Les Diaboliques (1955)

les diaboliques poster 1955 movie
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great classic horror suspense in the vein of Hitchcock


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It’s never good when your wife and mistress team-up…

Christina Delassalle (Véra Clouzot) the owner of a private boarding school and tries to cope with her abusive husband Michel (Paul Meurisse).  When she teams with her husband’s lover Nicole (Simone Signoret) to kill her husband, Christina finds herself wracked with guilt and haunted by his presence.  The haunting might be her imagination, but Christina finds herself questioning if Michel could have survived or is his ghost is really back to haunt her.

Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Les Diaboliques adapts the 1952 novel by Celle qui n’était plus by Boileau-Narcejac.  The story was coveted by both Hitchcock and Clouzot, and Hitchcock credits the movie with helping him shape Psycho.  The movie is well received and now frequently is listed as one of the top horror-thrillers of all time.  The movie had a special Criterion release (Criterion #35).


I’m coming to get you, Christina!!!

Les Diaboliques is a great horror thriller.  In its crafting, it becomes a great ghost story as well.  The movie is tense and is tense and shot in a stylish means that really adds to the smart script.  Les Diaboliques ends up being a top notch thriller.

The story is smart.  *****Spoiler Alert***** It is a trick ending you see coming but it still horrifying and well done despite this.  The goal of Nicole and Michel is to drive Christina to death so Michel can inherit the money and the school.  I love the relationship between Nicole and Christina which should be entirely opposite with Christina hating her husband’s mistress and Nicole wanting him for herself.  It turns out half of this scenario is true, and Nicole was also using Christina.


This bathroom has spiders…and dead bodies!!!

The movie has a great cast.  Véra Clouzot is good as the frail school teacher who decides to stand up to her abusive husband.  Paul Meurisse is also strong as the husband that it appears no-one likes.  The best of the trio has to be Simone Signoret who appears to be playing Michel but in reality is playing Christina. Charles Vanel also does a nice job rounding out the cast as the detective Alfred Fichet who keeps them from completely succeeding in their plans.

The story and the acting are aided by a very stylish movie.  The imagery presented by Clouzot really adds a darkness to the story.  The movie’s ending sequence alone makes the film worth watching as Michel and Nicole’s plan comes to fruition…it is very reminiscent of The Shining and the bathroom scene in it.  It also stylistically makes sense at the end that movie really is a ghost story with Christina ending haunting the school.

Les Diaboliques is a great tense thriller.  It has a definite Hitchcock feel and if you are a fan of Hitchcock you need to check it out.  The film was remade as a TV movie in 1974 (as Reflections of a Murder) and 1993 (as House of Secrets) and the much panned Diabolique starring Sharon Stone, Isabelle Adjani, and Chazz Palminteri in 1996.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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