Diary of a Madman (1963) Plus an Added Bonus
The title of this Vincent Price thriller could have been used for more than a couple of his films as many of his characters were known to slowly descend into madness. This role is much the same as he portrays a widowed magistrate who abides the law and is generally a caring individual who respects his fellow man. Told in flashback style from his diary we come to learn of a spirit called a Horla that has begun to use Vincent’s body as a host to perform murderous deeds. Much to his credit, Vincent’s character fights to regain his own will.
Along the way Price finds new life in a romance with stunning Nancy Kovac who has left her artist husband for a better life with wealthy Vincent. The evil spirit in a battle of wills continues to tell Price that she is just as evil as he and only agrees to marry the older Price for a life of ease and wealth. Price will have none of it which leaves the Horla with murder on it’s mind.
Reginald Le Borg directed this fun entry in the career of Price at a time when Vincent was primarily doing Poe films for Roger Corman over at AIP. This was a United Artists release filmed in color which allows us to see the glowing green eyes of Price while under the influence of the Horla. Le Borg was no stranger to the world of horror having directed some Inner Sanctum titles, The Mummy’s Ghost and a later Karloff flick Voodoo Island among many others.
Price is good here as the gentle soul who is overtaken with evil and fights it to the very end. For the Vincent Price disciples it must be amusing to see him utter lines like “In my younger days I was quite interested in art.” His character in this film dabbles in collecting and sculpture. Price fans worldwide will know that he was one of the great authorities on the subject during his lifetime.
I chose this film to celebrate Vincent’s birthday today mainly because I had not seen it in many years and I recently purchased an original film poster for it to add to my collection.
Moving on to another birthday we have fellow horror legend Christopher Lee celebrating one today as well. Lee who is still active in film is turning 92 years young. With an unbelievably long list of credits to his name including a who’s who of villains ranging from his iconic Dracula to Scaramanga, Lee has also fancied himself a singer. I know he has released CD’s over the years so I thought it might be fun to shine a different light on our birthday boy today. Please check out this video he released a few years back where he gets to play cute with a couple of funny comments in this catchy tune.