman is a different horror story, told in flashback, where a stern judge convicts a guilty man of murder, who claims to have been controlled by an evil spirt, a Horla. But after the murderer’s execution, he starts to hear the Horla …. And it’s a slow path to insanity.

[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, by the mere power of His will. Woe to us!”… Guy de Maupassant

Diary of a Madman (1963) starring Vincent Price, Nancy Novack

SYNOPSIS: Simon Cordier’s a well-respected magistrate who visits a condemned prisoner, Louis Girot, just before his execution. Girot pleads his innocence insisting he’s been taken over by a spirit which forced him to commit the crimes. Cordier doesn’t believe him and the man suddenly dies. In the following days, Cordier must face a number of strange occurrences iand begins to wonder if he’s now dealing with those same spirits. …Diary of a Madman


It’s very well done, with a captivating story. It shows the gradual progression of the stuffy judge, seemingly into madness. At first, he doesn’t suspect that anything’s wrong at all. Then, little things. And he starts hearing a voice …. The voice of the Horla. An invisible, malevolent force, that hates all humanity. Is he going mad? The Horla keeps pushing him slightly further …. Until he’s doing things he wouldn’t have considered himself capable of. Then, in a final confrontation with the Horla, there’s literally a pyrrhic victory.

And, we’re left with the question — was there ever a Horla?

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