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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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This must be one of the greatest tales of revenge ever told. The abominable Dr. Phibes is on the rampage, finding inventive ways to bump off the team of doctors he blames for his wife's death.

Don't worry about the silly premise, the plot holes, or the anachronisms - just sit back and enjoy the fun. Vincent Price shines as Phibes, it's amazing how much he manages to do with the character given that he can only mime facial expression to a pre-recorded voiceover. He makes the character a believable genius psychopath, bringing just the right amount of creepiness and humour to the part.

It is the sense of humour that is the key to this film. If it was just a run of the mill psycho revenge movie it wouldn't work. But by using a cast of gifted comic actors and adding a touch of macabre humour to several key scenes the film is lifted to great heights. Who can forget Terry Thomas' reaction to the beautiful Vulnavia walking into his room? Or Hugh Griffiths as the strangely Welsh sounding Rabbi?

This is decent budget DVD release. The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen, with a mono soundtrack. There has been no remastering, but the picture is nice and clean with a minimum of artefacts. Extras are limited to the original theatrical trailers which are quite interesting.

Not a film to be taken seriously, this is enormously entertaining and is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a black comedy
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 December 2008
Dr Anton Phibes (the late great Vincent Price) is out for revenge on those who's incompetance killed his wife Victoria (Caroline Monroe) with the help of his beautiful but mute assistant Vulnavia (VIrginia North).

In the firing line are the likes of Terry Thomas who plays Dr Longstreet a porn mad surgeon who suffers the curse of blood. Joseph Cotton plays Dr Vesalius, a part that was originally meant for Peter Cushing, but Mr Cushing's wife was very ill at the time and he had to withdraw from the filming.

All the deaths follow the plagues of Egypt: curse of boils, bats, frogs, the curse of blood, the curse of rats, hail, of beasts, the locust, of course, the death of the first-born, and then, finally, of darkness.

It is one of those films where you want the bad guy to win, and played to the campest level possible. Inspector Trout (Peter Jeffrey) and Sgt Schenley (Norman Jones) add extra comic relief to the film.

A great piece of escapism, that I remember from my childhood along with the Friday night Hammer Horror movies. Absolutely wonderful regardless of the fact that there are no extras.
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This tale of revenge would barely be considered horror these days; and in truth I don't think it was even back then (1971). The clever methods of killing lacking something of the fear of the feral. Following very much in the style of British high-sheen rather campy crime series like the Avengers Dr Phibes takes his revenge against various blood-letters in a predictable order with attractive young women in attendance; the interestingly named Vulnavia was played by the young lady who became Gordon White's wife. What really holds the film together is the performance of the various British coppers; all of whom have escaped from Central Casting. Joseph Cotten acts with a patrician aura.
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Not since Dante came up with appropriate eternal punishments for those sent to the Inferno has there been such a macabre genius for taking vengeance as "The Abominable Dr. Phibes." The title character, played to the hilt and beyond by Vincent Price, seeks revenge upon the nine doctors he feels are responsible for the death of his beloved wife, Victoria. As inspiration, Anton Phibes uses the Plagues of Egypt, knocking off victims (including Terry-Thomas) with frogs, locusts and the like with the help of his silent assistant Vulnavia (Virginia North), while playing his grand pipe organ. Poor Inspector Trout (Peter Jeffrey) tries to get one step ahead of the Good Doctor, but he cannot even keep up as the murders progress. Phibes saves the best for last: Dr. Vesalius (Joseph Cotten), the man who botched the operation, at least in Phibes twisted view. By this point Phibes is up to the Death of the First Born and Dr. Vesalius has to operate on his son to the boy from suffering the same fate as Phibes.
"The Abominable Dr. Phibes" is like "Richard III" and "Silence of the Lambs" in that you find yourself rooting for the villain. This might be camp but it is done with such style and flair, not to mention a macabre (if not sick) humor. I love the fact that Vincent Price does all of his lines as a sort of disembodied voice. His lips never move, a result of having his character's mouth currently being in the side of his neck (what did you expect in a film that is so tongue in cheek?). This 1971 film, directed by Robert Fuest, was scripted by James Whiton and William Goldstein, a pair of decidedly sick human beings. Followed the next year by "Dr. Phibes Rises Again," Price did another camp revenge film, "Theater of Blood" in 1973. But be warned: most women do not consider these films appropriate for dates.
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on 4 September 2013
This is a fun film, and even though it is a horror it doesn't seem it, simply because of the accompanying comic touches.

Dr Phibes has inventive, over the top, biblical revenges for the medical staff who failed to save his wife, and they are delivered in darkly comic fashion - there is no rooting for the victims in this film. Like another reviewer, I wondered when the story was supposed to be set, but in no way did it spoil any of the enjoyment.

Vincent Price looks as if he is really enjoying himself playing Dr Phibes. He never talks but he says so much with facial expressions. His house is a monument to his deranged character, from the puppet brass band, his aide, the silent Vulnavia, the rising and lowering organ and the underground room. The last scene is ripe for wondering if there will be a sequel. Happily there was :).
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on 23 December 2014
This film is an absolute gem. Vincent Price is at his best as the eponymous vengeful organ player and inventor. He methodically and malevolently carries out his grand plan to bump off nine surgeons who wronged him. The ways he employs are both inventive and deadly, and he is ably assisted by a beautiful, violin playing woman, Vulnavia, played by Virginia North.

This is a delightful campy ‘Horror’ film with a large dose of humour thrown in. Price pitches his character just right as the scarred Dr Phibes who you actually want to succeed due to the pathos and sincerity he imbues him with. I was reminded of elements of The Phantom of the Opera watching him.

The whole look inside of the house where Phibes and Vulnavia are based is fascinating, with an automaton band playing, whilst they waltz around the floor together attractively in outlandish costumes. The look is important because neither of them speak very much. It’s very surreal.

I loved the car Phibes is chauffeured around in by Vulnavia, having frosted rear windows with a drawing of Phibes in profile; bizarre but comically right.

The supporting actors include Joseph Cotton, Terry-Thomas, Hugh Griffiths and Caroline Munro.

So suspend your disbelief and enjoy it, totally absurd but great fun.
5 stars
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on 19 November 2015
The great Vincent Price, in one of his best role's, this was the 1970's and Vincent at his best in the best period of his acting career, the film's that he did in England in this period were in my opinion his best period and also the best Horror film's he'd ever played in, especially as Doctor Phibes, the original is the best, the sequel is good, but this is the best in it's wonderful gothic atmosphere, you only get that in England, a classic film to have, for a great price, Vincent Price in another English set . Horror classic of the '70's.
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on 29 September 2015
I already have the Vincent price blu-ray collection released by U.S. Distributor Scream factory
which has the Abominable Dr Phibes as one of the films in the collection
the HD transfer from this U.S. release looks excellent, much sharper & clearer better than the old MGM DVD version
plus the sound quality is very Good aswell in Master audio stereo mix, better than the old Mono sound
unfortunately the only extras on this U.S. version is a newly recorded audio commentary by Director Robert Feust
and Moderated by film Historian Marcus Hearn and the original theatrical trailer
this new commentary was recorded just couple months before Robert passed away
i did listen to some of this commentary to hear some recollections the Director may give about the film
and Honestly i found the commentary pointless, Robert had a very Difficult time
remembering filming some of the scenes which does not surprise me Robert Feust was in his 80's when he did the commentary
so i found it waste of time listening to it
pointless effort by Scream factory to get a new audio commentary from a Director that has memory problems

i then found out Arrowfilms was also releasing a blu-ray version of this film
and with little bit more extras than the Scream factory version
so i bought the Arrowfilms blu-ray mainly cause of more extras, and it was waste of money buying it
first of all this so called new HD transfer by Arrow films was done by MGM, not Arrow films
Arrow was the company that Distributed this new blu-ray version but MGM did the transfer
it says so in the booklet
and Honestly the picture quality looks very average lots of Grain & Dirt in the picture
which to me looks like a DVD transfer,
MGM didn't really make any effort at all with the transfer which does not surprise me
if Arrow films had taken control then the transfer would look excellent, much better quality that how it looks now
the sound quality mono sound, not 1.0 stereo mix
at least Scream factory made the effort with their transfer, the sound quality sounds alot better on the Scream factory version
the new extras on this Arrowfilms blu-ray
well the only new extra is the new interview featurette with the League of Gentlemen
i assume these men are fans of the film and talk about it-13mins
i found it pointless to watch
the other 2 extras is the 2 Audio commentary tracks
1st commentary is by Director Robert Faust which was carried over from the Scream factory version
and the 2nd commentary is by creater of Dr Phibes William Goldstein
plus the original trailer and making of booklet in the case
the film Deserves a better HD transfer, no Doubt about it Arrowfilms should've done the transfer not MGM
and the new interview featurette i found pointless aswell
1-2 stars for this new Arrowfilms blu-ray version, 4 stars for the film itself.
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on 25 August 2014
Vincent Price was, as usual, brilliant and shudderingly hammy. The rest of the film, with competitively OTT & mind-numbingly dumb acting on part of a few persons (all part of the great hamming project, undoubtedly), music (Dear God!) etc. etc. eventually became rather a pain to watch. Frankly speaking, at the risk of being lynched (or disposed off in a suitably nasty way as befitting the critics portrayed in such films) I must say, I had immensely enjoyed "The Theatre of Blood", with its rich dialogue and dry wit, both of which were sorely missed in this one. This film may be avoided, unless you are seriously in love with such hammy stuff.
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VINE VOICEon 11 August 2011
From the stable of producer Samuel Z Arkoff comes the delightfully trashy story of Dr Anton Phibes, his not quite dead wife and the vendatta to end all vendettas. Phibes' wife, (Victoria) lies in state of sleep, not quite alive, not quite dead. And her devoted husband Anton blames 9 surgeons for this state of affairs. To this end he devises a series of increasingly elaborate, biblically themed demises for the men he holds responsible.

The comedy is blacker than black, the whole ambience is rather kitsch, camp and teetering on the precipice of rather knowing self parody, particularly in the case of Price himself. That the film holds together is a testament to the strange mix of tenderness, pathos and steely malevolence Price brings to his role. Even better, he manages to do it without ever opening his mouth: Phibes only seems to be able to speak by plugging himself into an amplifier. He's supported more than ably by stalwarts like Joseph Cotten and the wonderfully hapless Detective Inspector Trout, nicely played by Peter Jeffrey. There are even some rather spiffy cameos from the likes of Terry-Thomas; a most unwilling blood donor!

The set design is the oddest thing about the film, though. Everything is a weird mix of the gleaming modernist 70's (see Cotten's home), the art deco of the hospital the characters find themselves in towards the end of the film and the rather more Edwardian appearance of Trout's office and the uniformed policeman's uniforms. It makes it very difficult to say exactly when this film is supposed to be set, but at the same time gives it a rather more timeless feel. All that said, the visual design is in keeping with the character of the film itself, a strange mix of the old and the new.

The final scene of the movie is one of the great denouements of the B-movie horror genre and has a really unexpected musical accompaniment. It also sets us up for the almost-as-good and just-as-much-fun sequel, Dr Phibes Rises Again [DVD], which followed in 1972.
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