Thursday 1 April 2021

the abominable doctor phibes

Via Messy Nessy Chic and premiering in UK theatres this month back in 1971, this comedy-horror film starring Vincent Price (previously here and here), Joseph Cotton and Virginia North with its melodrama, arch, dark humour, a solid soundtrack, sequels planned and Art Deco scenery that harks back to an earlier time makes this Robert Fuest vehicle a cult classic. The eponymous doctor of theology and classical organist is thought to have died in an automobile accident in the Swiss alps in 1921 whilst rushing back to attend to his dying wife, killed in Phibes’ opinion by incompetency during surgery. Horribly disfigured and disabled, Phibes survives the crash and reconstructs himself with prosthetics and restores his voice-box to resurface in London. With the perfect alibi, Phibes along with his silent accomplice called Vulnavia exacts revenge on the surgical team responsible for his wife’s death, taking inspiration from the Ten Plagues of Egypt from the Old Testament, killing his victims with ravenous locust, frogs, raining blood, etc.