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The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Horror | 18 May 1971 (USA)
A doctor, scientist, organist, and biblical scholar, Anton Phibes, seeks revenge on the nine doctors he considers responsible for his wife's death.

Director:

Robert Fuest
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vincent Price ... Dr. Anton Phibes
Joseph Cotten ... Dr. Vesalius
Virginia North ... Vulnavia
Terry-Thomas ... Dr. Longstreet
Sean Bury ... Lem Vesalius
Susan Travers ... Nurse Allen
David Hutcheson David Hutcheson ... Dr. Hedgepath
Edward Burnham ... Dr. Dunwoody
Alex Scott ... Dr. Hargreaves
Peter Gilmore ... Dr. Kitaj
Maurice Kaufmann ... Dr. Whitcombe
Peter Jeffrey ... Inspector Trout
Derek Godfrey Derek Godfrey ... Crow
Norman Jones ... Sgt. Tom Schenley
John Cater ... Superintendent Waverley
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Storyline

Doctors are being murdered in bizarre manners - bats, bees, a killer frog mask, etc. - which represent the nine Biblical plagues of Egypt. The crimes are orchestrated by an organ-playing, demented madman (from his home base, replete with a clockwork orchestra and help from a beautiful, mute assistant). Detectives are stumped until they find that all the slain doctors once assisted a Dr. Vesalius on an unsuccessful operation involving the wife of organist Dr. Phibes, killed in a car crash upon learning of his wife's death. He couldn't be the culprit, could he? Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nine Gruesome Curses! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some horror violence/gore | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Hebrew

Release Date:

18 May 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dr. Phibes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£300,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,000,000, 31 December 1971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Former "The Who" drummer, Keith Moon, allegedly saw this movie just before he died in 1978. See more »

Goofs

During the operation scene, Vulnavia is seen cutting a hole in the painted backdrop through the face of a seated man. Inspector Trout and Tom are subsequently seen putting their heads through two slashes in the backdrop, one of which is located above this hole. But after Vulnavia's death, as Trout orders his police constables to search the house, the holes for their heads have disappeared. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Butler - Ross: Good morning, sir.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Phibes is heard laughing after the song and the credits end. See more »

Alternate Versions

The Spanish language version features an almost completely different music soundtrack. The French version also features some subtle differences. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dr. Phibes and the Gentlemen (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Darktown Strutters' Ball
(as "Dark Town Strutters Ball")
Written by Shelton Brooks
Sung by Paul Frees
Courtesy of The Big Three Music Co.
(played during the costume party murder scene)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the greatest of the Great
9 July 1999 | by GislefSee all my reviews

This is one of Vincent Price's performance, and perhaps even his best (although Theatre of Blood is very close). Where to start...? The clever writing (which was lost in the sequel) revolving around Phibes' method of execution, based on the Biblical plagues of Moses. The grim-faced unstoppability of Phibes. Joseph Cotton in one of his best post-60's roles, here perfectly in character as a god-like doctor (particularly in the final operation sequence).

There's also the Art Deco set design which many have oohed and ahhed over in here and elsewhere.

The British cops are a bit too humorous, and there's not really a lot of background here. But the movie is a good example of the "Tales of the Crypt" macabre revenge line, with Phibes' scarred visage standing in for the Ghoul or the Crypt Keeper. Most of the doctors we see (particularly Terry-Thomas) are just the kind of elite arrogant snobs that so often got their one-uppance in such anthologies.

In any case, I would definitely recommend this movie. It's not really a "horror" movie, but more of a "grotesque serial killer" type flick in the lines of stuff like Se7ven.


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