Sunday, October 11, 2009

Film Review: THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (1971, Robert Fuest)

Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 94 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Vincent Price, Joseph Cotten, Virginia North. Caroline Munro as the uncredited 'Victoria Phibes.' Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff.
Tag-line: "Revenge Is The Best Medicine."
Best one-liner: "This mask is jolly tight!"

"A brass unicorn has been catapulted across a London street and impaled an eminent surgeon. Words fail me, gentlemen." They'll probably fail you, too. And in a good way. THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES is one of the best films of a kind that, along with DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN and THEATRE OF BLOOD, emerged as a subgenre within Vincent Price's larger body of work: basically "extraordinarily intelligent Vincent character seeks well-planned, exquisite, literary, specific revenge against a series of colorful opponents."

Which of course is a subgenre of the larger Vincent genre "extraordinarily intelligent Vincent character just plain kills a series of opponents in ingenious ways," which kind of includes everything from HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL to HOUSE OF WAX. In DR. PHIBES, Vincent is killing everyone in ways that corrolate to the Biblical plagues. And he's wearing a mask of himself as he does it.

That's right. You don't even get to see his mouth move. The mise-en-scene is amazing: bright 70's yellow and purple dominant the color scheme of a 20's period piece, and there are ridiculous robotic character setpieces that are actually kind of creepy.

Plus, we got Vincent drinking a glass of wine through his neck hole. That's not something you get to see every day. By now, you should be able to tell if this is your kind of movie or not. For all others, seriously, get the hell out, forthwith, cause you don't even want to see what Vincent has got planned for you.

-Sean Gill

2009 Halloween Countdown

31. PROM NIGHT (1980, Paul Lynch)
30. PHENOMENA (1985, Dario Argento)
29. HOUSE OF WAX (1953, André de Toth)
28. SILENT RAGE (1982, Michael Miller)
27. BASKET CASE (1982, Frank Henenlotter)
26. THE DEADLY SPAWN (1983, Douglas McKeown)
25. PELTS (2006, Dario Argento)
24. ANGEL HEART (1987, Alan Parker)
23. KILLER WORKOUT (1986, David A. Prior)
22. FREDDY'S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE (1991, Rachel Talalay)
21. THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES (1971, Robert Fuest)

1 comment:

TimTE01 said...

I freaking love Dr. Phibes. It is by far one of my favorite movies of all time.

That is all.