The Hatter's Ghost

The Hatter's Ghost

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Claude Chabrol
Screenplay by Claude Chabrol
Based on Les fantômes du chapelier by
Georges Simenon
Starring Michel Serrault
Charles Aznavour
Monique Chaumette
Music by Matthieu Chabrol
Cinematography Jean Rabier
Edited by Monique Fardoulis
Philippe Grumbach Productions
Films A2
Release dates
25 May 1982
Running time
120 min.
Country France
Language French
Box office $2.9 million[1]

The Hatter's Ghost (French: "Les fantômes du chapelier") is a 1982 film directed by Claude Chabrol. It is based on the 1947 story Le Petit Tailleur et le Chapelier by Georges Simenon. The film takes place in Brittany and was shot in the towns of Concarneau and Quimper.


Labbé, a hatter in a French provincial town, leads the life of a respectable citizen but is in fact a serial murderer. The only person to suspect this is his neighbour Kachoudas, an Armenian tailor. After the hatter kills his own wife, he then kills six of her friends to stop them visiting her and prepares to murder a seventh when the intended victim dies naturally. As a substitute, he murders the maid. At the same time, Kachoudas is dying and Labbé confesses his crime to him. Then, after getting drunk he visits his favourite prostitute Berthe and kills her too, being found there in the morning by the police.

Principal cast

Actor Role
Michel Serrault Léon Labbé
Charles Aznavour Kachoudas
Monique Chaumette Madame Labbé
François Cluzet Jeantet
Isabelle Sadoyan Alice Kachoudas
Jean Champion Senator Laude
Bernard Dumaine Arnoult
Aurore Clément Berthe

Critical reception

TV Guide rated the film with 2 1/2 out of 5 stars and commented:

Another Claude Chabrol film that neither fails nor lives up to his previous successes (LES BICHES, among others). Again he pays homage to Hitchcock with a psychopath, Michel Serrault, who murders his wife, then kills six of her elderly friends.[2]

From Time Out London:

The hatter (Serrault) is a mass strangler who allows his secret to be discovered by hangdog Cachoudas (Aznavour), the tubercular Armenian tailor opposite. The ensuing relationship seems unbelievably reckless, even with a mad hatter involved, and manifestly it's the Hitchcocko-Jesuitical theology about shared guilt which animates the picture... Chabrol locates his adaptation in an off-kilter time zone - little bit '30s, little bit '50s - that some may find the most intriguing aspect of the movie.[3]


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