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The Horla


Maupassant's classic story about a man obsessed and terrorized by a presence that engulfs him. He is also convinced of a dreadful evil concealed in a ship anchored at the harbour.



Air Dates

  • First Run - February 22, 1974
  • Repeat - May 17, 1974
  • Repeat - October 21, 1978
  • Repeat - May 19, 1979





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31 Responses to Episode 0044

Ok these are going on my MP3 player, it holds 16 gig, i will listen to these all the time and write reviews. First I want to dl them all before this site disappears as a mystery LOL. 44 only 1355 left to go hhhmmmm. This is going to take awhile.!!


Could not agree more! Me and my wife listen to old time radio every night at bedtime. Much better entertainment than T.V.


The Horla may well be the primary inspiration for Lovecraft's Cthulu. This version of the story gives no hint as to the origin of the Horla, terrestrial or otherwise. If homo sapiens has been dominated the Horla since the dawn of the species, the Horla is evidently not in a big hurry to assume full control. Literature, science fiction, alien species.


Maybe Guy suffered from sleep paralysis.


One of my favorite episodes to listen to at Halloween: this one is based on Guy de Maupassant's The Horla. episode 44. I really freaked me out back when it originally aired. Still stands today as great gothic horror.


Interesting tale about a writer who feels that his very being is being taken over by an entity that eventually plans to take over the world. He thinks it is holed up on a big boat that sits in a port that he can see from his residence. He determines that the boat, along with the entity, has to be destroyed. The writer of the original story, Guy De Maupassant, is as interesting to read about as the episode was to listen to. Apparently, he had a form of madness near the end of his life and attempted suicide, and this story was written during the midst of it.


Sam Dann's adaptation turns out to be better than the original story. In my humble opinion it's also head and shoulders above the version with Peter Lorre, which is both shorter and closer to the original.


Danny you read my mind. Could agree more


This episode was actually a bit scary. A nice acting job by Paul Hecht. The Horla--real or unreal, that's the question. We all create monsters in our head. But in this case, did all those people in Brasil create the same monster in their heads? Maybe not...

Davy Joe

can't believe they only gave this one 2.5 stars, it's one of the best shows in the series


An old novel of sci-fi horror. The Horla are real and so persistent!

R. Moll

A man becomes obsessed with a ship in the harbor he is convinced harbors a terrible evil that is the doom of mankind.

Jones Platon

Well this one was pretty impressive. I liked the changes and expansions of the original story. Nice sense of period and locale. I could have asked for a more subtle sound to represent the Horla and the confrontation in the cabin of the ship lacked much of a real sense of dread...

Guy Romero

Guy de Maupassant is a troubled French author haunted by the Horla, perhaps in his mind alone? Perhaps in the real world? As fantasy and relaity collide, the author has a difficult time dealing with things.

Grace G.

I've always thoroughly enjoyed this epsiode. I think Paul Hecht is great in the lead role (though Peter Lorre's not too shabby in his "Mystery in the Air" version of this same tale). I also enjoyed Bob Dryden's turn as Dr. Cartier, how he kept shooting down one theory after another, because of their ethnic sources ("Parisian newspapers are all filthy rags..." "South Americans are basically Spainards-- a highly romantic and unstable people...." (and referring to Freud) "Oh, an Austrian....") It was like trying to get help from Archie Bunker-- but it adding a slight "comic relief" to the tale....... The whole idea of slowly going insane and not being sure if one is in fact going insane, is a truly frightening premise for a story. Anyone who has been touched by Alzheimer's, in anyway, can fully appreciate the underlying horror of de Maupassant's plight. I do agree with earlier comments that the "weakest" part of this tale was the sound effect for the Horla. It really wasn't unsettling in anyway and therefore the scenes of its "appearance" fell short. But, other than that, a very well done RMT................


There was also a movie version of the Horla I believe. Vincent Price played the part of the man who may be going insane in that version if I recall correctly. Though I do imagine the radio version has an extra layer of suspense that the visual version doesn't have.


3 stars... Was a little skeptical in the beginning but it ended up being an okay listen. Has commercials.


"They're after me! They're after me." Guy de Maupassant, poor guy, apparently ended up crazy as a loon. Sad that his genius (I think his "The hand" was a classic...certainly was a strong RMT play) may have also been a curse to him. I thought the Horla sounded like air raid sirens. Interesting episode.

John Mina

I like this episode a lot. I like the original story on which it's based, and I like the twist Sam Dann added by making De Maupassant himself the narrator of the story (in the original it is just a nameless first-person narrative). De Maupassant had syphilis from his 20's, and began to suffer from mental illness toward the end. About 30 or 40 of his stories reflect his descent into madness, actually a very small percentage of his output. I think he wrote something like 300 works altogether. Anyway, I am especially fascinated by his description of the Horla because it is a near-perfect clinical description of how it feels to suffer from an anxiety attack---the weight on the chest, the feeling of being suffocated, of panic, and of losing one's strength and sense of control. It is obvious that De Maupassant was desperately trying to describe, and to come up with an explanation for, what was physically happening to him as his mental illness became worse. I find it fascinating, sad, and compelling. Also, the theme of madman as prophet---the idea of a person with deep insights that no one else understands being considered insane---is one of my favorite literary themes. The vast majority of people are so smugly confident in their beliefs, and so very comfortable that they are right and sane. . . it's important that these things are called into question from time to time. I thought the performances and production values of this episode were all top-notch, and that Sam Dann's decision to make the play reflect De Maupassant's real life was extremely clever. De Maupassant actually was put in a sanitarium, just as in Dann's script. He died a year later. (The original story of The Horla ends rather differently.)


I did not like this one as well as some of the others. I guess I just have a problem with people that think they are losing their minds or to think that some superior race is taking over our minds.

Roland Abot

I had a tough time rating this one. While I agree with Bill -- I don't prefer the "mind puzzle" stories because they are so hard to follow -- no matter how well you think you have it figured out - the fantasy character of the genre allows the author to throw a curve no matter how unrealistic. But I also agree with Steve that this story was really very well done. I was playing it at work and had to re-listen to several parts - and even then may have lost the flow of things. I will rerun it tonight when I turn in and hope I don't fall asleep. Despite my preference for more traditonal mysteries - I gave it a four for artistic merit -- it presented the tale with great talent and direction.


i enjoyed this one and was glued to it . i probbably looked a bit strange gazing off into space while at work. maybe i didn't look much different than i usually do. :lol: i've seen this theme in several sci fi shows. star trek classic for one. i liked the idea of not knowing if mr. M was sane or not. i think maybe he was not mostly because there was no physical description of the Horla. the one man acting alone is also exciting to me. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers comes to mind. the sound of the Horla wasn't scary enough to me. the acting was good in this one. accents were believable to me. tho the doctor didn't have a french accent did he? i've listened to 2 shows set in Paris in the last 2 days. i can only take so much!


My enjoyment of this tale comes from being both a true story (in part) and the subject matter itself. Whenever I come across a book, film, or performance that involves a character experiencing things that nobody else seems to be aware of, completely freaks me out. I often wonder how diseases like schizophrenia target certain people and not others. Same with Alzheimer's. I find the descent into a state of mental health where reality and fantasy weave into the same daydream to be truly frightening. This episode was really well done and helped open up the door, for me, to an author I have not read before. Thanks, Steve for the link to the Horla text. I'm looking forward to reading it. Overall, I enjoyed this one. Best wishes,


Hmmmm. I just wasn't thrilled with this one at all. The background to the author was good, and I enjoyed how the episode bleeded back and forth between reality (author) and the story... but the air-raid sound thing kind of ruined it for me.

Mel Angelo D.

I've listened to this program a few times now and I must say it's improved with subsequent listenings. I find the story to be very tragic, given the realism of Guy De Maupassant's fate with dementia. What a terrible waste of a brilliant mind. But then again, how much of his brilliance was borne from his disease? I give the program a solid 4.

Anna Miranda

I thought this was an enjoyable episode, but now makes me want to read the story it was based on. From some of the responses above it seems like this may be better than the original, but that's always up to interpretation.


The Horla is my favorite


Makes me think of another CBSRMT episode by name of THE DAMNED THING where this invisible, but physical, entity, like the HORLA, in the forest lurks on this man's property, out in the country. The Horla has a part in the 1963 movie with Vincent Price by name of DIARY OF A MADMAN where the Horla can physically speak & victimizes people by taking control of their will. Creeeeepppppy!


this is a great episode from the old CBS Radio Mystery Theater series from the seventies. I don't know if you're familiar with it but it had a lot of great horror, SF and suspense stories and adaptations.


Good storyline but the Horla sound effect was not the best. Perhaps they were going for an extraterrestrial sound? A losing of sanity and imagined paranoia or are they really out there? 😯


Good episode, but, did nobody catch the mistake where Franz Mesmer is said to be French? Mesmer wasn't French, he was German. Some may not think something like this matters, but it does. The doctor was all about France. If it wasn't French, it wasn't worthy to consider. This is why Maupassant said Mesmer was French, in order to show the doctor that Frenchmen also believed in this sort of hypnosis. It was to validate it. But, Mesmer was German, not French, so why did Sam Dann deliberately misrepresent Mesmer's nationality?


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