DIARY OF A MADMAN
At the helm is director Reginald Le Borg, a B director from the 1940s who had a prominence in the 1940s (see below for Reginald Le Borgs other films). Cormans films were often heavy-handed in atmosphere and Diary of a Madman is a good deal more pedestrian. However, it does have an interesting screenplay taken from an 1886 short story by 19th Century French literary writer Guy de Maupassant. The Horla is certainly a different and unusual monster. Even though the film predated The Exorcist (1973) and the like, it has an interesting view of possession with Vincent Price actually conversing with the creature possessing him. What also makes the story interesting is the level of moral ambiguity Nancy Kovacks romantic interest is a married woman who is keeping her wed state a secret from Vincent Price and intending to leave her husband for a better prospect; and at one point Price, though the hero, as magistrate condemns a man he knows to be innocent to hang for the very crime he himself committed.
The film is made with reasonable Technicolor lavishness, something that allows Reginald Le Borg to transcend the pedestrianness of his own hand. There are some occasionally effective shock images like the discovery of Nancy Kovacks severed head under the clay sculpture in Vincent Prices studio and a scene where the possessed Price is driven back from killing a man at the last moment by the reflection of a cross from the church across the street on his knife blade. Modestly effective.
Director Reginald Le Borg was an Austrian immigrant who worked as a B-budget director in Hollywood between the 1920s to the 1970s, mostly being known for a number of the entries in the Joe Palooka series. His other genre films include:- the Inner Sanctum thrillers Calling Dr Death (1944) and Dead Mans Eyes (1944); the clairvoyance film Destiny (1944); Jungle Woman (1944), the second in Universals series starring Acquanetta as a were-ape woman; The Mummys Ghost (1944), the fourth of Universals Mummy series; the voodoo film Weird Woman (1944); the mad scientist film The Black Sleep (1956); Voodoo Island (1957); The Flight That Disappeared (1961), an anti-nuclear film about a planeload of people being abducted in mid-flight; the psychic thriller The Eyes of Annie Jones (1964); and the psycho-thriller So Evil, My Sister (1974).
Full film available online here:-