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4.3 out of 5 stars13
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2010
The inimitable Vincent Price plays the villainous Dr. Anton Phibes (a character obviously inspired by The Phantom of The Opera - he plays the organ, he's horribly disfigured underneath the mask he wears and he has a penchant for staging a series of gruesome murders) in this pair of beautifully-crafted horror films from the 1970s.

In "The Abominable Dr. Phibes", Dr. Phibes seeks revenge against a group of doctors who failed to save the life of his beloved wife, Victoria (Caroline Munro), following an horrific car crash. Phibes uses the ten Biblical plagues bestowed upon Egypt as his inspiration and this sets up some highly-inventive murder scenes. This is a wonderful and extremely entertaining film that combines horror and humour very effectively. The great cast also includes Joseph Cotten, Terry-Thomas, Hugh Griffith, Peter Jeffrey and John Cater.

In "Dr. Phibes Rises Again" it's very much a case of carry on again doctor as Phibes travels to Egypt in search of The River of Life, used by the Pharoahs, that will grant eternal life to he and his wife, Victoria. Also in search of this river, is someone called Biederbeck (Robert Quarry) who has his own personal reasons for wanting to find it. Once again we are treated to some inventive murders as Biederbeck's team are bumped off one by one by Phibes and his mysterious female assistant, Vulnavia. Comic relief is provided by Terry-Thomas (who plays a different character this time) and Peter Jeffrey and John Cater, who reprise their roles as two bumbling policemen trying to catch Phibes. The cast also includes Peter Cushing, Beryl Reid, John Thaw, Milton Reid and the gorgeous Fiona Lewis.

What is there not to like about these two marvellous films? They are brilliantly directed by Robert Fuest (who went on to direct the wonderfully-creepy "The Devil's Rain"), well-written, superbly-acted and feature amazing art deco sets, great music and artistic use of colour and lighting. John Carpenter must have liked these movies because there is a character called Dr. Phibes in his 1980 film "The Fog". These two films really are essential viewing for any Vincent Price fan and can be seen as a sort of precursor to another classic 1970s Vincent Price movie - the sublime "Theatre Of Blood".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2010
This whole film has its tongue firmly placed in cheek. Its Trippy, its Camp and it's all about surreal embellishment and melodramatic excess. Realism plays no part in this. From the blood that resembles strawberry juice to Price's outrageously theatrical make-up. But as long as you have a macabre sense of humour, I think you will enjoy this film as much as I did. Price is at his hammy best as the disfigured organ playing Dr.Phibes. Phibes is seeking revenge on the group of surgeons, who he blames for killing his wife in an unnamed surgical operation. What follows is a compelling carnival of murder in an art deco looking world. All the murders (based on the plagues of Egypt) are as much genius as they are ridiculous. Rats on planes and shrinking frog masks to name just a couple. And there is a sick death trap/puzzle at the end, which is equally as disturbing as anything seen in a Saw movie. At its heart this film is a love-story. Price gives an outstanding performance as the anguished Phibes. Creepy and funny, yet tragic all at the same time. Comic moments come from Peter Jeffrey as the apparently slow Inspector Trout. Also look out for Terry-Thomas and an uncredited role for Caroline Munro.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Stylishly directed by Robert Fuest, these are two delightfully camp horror comedies from the early 70's. Vincent Price is wonderful as the hideously scarred Phibes (usually wearing a Vincent Price mask) who can only talk when attaching a tube, itself attached to a record player, to his throat.

Set in the 1920's, in the first film he wreaks a Biblical revenge on the doctors who killed his wife and in the second does the same on those who would stop him resurrecting her.

The supporting cast is excellent, as are the stylish sets, in particular Phibes' art deco lair, the period music, costume, photography, and witty script. This budget price, widescreen with subtitles, diptych of movies is impossible to beat for three hours of fun.

Oh yes, and it features my favourite horror movie device - sweet faced fruit-eating bats pretending to be scary vicious blood-drinkers. Grr!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2010
Two delicious outings for Mr Price. "Abominable" is superb from start to finish, a 30s-set revenge movie whereby the mysterious and supposedly long-dead Dr Phibes kills off the doctors he hold's responsible for his wife's untimely death on the operating theatre table years earlier. Phibes wears prosthetic facial pieces and a wig to disguise horrific injuries than led to his supposed death in a fiery car wreck whilst racing to his wife's bedside. He can't talk in the conventional sense, nor eat or drink come to that but, being an expert in acoustics, he is able to plug a line into the side of his neck and connect himself up to a gramaphone speaker. Of course, this gives Price ample opportunity to ham up the acting as if he were in a silent movie, while also recording his speaking parts in his usual dulcet tones! In his machinations he is aided by the always silent, mysterious and "fashionably" dressed Vulnavia. Together, they bring painful and ingenious deaths to the doctors (and one nurse) involved, one by one. As is usual in these films, the police are enjoyable buffoons, always one step behind (and in once case, one step in front, which does them no good at all) and chasing Phibes' coat-tails. A host of familiar British character actors come and go. Terry-Thomas, for example, has great fun with a large brandy and a saucy belly-dancing film, before his quiet night-in is rudely interrupted. Joseph Cotten (Citizen Kane, The Third Man) surprising appears as the leader of the ill-fated surgical team, and is the last to suffer Phibes' revenge.

The sequel enjoys itself so much that plot-elements and continuity with the first film almost go out the window, but it doesnt matter. Some actors (Terry-Thomas, Hugh Griffiths) appear in both films, in different roles! Dr Phibes sets off for Egypt to find the River of Eternal Life, which is deep in a mountain and only flows once in 2000 years. He hopes it will re-awaken his slumbering wife and grant both of them eternal life. This river lies conveniently close to an underground Art Deco lair that he seems to have prepared some time in the past! Vulnavia is conjured up again, this time as if she is some ethereal spirit rather than flesh and blood, an Ariel to Phibes' Prospero as it were. He has competition though from a renowned archeologist(the elegantly quiffed Robert Quarry - Count Yorga, Vampire, I believe) with his own designs on the mountain tomb. Watch out for John Thaw (The Sweeney, Inspector Morse) in a short non-speaking role as one of his digging companions.... although non-speaking does allow for a little screaming.

Both films pay sumptuous attention to Art Deco detail (particularly the first film): it's as good as an interior designers' source book for the period. Not sure why the rabbi has a couple of avant garde tea cups perched on his desk, but boy are they stylish!

This region 1 DVD is double-sided and although the print of "Abominable" is excellent, I found the print of the sequel to be less so. In particular, halfway through the policemen's scene with Terry-Thomas, the picture became distinctly more grainy, as if prints of varying quality had been spliced together. Given that the beginning of the film was crystal-clear, this took the edge off the viewing experience for me, especially later scenes set in the gloom of the tomb, hence 4 stars not 5. Still, a good bargain if you have a multi-region player. Extras include rather grainy film trailers from the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2011
...this double bill of Dr Phibes is a classic...gloriously shot, with pacey direction and good solid acting from a talented cast(an outstanding role by Price),make for a unique and never imitated viewing delight that is exactly how 70's tongue-in-cheek horror should be...heavy on peril,a slice of black comedy and a little bit of the red stuff thrown in for good measure...great!
N.B-nice picture quality too/not as grainy as the late nite T.V versions or the dreaded VHS! Enjoy!!! MFP
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on 20 September 2013
Oddly enough, given the wonderful richness of his voice and his tremendous faculty with language, Vincent Price doesn't have many lines in either of these two movies. Much of his performance is silent; indeed much of it is done through his eyebrows due to the characters mostly immobile face. That he still manages to create a passionate and driven character that we can sympathise with despite the terrible murders he executes is a statement to the talent of the man.

The two Dr Phibes movies are great fun, done with a wonderful touch of the bizarre, the surreal and the horrible, delivered with a wink to the audience as if to say "don't take this seriously - we don't!" Phibes himself is a tremendously charismatic arch-villain, and as many times as I've watched these movies I'm always sad when they come to an end.
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on 20 February 2014
Dr Phibes oh you tease...first you die. Then you return like a scabby butterfly. Buy it the films are great although the second is a tad slow.
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on 16 September 2014
It was a region 1 import and I was not able to play this DVD on my player, and subsequently returned this DVD
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on 30 April 2015
Typical American fan stuff here. Very little depth but lots of information and nice pictures.
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on 6 January 2015
What more than can I say that can be any better than with the star rating I have left!
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