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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

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:

GBP300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

MGM-EMI See more »
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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

A young Joanna Lumley appeared as a laboratory assistant, but her scenes were cut. See more »

Goofs

The Clockwork Band plays "One For My Baby and One More For the Road," sung by a Frank Sinatra imitator. The song was written in 1943; Sinatra recorded it in 1947. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

The cast list is divided into five sections: 'The Protagonists', 'The Girl', 'The Victims', 'The Law' and 'Interested Parties'. 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

Referenced in Birth of the Living Dead (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Close Your Eyes
Written by Bernice Petkere
Courtesy of The Big Three Music Co.
(played on solo violin during Dr. Longstreet's murder scene)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dr. Phibes = horror like it should be
24 December 2003 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

There are several actors in cinema that give away terrific performances all the time...No matter what role their cast in, they're always believable and impressive. But then, even beyond that, there are some actors who're just BORN to play certain role!! And that's the theory could be stated by Vincent Price in the Abominable Dr. Phibes. It's impossible to imagine this mad murderer being played by anyone else. Price IS Dr. Phibes and he makes the most of his role here. A truly powerful and fascinating performance that yet has to find its equal. Even if you're not into horror, I would recommend The Abominable Dr. Phibes if it were only for Price...it really is an acting job every self-respected fan of cinema should acknowledge.

But The Abominable Dr. Phibes is much more than just a 'tour-de-force' by Price. It stands as one of the most entertaining and original horror movies ever made. It's an innovating movie in every way you look at it and - like none other - it passed the test of time. The film is over 30 years now and it still looks refreshing and extremely cool. To me personally, the single title also sums up several reasons to proof that horror is the most powerful genre in cinema. First and foremost, it brings together two types of cinema that are hard to amalgamate. Face it, the basic plot of Dr. Phibes is a love-story and a tale about how to deal with the loss of a loved one...Much more than a ravenous psychopath, Dr. Phibes is a hurt romanticist! Secondly - and most teachers will deny this - Dr. Phibes is an educational film!! I guess we've all learned about the Biblical Plagues that overcame the Pharaoh in school, but it'll be much more easy to number and memorize them after you've seen this film. You might even say The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a valuable history lesson. And finally, this movie really proofs to me that horror is the "underdog"-genre in cinema. Do you remember how the plot of Se7en impressed the whole world when it came out in 1995? Both critics and audiences called it innovating, dared and highly original...but were the true horror fans impressed as much? I don't think so because the basic principles the killer in Se7en uses are just a pale tribute to the methods Dr. Anton Phibes employed.

Anyway...I start to sound way too dedicated in my love towards the genre. Basically, what I mean is: The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a perfect horror film and perhaps even one of the most entertaining cinema experiences you'll ever have. Especially when it's your first viewing, Dr. Phibes will be a satisfying purchase. It's a refreshing horror film with adorable British humor and solid acting and directing. The whole thing is just a chain of brilliant sequences. Almost impossible to determinate a few highlights...the entire movie is one HUGE highlight!!


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