Diary of a Madman (1963)

DIARY OF A MADMAN (1963)
Article #524 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 8-21-2002
Posting date: 1-14-2003

A magistrate finds that he is possessed by an otherworldly creature known as the Horla after he sentences a murderer to be executed.

Coming on the heels of having watched DEVIL GIRL FROM MARS, I found myself enjoying this movie more than I might have otherwise; after the mess of that movie, I really appreciated the straightforward clarity of this one. It has some definite problems; it moves a little slow at times, the direction by Reginal Le Borg is merely adaquate, and the script is a bit wordier than is necessary (the Horla would be a lot more effective if it didn’t chatter on so), but at least it wasn’t confusing, and I could see how each scene related to the story. I also liked Vincent Price’s performance; he’s pretty restrained here, but he’s still definitely enjoying his role (maybe because he’s playing an amateur artist as well as a magistrate), and he has that easy charm and style that makes him very watchable. Except for the violence (the murder is particularly nasty), the movie feels quite old-fashioned, almost like it could have been made twenty years earlier. Not a classic, but for me, it filled the bill at the time.

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