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Not as good as the first Phibes movie (The Abominable Dr...) but jolly good fun, so long as you're not expecting a horror movie! This is a comedy! The double act of Peter Jeffrey and John Cater as the bumbling police officers Trout and Waverley are a joy. Vincent Price, himself, often portrayed his characters with tongue firmly in cheek, (witness the AIP Corman series of E A Poe titles) and this is no exception. What I would like to know is what is the obsession with dance band leaders and jazz cornet/trumpeters all about? OK, its set in the 20s, (allegedly!) and the mechanical band look like an old dance band of the time, or is it just another in-joke probably lost on most viewers? I'll explain: Beiderbeck (Bix Beiderbecke - legendary cornettist, who died of drink at 28); Hackett (Bobby Hackett - cornettist often compared to Bix for his lyrical style); Baker (Harold "Shorty" Baker - one-time trumpeter for Duke Ellington. Or even Kenny Baker, English trumpeter of considerable ability); Shavers (Charlie Shavers - highly accomplished trumpeter from the 'swing era'); Stewart (Rex Stewart - cornettist with Duke Ellington during 30s/40s). Get the picture? Then we have two band leaders: Ambrose (English dance band leader from the 30s) and Lombardo (Guy Lombardo, Canadian dance band leader from the 20s and 30s). Obsessive or what? Never mind, I just thought I'd point it out!!!! Its still an enjoyable load of old nonsense all the same. 10 out of 10 for cheekiness, but overall a 7.
The juxtapositioning of lame one-liners and overused sight gags with some rather memorable and disturbing murders are what this film is all about. Its all of a rather low quality in virtually all respects, yet with Vincent Price as a diabolical lead, the many foibles are easily overlooked. Phibes has risen from suspended animation and once more has a bee in his bonnet for those who killed his wife and took away his face. He's not content with simply killing them. Oh no, each murder is creative, elaborate and basically nonsensical in their conception. But still horrific somehow. There's no sport in criticizing the plot, questions like why Phibes conjures these nasty deaths for the lackeys of his enemy who are all actually ignorant and innocent of any wrongdoing. Then he chooses to reason with the one man who is actually trying to destroy him. Very EC comic inspired, and if you like that sort of thing, you will like this film. Keep this away formt he impressionable kids though. I saw this when I was really young, and the images were emblazened on my brain for all time. Beware!!!
...as the original. Yes, the design is impressive. Yes, Phibes
as good. The Biederbeck sub-plot (Robert Quarry's best performance by
check his IMDB credits list to see how many turkeys he's been in) is
interesting, and makes him a suitable rival for Phibes. Sort
And that's kind of where I'm stuck at. Everything in this movie is "sort of." Biederbeck is "sort of" Phibes' rival, but the two never meet until the end. The movie "sort of" carries on the theme of the original. But without a driving force or motivation of vengeance, or a theme like the Plagues, here it's just a matter of seeing how many nifty ways Phibes can (rather implausibly) knock someone off. And some of those (a raven?) aren't even that interesting.
The humor here is also a lot broader, which wasn't really to my taste, either. Watching Phibes chow down on grapes through his neck hole and almost choking struck me as parodying the character itself, which tends to rob Phibes of much of his menace.
Overall, this sequel is enjoyable, but to me, it ultimately fails to rise to level of its predecessor.
Dr Phibes Rises Again is the sequel to the magnificent 'The Abominable
Dr Phibes'. The original film achieved cult classic status through a
magnificent performance from Vincent Price as the vengeful doctor of
the title, and an over the top, absurd, camp styling that set it apart
from most other films in it's field. Both of these ingredients are
present for the sequel, but it doesn't succeed like the first one did
because there's just something missing. The sequel sees Dr Phibes 'rise
again' upon the moon aligning itself in a certain way (or something)
and travelling to Egypt to find a river that will grant him and his
neither living, nor completely dead beloved, immortality. However,
things aren't so simple because the scrolls that lead the way to the
river have been stolen and Phibes has a contender; someone that needs
to find the river just as much as he does out there in Egypt with him.
What's basically missing from this film is assurance. The first film obviously knew what it wanted to do and so was able to do it and not let anything get in the way; this one is very muddled, and it never completely gives the impression that it knows where it wants to go. Just like the first film, this one delivers some very imaginative and very grisly methods of dispatch for it's lesser characters. However, these death scenes almost appear superfluous to the plot, and appear to only be there to continue what the original started, as Phibes probably could have gotten where he wanted to go without them but I'm not one to complain about a film that sees a man trapped in a giant gold scorpion while being eaten to death by live ones, and another man killed via a sharp spike shooting out of the telephone, so whether they're needed or not; they're nice. The film also features, like the original did, a lovely camp feeling; but it's never on the same level as it was in 'The Abominable'. Perhaps it's the move to Egypt and the low quality of the set's (as opposed to the grand and lavish ones of the original) what's done it.
As mentioned, Vincent Price returns to take up one of the roles that have helped cement him in the minds of his fans - Dr Phibes himself. This role, frankly, was made for Vincent Price; and he excels at playing it. It can be said that he doesn't do quite as good a job here, but then again; he didn't have as much good stuff to work with. Also making an appearance is fellow horror legend - Peter Cushing. Cushing only actually appears for all of about two minutes, but it's nice to see him nonetheless. Robert Fuest returns to the director's chair, as you'd probably expect; but the most notable performance in the film (other than Price) comes from Peter Jeffrey, in the role of the inept Scotland Yard inspector - Inspector Trout. Jeffrey delivers his lines with impeccable comic timing and steals every scene he's in. I'd even go as far as to say that Jeffrey is just as important a part of these two movies as Vincent Price is.
Overall, this film isn't nearly as good as 'The Abominable Dr Phibes', but fans of the original will find lots to like and despite the fact that it's a lesser film and has many flaws; I love this kind of stuff so it gets a big thumbs up from me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!
This follow up to 'The Abominable Dr Phibes' just goes to prove that you can't keep a good man down. Vincent Price, as knowingly camp as ever, tips a nod and a wink to the audience through his portrayal of Byronic, romantic hero, Anton Phibes - a disfigured creature determined to re-vivify his dead wife (Victoria) and for both of them to live happily ever after throughout eternity.
Fair enough! Stopping him from achieving his goal are the usual suspects of devious businessmen, sly archaeologists and incompetent policemen. Through 1920s England and Egypt, Phibes pursues this goal, merrily dispatching all those who stand in his way through a truly ingenious catalogue of murderous mayhem.
What makes the movie superior to the original is that director, Fuest has used his knowledge of television production (he helmed some excellent 60s 'Avengers' episodes) to create an altogther realistically fantastical world played out in the normal sphere of everyday life. Therefore, whilst the sets are art-deco in style and incredibly inventive and playful, the murders are juxtaposed to the settings in a neat and carefully composed, almost romanticised view, of the world. For example, whilst the settings in the Egyptian desert are almost always stagebound, the settings within the pyramid which houses Phibes key to immortality, are incredibly detailed and beautiful to look at, engaging the viewers sense of aesthetics not normally called upon in early 70s horror. Overlapping this is the sheer delight found in the way the labyrynthine plot overcomes its shortcomings by allowing the viewer to identify with Phibes - primarily because of the first movie and the wish to see him survive.
Of course, the undeniable strength of the movie is the portrayal of Phibes by the always enigmatic Price. It is this familiarity of the actors playing that engages the viewer. Portrayed as a man searching for love at all costs, Phgibes is not a monster but a tragic and lonely figure, thus creating audience sympathy immediately.
That the last view of Phibes is of one of triumph indicates that perhaps a sequel was to be made. But, in hindsight, Phibes got the richly deserving send off that he so desparately wanted.
The movie really is a truly globe-trotting, almost Bond-like adventure. Despite the low budget, the movie does indeed look at times absolutely magnificent. The cinematography, the mise-en-scene, the lighting and music all combine with excellent direction and acting to provide the audience with a movie that could outshine all postmodern horror movies. It is one of the last truly great gothic outings that British cinema has provided.
MISS IT AT YOUR PERIL!
Just saw the movie on DVD. I have never seen it before and I am glad I
found it. Of course this is an almost unnecessary re-working of the
first movie but it is great for those like myself who can't get enough
of Vincent Price's Phibes.
The British cast is very stiff here and the almost chanting 'Harvard Univeristy drama teacher' voice of American actor Vincent Price (when he is thinking/transmitting to Vulnavia as opposed to the stark tone when he uses his electromechanical speaking apparatus) provides grandeur and menace. This is a very challenging role since the story is badly underwritten (everything just exists and appears, no explanations), the dialog is pompous and overwritten and Price must work with no facial expression (or better: with an absolute minimum). He did that with bravura in the first pic and he only slips during the opening close ups at the organ where his facial muscles move a little too much, but I still accept it.
I must admit that I had some difficulties watching such a low budget movie. First I didn's understand what happened. What? The house is in rubbles, torn apart by the villain who stole the papyrus? When? The house was there just a second ago. I thought it was meant to be some kind of theatrical language I didn't understand. To my embarrassment on second viewing I found out that Price says: 'Let's go upstairs' and the organ, like in the first movie acts as an elevator. I missed the visual explanation.
The shot which shows Phibes and the new Vulnavia (where the heck does the beautiful female servant come from? Is she a ghost? Sure not: the writers couldn't come up with any explanation.
Period) rising into the rubbles clearly is a camera moving downward and there is a pitch black background. I needed to re-learn to listen more to dialog. The visual overload of today is hazardous to these kind of films which of course have worked much better in their time.
I agree with most of the comments that state that the deaths are less imaginative than in the first movie but I like this fact that this sequel was made only two years after the original - the look and feel are similar even if some of the lushness is missing.
I like the two policemen acting as a semi working-class, people with a common sense and humor, counterbalance to the Gothic "Phantom of the Opera style" Phibes. I like the way they have given up trying to catch Phibes and these of course are the two we can identify with, yet there is too little material here and some of the scenes with the policemen look like a family gathering from the first movie and of course as in so many sequels: the acting becomes a little too self aware.
The villain, his hoping-to-be wife and his henchmen are all very dull characters so this is basically a Vincent Price/Peter Jeffrey movie with wasted but welcome guest appearances from Terry-Thomas and Peter Cushing. Both wonderful actors with careers mostly made of making the most of bad material.
The 1970s version of late 1920s British Art Deco (since the Paris-fair that introduced the Art Deco style was held in 1925, I'd say it should be rather early 1930s but the cars look more late 20s in both movies) plus the theatrical, magical, Gothic, deep menace of the price-less (pun not intended) Phibes as only Price could have played makes this very low budget film a little treasure, even if it's basically only for those, like me, who can't get enough of the magical world of the wonderfully abominable Dr. Phibes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES was for me at least a horror classic that
ranks amongst the best the British film industry has produced in this
In contrast, DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN is a disappointing sequel that lacks the creativity, intelligence and wit that made the first movie a success.
I have read the comments page carefully. Some of those who disliked the movie make it out to be a terrible sequel. Two even consider it to be one of the worst movies ever made. I think to even use words like "terrible", "awful" or "dreadful" would be too strong to describe it. However, a good argument can be put forward to demonstrate how disappointing this sequel is for those who have seen the first movie.
The plot will seem a little bizarre for those who have seen the first movie but can be recited without revealing spoilers. Dr. Phibes revives himself from his state of "suspended animation" and voyages to Egypt in search of a gateway to eternal life.
Following a few flashbacks from events in the first movie, this sequel sets off with almost complete disregard to its parent!
A new protagonist is introduced - Darius Biederbeck. He is a wealthy man with the same goal as Dr. Phibes. Early in the movie, it is revealed he has taken from Dr. Phibes a papyrus showing the whereabouts of the gateway to eternal life.
Vincent Price has a great time playing Dr. Phibes, although the touching moments where he would reminisce over his deceased wife have been massively reduced. These moments were so important in the first movie because they enabled the audience to connect with him and sympathise (to an extent anyway) with his motivations.
The killing scenes this time are not nearly as creative as those in the first and there seems to be no obvious planning behind them. In contrast, it was revealed in the first movie that Dr. Phibes spent years planning his revenge on the doctors who performed an unsuccessful surgical operation on his wife and whom he blames for her death. The results clearly demonstrated a carefully planned revenge.
Robert Quarry had a wonderful role in his later collaboration with Vincent Price - MADHOUSE. He played a smooth but slimy character who was very interesting to watch. In DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN, his Biederbeck character is incredibly bland and dull to watch. He did not make anywhere near as good a protagonist as Joseph Cotten did in the first movie.
Dr. Phibes's assistant, Vulnavia, returns. But she is played by a different, albeit very attractive, actress. However, her performance doesn't come close to that of Virginia North in the first movie, who made excellent use of facial expressions to convey the character's thoughts and emotions.
Fiona Lewis looks very glamorous in this movie, wearing very expensive looking dresses and sporting a lovely hairstyle. Unfortunately her character is given nothing to do and is merely used as a prop for the ending chapter.
Peter Jeffrey and John Cater reprise their roles from the previous movie as the two police investigators trying to hunt down Dr. Phibes. Unfortunately, the comical scenes involving them that seemed so natural in the first movie, seem very forced in this one.
Building on the point raised in the previous paragraph, the level of humour in this movie is too high and too obvious. In fact, most of the humour is so obvious that it comes off as ridiculous and cheap rather than witty.
Dr. Phibes's victims are nowhere near as interesting as characters as those in the first movie.
Gerald Sim, who delivered such a wonderful performance as Professor Robertson in DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE, is given a very uninteresting character to play in DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN. I won't give away spoilers but I will say that the death of his character is easily the lamest in the whole movie and one of the lamest I've ever seen in any movie.
But the movie's biggest failure is the waste of first-rate talent in the form of Peter Cushing and Terry-Thomas.
Terry-Thomas, who was in the first movie, plays a very different character here. He receives around three minutes of screen time in a scene that is meant to be funny but simply wasn't.
Peter Cushing fares even worse as the Captain of a ship on route to Egypt. He receives around two minutes screen time. It seems rather obvious to me that Peter Cushing should have been playing the Biederbeck role in this movie. After all, he was offered the protagonist role in the first movie, which he turned down. His presence here was clearly just a gimmick by the producers to help promote the movie.
Beryl Reid also appears in this movie. Whilst she has a little more screen time than Peter Cushing and Terry-Thomas, I thought her scene was one of the most boring in the entire movie.
As pointed out by another person on this page, the production seems rushed as though the movie was put out quickly to ride on the back of the first movie's success.
After drawing attention to the negative aspects of the movie, I turn to the few good points.
Hugh Griffith has a somewhat amusing role as an alcoholic associate of Biederbeck on board the ship bound for Egypt.
The movie also retains much of the style and class as the first, ensuring it does not come off as cheap or sleazy in any way.
Overall, DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN is a sub-par sequel that will disappoint most fans of the first movie. This advice comes from someone who actually saw this sequel before its parent and still found it disappointing in its own right! It comes as no surprise that plans for a third movie were shelved.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Melt a package of Velveeta, add a can of jalapeno slices and you'll
have a good dip for corn chips. The problem with this sequel to The
Abominable Dr. Phibes is that this time Phibes ain't got no jalapenos.
With Dr. Phibes Rises Again we have Phibes (Vincent Price) in Egypt,
along with his preserved wife, Victoria, his silent assistant, the
well-built Vulnavia, and his swinging automaton band. Can he find the
headwaters of the River of Life, hidden under an ancient mountain
within a lavish underground temple built by the now-vanished Egyptian
pharaohs, before an obsessive and wealthy dilettante explorer, Darius
Biederbeck (Robert Quarry), does? Will Dr. Phibes invent some intricate
and painful deaths for those who get is his way...as in deaths by
telephone receiver, giant gin bottle, claw, stinger, Henry James and
sand particle (lots of them)? Will the bumbling police duo of Inspector
Trout and Sir Wayne Waring show up to perform a vaudeville act of silly
misunderstandings and pompous posturing? Will there be a number of good
actors who seem to have wandered into the movie for a moment or two of
cameo immortality, never to be seen again in the movie once they say
their sentence or two, such as Peter Cushing, Beryl Reid, Hugh Griffin
and Terry-Thomas? Even John Thaw shows up with curly brown hair 15
years before he became Inspector Morse. Is Dr. Phibes clunky and, for
long stretches, simply dull? Yes to all the above.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes was a great cheese dip, and witty in its Bible-based, corpse- producing methods. It also offered us one first-rate, sympathetic actor in a leading role, Joseph Cotten as Dr. Vesalius. If the first Dr. Phibes film was an unctuous slice of liverwurst, this one is simply an under-cooked blood-pudding, stuffed with bits of edible body organs but under-seasoned. Even Vincent Price's hamminess is held in check. He's constrained by the make-believe that he has to use an artificial speaking device (because of an encounter with acid). All his lines have been recorded separately, probably after filming, leaving him on camera to twitch a bit when we hear his voice.
To watch Price in all his hammy glory in witty vehicles of camp, comedy and corpses, try Theater of Blood and The Abominable Dr. Phibes. As for this film, well, it does no real damage except to Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg; the last thing we hear is Vincent Price singing "Over the Rainbow."
I bought this one as part of a back to back Dr. Phibes Midnight Feature
DVD. I didn't like it quite as much as the original, but it was not
completely without its charm. Vincent Price's performance was good (as
per usual) and Robert Quarry did well as Biderbeck (Dr. Phibes' foe in
this film). As anyone who has seen the original can guess, there's a
lot of really elaborate deaths and more of Vincent Price talking
through a machine plugged into his neck.
The film picks up with a brief recap of the original (Phibes out to kill the doctors who where operating on his wife when she died). Phibes then arises from the tomb in his basement where he and his wife's corpse were resting for about three years. Phibes has a plan this time to find a secret river of life in Egypt that comes to a pharaoh's tomb once every 2000 years so he can bring his wife back to life and have eternal life. However, Phibes' house has been demolished and a priceless scroll that had the secret of the tomb has been taken. Biderbeck (Quarry) somehow acquired the scroll and intends to find the river for himself and his girlfriend. Both travel to Egypt to find the river of life, and Phibes kills Biderbeck's lackeys along the way in his usual methods.
It's not that bad. It didn't live up to the original, but it still delivered big on the theme deaths. The deaths aren't quite as structured as in the last Phibes film, but they're still pretty fun.
This is one of the best horror/musical/adventure/comedys ever made! It
manages to mix horror (Doctor Phibes, Robert Quarry's character(Whose name
forgot)), adventure (The whole expedition in egypt was done before "Raiders
Of The Lost Ark), comedy (Just look at Waverly, Trout and the cameo by
Terry-Thomas), and Music (Vulnavia's entrance and exit, and more) to create
a wonderful masterpiece. I don't know how it ever got a 6.9, it shouldv'e
gotten at least 8! Everything works. The plot involves Vincent Price's
character Dr. Phibes pursuing the elixir of life in Egypt, followed by an
explorer with a secret as well as the bumbling police officers Trout and
Waverly. The conclusion if wonderful as well.
Rated PG for violence and mature themes. For some reason rated AA(14+) in Canada for Horror Violence, and Mature Subject Matter.
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