One of the best of the Vincent Price horror movies. It’s based on st0ries by 19th century horror writer Guy de Maupassant. An evil spirit forces those it possesses to kill. It’s known as the Horla. Actor Joseph Ruskin does a great job as the voice of the Horla. Unlike what the poster says, this is not “the most horrifying motion picture ever created” but it is a good one.
It’s 1886. Magistrate Simon Cordier (Vincent Price) has died. After his funeral Jeanne D’Arville is instructed to open a diary left by Simon. The reading is in front of her father, an art gallery owner, along with a priest, a police Captain and Simon’s two elderly servants. The movie is told via flashback.
Simon visits murderer Louis Girot in his cell. He was convicted of killing four people for no apparent reason. He tells Simon he’s possessed by an evil demon. Simon’s not buying it. Then a green glow comes out of Louis’ eyes and he tries to strangle Simon. Simon fights him off and Louis falls down dead.
Back at Simons’ mansion he finds a picture of his deceased wife and son hanging in his study. He asks his servant Pierre (Ian Wolfe) how it got there. He doesn’t know nor does his wife Louise. Simon goes to the attic and returns it to the trunk holding his wife and sons’ possessions. Then he sees “Hatred Is Evil” written in dust. It’s the same phrase Louis told him. he points it out to Pierre but it’s disappeared.
The next day at his office more strange things occur including Simon killing his pet bird. Now he hears a voice saying since Louis is dead he will be the next one possessed. He sees an Alienist who tells him it’s his imagination. He’s been alone for twelve years and it’s time he started experiencing life again and getting back into art. Simon used to dabble in sculpture.
Outside an art gallery he sees a painting in the window. Then the model shows up. She’s Odette Mallotte (Nancy Kovack). She agrees to pose for him in his attic studio. She goes inside and tells her husband Paul what she’s going to do. His paintings aren’t selling and they need the money. She doesn’t tell him where she’s posing and she didn’t tell Simon she’s married.
Everything is moving well and the bust he made of Odette is called The Laughing Woman. It’s all done and she’s on her way home. Maybe they’ll work together again in the future. Enter the Horla. He explains that Horlas live on another plane and don’t come to this one unless invited by evil. They’re also invisible.
After being told by the Horla what he’s going to do, Simon begins a relationship with Odette. He hasn’t caught on that she’s after his money. He finally asks her to marry him. They’ll go to his villa in Switzerland. She still hasn’t told him about Paul. Now she doesn’t have a choice. Paul is at the front door. Now she tells him.
Simon goes downstairs to see him and Paul isn’t too happy. Odette left him and has taken an apartment. He searched their place and found Simon’s business card. Simon says since they’re separated Paul doesn’t have a say in the matter. Paul starts to storm out and is almost hit over the head with a large object from over the door. The Horla says Paul will get his and then informs Simon that Odette is on the death list.
If you’re a fan of Vincent Price in his horror stage check this one out.