Synopsis by Cavett Binion
Based on the story "The Horla" by Guy de Maupassant, this grim low-budget potboiler stars Vincent Price as Simon Cordier, a ruthless magistrate in 19th-century Paris who becomes possessed by the malevolent spirit (or "horla") of a condemned murderer whom Cordier was forced to kill in self-defense. Driven by the madman's ghost to continue his pattern of brutal crimes, Cordier comes to the realization that the only way he can purge the violent demon from his soul is to immolate himself in a blazing pyre. Though the riveting Price (whose very presence can enliven even the most dismal of horror duds) does an admirable job as the tormented Cordier, he is unable to bear the ponderous weight of this tedious production. Although a parallel between the callousness of Cordier's office and the insensate evil of his crimes would have provided an interesting subtext, the script forfeits this potential, relying instead on a pat, self-righteous finale with religious overtones.
demonic-possession, evil-possession, control, ghost, judge, murder, demon, possession, soul, self-defense