» The Abominable Dr. Phibes Movie Review
by Bernhard Marshall - February 5, 2004
The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a mixture of comedy and horror. It has a sample of the best British dark sense of humor and the superior acting of the master Vincent Price.
The story is a total nonsense, but is it a problem when a movie is such fun?
9 Shall Die...
This 1971 movie was directed by Robert Fuest, and has a very silly plot, in spite of it's great scenes and dialogues.
This is the story of an eccentric ex-musician and theologist called Dr. Anton Phibes (Vincent Price), who in the 1920s, after his wife died during a surgery, decided to kill each one of the doctors who were involved in it.
He also suffered an accident when he was on the way to the hospital to see his wife, which left him deformed. He's a cunning serial killer, whose theme is the curses that punished Egypt as described in the Bible. So one by one, he kills his victims using bats, locusts, frogs, etc.
The way he uses all these animals to kill is a display of creativity and dark humor, and the best scenes of the movie - all done with Price's classy attitude and sarcasm.
Throughout the movie the Scotland Yard agents, led by the inspector Trout (Peter Jeffrey), strive to find who's behind the murders and who's the next victim, and when they find reasons to suspect the "good" Dr. Phibes, they can't believe he's doing all that.
Another interesting part of the movie is that as Dr. Phibes was disfigured, he can only communicate through a gramophone connected to his larynx and the way that he manages to drink wine is both amazing and disgusting.
Dr. Phibes is a refined man, who enjoys playing a pipe organ, has a very beautiful assistant, the mute Vulnavia (Virginia North), who helps him in his murders, and lives in a very fancy mansion, with all kinds of luxury that the times permitted.
This movie had a sequel called "Dr. Phibes Rises Again", and in 1979 Price said that the director Fuest was the only one mad enough to direct these movies and without him he wouldn't do another one.
Well, at least he did two, which are worth ten of the recent horror movie satires...
Copyright © 2003 Bernhard Marshall