(Review originally written at 31 January 2008)

Most horror movies made between the '50's and '70's weren't very much psychological once and featured for instance monsters, gore and tons of blood. In that regard "Diary of a Madman" is a quite refreshing movie. It lies its emphasis on the psychological aspects of the movie and uses it for its tension, mystery and just overall horror, even though the movie still features a 'supernatural' horror theme.

The movie has a well build up and constructed story, that only gets better and better as it heads toward the ending. The movie begins quite typical but soon becomes very intriguing when it becomes obvious that just is not just another average standard '60's horror flick, with Vincent Price in the lead role. The movie shows how the highly respected magistrate/sculptor slowly looses his mind when he is being possessed by a strange mysterious spirit called an Horla. Of course no one believes him at first when he starts to hear and see things. He starts to question his own sanity, until the Horla has him in his almost complete control. Good old Vincent Price however decides to fight back and we already at the start sort of know what has happened, since the movie is told in the past time, when people read his diary in which he described the strange events that had happened.

So you don't really have to expect an horror movie with monster, gore and scare effects. This movie is mostly about its build-up and overall atmosphere. It's a psychological movie, though visually the movie is also a good one.

The movie features quite some early and variating special effects and other cinematic tricks. It's quite clumsy looking all of course but at least you can say that they really tried and put some effort in it to making something new.

Vincent Price of course always had been at his best in roles such as these, so this movie forms no exception to that. He is highly convincing as the respected magistrate but also as the 'madman'. Two of course total opposite elements, which Price perfectly knows to handle, without ever making anything look ridicules or totally unbelievable.

It's a real surprisingly good and quite different '60's horror flick, that deserves to be seen and known better, starring genre-legend Vincent Price!


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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