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May 25, 2012

The Mike's Top 50 Horror Movies Countdown: #33 - The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Previously on the Countdown: Number 50 - Happy Birthday to Me  Number 49 - Prince of Darkness  Number 48 - House on Haunted Hill  Number 47 - The Monster Squad  Number 46 - Hellraiser  Number 45 - The Fog  Number 44 - Creature From the Black Lagoon  Number 43 - Zombie  Number 42 - Tales from the Crypt  Number 41 - Bubba Ho-Tep  Number 40 - Phantom of the Paradise  Number 39 - Dog Soldiers Number 38 - Pontypool  Number 37 - Dark Water  Number 36 - Army of Darkness  Number 35 - The Legend of Hell House  Number 34 - Poltergeist
The Abominable Dr. Phibes
(1971, Dir. by Robert Fuest.)
Why It's Here:
Vincent Price and I are certainly homeboys. And I don't think he's ever been in a more unique, interesting, and all-out FUN film than The Abominable Dr. Phibes.  As a mute and disfigured doctor who is out to avenge the death of his wife (CAROLINE MUNRO!!!!), Price moves through the film like a silent movie star.  He haunts most every scene with his visage - which has been assisted by some fantastic special effects - and unleashes the fury of the 10 Biblical plagues on the doctors and nurses he blames for her death. The concept alone is worth a place on this list.

The Moment That Changes Everything:
Gosh, I really struggle to break Phibes down to one moment.  The most effective moment in the film might be the sequence that involves locusts, but the film goes off the rails into Awesometown long before that scene. From the first time the Doc's robot band kicks out a tune, it is ON.

It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
Price + Price is always a recipe for success.  The sequel, Dr. Phibes Rides Again, is surprisingly good - some prefer it to the original - but I'm not going that route.  Instead, I'll toss you another late Price gem, Theatre of Blood.  It's almost the same movie in some ways - this time the murders are based on Shakespeare plays and the crimes being avenged are poor reviews - but it's got Price and the lovely Diana Rigg and lots of great stuff.

What It Means To Me:
The Phibes movies and Theatre of Blood always seem like Price's last great stand as a leading horror star to me. But, really, I'm also pretty sure that this is my favorite Price film by a good margin. I don't mean to discredit anything else the man did - I love his work in the '50s and '60s a bunch too - but Phibes just sticks out as something that is really a special film.

1 comment:

: said...

Ashamed to admit that I have never seen this. I definitely need to remedy that soon . . . .