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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Diary Of A Madman (1963)

Starring Vincent Price, Nancy Kovack, Chris Warfield, Elaine Devry, Ian Wolfe
Directed by Reginald LeBorg
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

A French magistrate doesn't believe a condemned man who claims a spirit took over his body and made him commit murder, but after the man's death, the judge is possessed by the evil Horla. 

In my opinion, this picture offers one of Vincent Price's more under-appreciated roles, and is a fun horror movie to boot, based on the stories of Guy de Maupassant, and scripted and produced by the prolific Robert E. Kent.  Price has to play not only the tormented judge, as well as a mindless killer, but also a third persona oblivious to his crimes, all within the same character, and he pulls it off well.  Price's scenes with Kovack's beautiful but gold-digging model are charming, as he excels with the romantic dialogue written by Kent, proving Price was more than just a horror actor.  The invisible Horla voiced by Joseph Ruskin, although we never really see him, is an effective spectre, flinging open the doors to Price's study and challenging the magistrate in a battle of mental trickery.  Veteran director LeBorg pulls all the elements together to assemble an entertaining contest of man versus an evil he cannot control.

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