One of the lesser-known efforts from former 007 Roger Moore, The Man Who Haunted Himself is an intriguing horror-thriller that deserves far more recognition.

While not exactly packed with thrills and spills, the storyline is enough to reel the audience in – in fact, when I checked this out recently , I found myself edging further and further to the edge of the sofa as the film progressed.

It’s like a classic episode of The Twilight Zone, but unlike so many similar efforts, this 90-minute flick never feels as though it has outstayed its welcome in terms of running time.

Based on a story by Anthony Armstrong, Moore plays Harold Pelham, a high-flying executive at a British marine energy firm.

His company are in the midst of merger talks with a rival, as well as in negotiations with the Soviets over some cutting-edge technology.

Pelham is all bowler hat, swirling moustache and stiff upper lip, but after a typical day at the office he is involved in a car crash after spinning out of control on the M4.

In a coma, Pelham officially ‘dies’ on the operating table, only to return to life moments later, seemingly with two heartbeats.

Pelham is eventually allowed home, only to find acquaintances claiming to have seen him at various locations such as a snooker club – places he could not have been at that time.

At first Moore’s character thinks it is all an elaborate ruse, only for more and more people to come forward saying they had conversations or meetings with him – which he simply cannot remember.

Things get even murkier when a new lover comes into the equation (Pelham is married with two kids) and soon the businessman is questioning his own sanity, convinced that there is ‘another self’.

Eventually Pelham checks himself into to a clinic, which eventually leads to a showdown that ties everything up quite nicely.

Moore, so often derided for his acting skills, is pretty impressive here – yes we still get the eyebrow moments, but as a man on the edge his performance is quality.

There is some neat support from the likes of Hildegard Neil, John Welsh and Freddie Jones and the direction of Basil Dearden is assured.

The script is a big plus, with Dearden himself tweaking Armstrong’s original story – not only do we get Moore claiming not everything is ‘James Bond On her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (three years before his 007 debut), but there is also some cracking dialogue – my favourite being Pelham describing a colleague as having ‘mental B.O’.

As is so often the case with 70s flicks, there is also a superb soundtrack courtesy of Michael J Lewis – a mournful, languid backdrop that adds a real edge to the on-screen action.

There are similarities here to 90s fare like The Dark Half, but what separates this from the pack is that it does not try and overplay anything or throw in some unnecessary carnage – and is all the better for it.

Finally given a Blu-ray/DVD release recently, The Man Who Haunted Himself is certainly worth the effort in tracking down.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.