Tanizaki Junichiro’s “The Tumor with a Human Face” (1918) features a haunted film that drives its viewers mad. As a literary work about the production and viewing effects of film, this short story explores some of the fundamental differences between literature and film as narrative and affective arts. In this paper, I discuss what these differences might imply for the art of adaptation. Furthermore, I explore the interface between the cinema and our visual sensory system, and argue that film constitutes a technologically embedded mode of perception. Finally I draw on psychoanalysis to study how the cinema is related to psychosis, and argue that it parallels and enacts a primordial repression.