The vengeful doctor rises again, seeking the Scrolls of Life in an attempt to resurrect his deceased wife.The vengeful doctor rises again, seeking the Scrolls of Life in an attempt to resurrect his deceased wife.The vengeful doctor rises again, seeking the Scrolls of Life in an attempt to resurrect his deceased wife.
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.
- Dec 15, 2004