Diary of a Madman (film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Diary of a Madman is a 1963 horror film directed by Reginald Le Borg. The screenplay, written by producer Robert Kent, is an adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's short story "Le Horla" ("The Horla"), written in 1887. Kent's rendition is notably divergent from the source material, especially in relation to the religious and moral themes of the film, which contradict not only those of the short story, but Maupassant's as well. Additionally, Kent borrowed the title of the film from a completely different story authored by de Maupassant entitled "The Diary of a Madman".


The film centers around Simon Cordier (Vincent Price), a French magistrate and amateur sculptor who comes into contact with a malevolent entity. The invisible - yet corporeal - being, called a "horla" is capable of limited psychokinesis and complete mind control. Cordier first interacts with the horla when he meets a prisoner who the horla drove to commit murder. The horla possesses the inmate and attempts to kill Cordier, who in self-defense accidentally kills the man. The magistrate inherits the prisoner's troubles as the horla turns its hauntings toward him. As the horla begins to destroy Cordier's life, he fears he is going mad and seeks help from a psychologist, who effectively suggests a hobby. Cordier chooses to pick up his old interest in art, meeting a model along the way. The horla insists the model is not the charming jewel that Cordier sees, but instead a conniving gold digger, and compels Cordier to treat her as such. This sets up a conflict in Cordier, that he might not be the astute judge of character that his title indicates. As his and others' lives are put in jeopardy, he becomes convinced of the horla's existence and decides drastic measures are needed to end the horla's evil.


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Diary of a Madman (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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