Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Abominable Dr. Phibes

What a strange and yet surprisingly charming movie.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes, one of Vincent Price's strangest roles to say the least. The story follows Phibes on a revenge mission against the doctors who failed to save his beloved wife, and the police in an attempt to stop him. Kind of a slasher film in a way with one of the most unique ways of dispatching people I have ever seen in a movie, Phibes uses the ancient plagues of Egypt to enact his revenge making for one of the most gruesome and striking collection of death scenes in any movie. Vincent Price commands the entire picture and the odd thing is you do not hear him speak until about 30 minutes in. Phibes went through a terrible accident that severely disfigured him and destroyed his voice, forcing him to make this weird phonograph machine plugged directly into his voice box in order to talk, so for the first third of the whole movie his on screen time is based solely on his presence alone, and my God is it excellent. He gets his point across through a cold stare, dark attire, and horriffying actions. Phibes also has a female assistant who doesn't speak a single line, we know nothing about her or how she knows Phibes and yet, I don't really mind. Mystery is the keyword in this movie, very much reminds me of Phantom Of The Opera in a way, a disfigured genius hiding behind a mask with a penchant for the organ and the violin, has an undying love for the woman of his life, invents many contraptions and death traps, and has no qualms about killing those that stand in his way. The film is gorgeous to look at in Phibes' lair, full of color and spectacle with some shots looking so nice they would be right at home framed on my wall. The film also has some slight dark comedy in it, primarily with the inept police force, it has great dry witty british humor in it. The way Phibes kills people gives thought to another horror villain with a taste for traps and theatrics, yep Dr. Phibes was an inspiration for Jigsaw in the Saw franchise, pretty awesome. The blood and gore is both light and very heavy somehow, showing truly horrifying end results and yet hardly showing it at all, it has a PG-13 rating which is odd since that rating didn't exist until the 80s, so maybe it was an R rating back then. It's the most strange, surreal, horrifying yet charming, beautiful, and even a bit emotional movie I have seen.

Tomorrow we review the sequel to this well made horror film.

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