“The Abominable Dr. Phibes” (1971) 94 minutes d Robert Fuest W James Whiton & William Goldstein
After a terrible car accident Dr Phibes is terribly disfigured. In the same accident his Wife is mortally injured. Phibes becomes deranged at the death of his beloved Wife and believes that the Doctors and Surgeons who attended her could of, and should of, saved her life. Because of this Phibes sets out to visit revenge against those the failed her and devises gruesome deaths for the team of physicians in the manner of the plagues that were brought down on Ramses in ancient Egypt.
Wonderfully hammy and gloriously gruesome this is Vincent Price at his best in, what was billed as, his 100th film. Director Robert Fuest had already directed eight episodes of the populat British television series “The Avengers” and the style of those TV episodes is prevalent here. The wonderful arc deco set design by Bernard Reeves (art director) and Brian Eatwell (set designer) make the film a unique visual treat whilst the script by Whiton and Goldstein mix pathos and black humour extremely well. A hugely entertaining movie.
Arrow have, once again, outdone themselves. Whilst I never saw The Abominable Dr. Phibes at the cinema I am very familiar with it on VHS and MGM’s Midnite Movies DVD. To say this presentation blows these previous versions out of the water is an understatement to say the least. It was like seeing the film for the first time. The film was remastered by MGM and delivered by Hollywood Classics and is presented in the 1.85:1 ratio. Some minor grain still persists and I expect that it has always been there. You won’t see this film presented better!
1.0 Mono (pulse-code modulation). The sound is crisp and clear and I certainly have no complaints here. English subtitles are also included.
“Dr. Phibes Rises Again” (1972) 89 minutes d Robert Fuest w Robert Fuest & Robert Blees
After spending three years in suspended animation Phibes awakens to find that his mansion has been destroyed and an ancient Egyptian scroll, which contains the way to an underground river where the elixir of life is, stolen. Phibes suspects that his arch enemy Biederbeck (Robert Quarry) is behind the theft and with the help of Vulnavia (Valli Kemp, who died in the first film – go figure) goes after Biederbeck and the scroll.
To say this is ‘more of the same’ is to do this sequel an injustice. In my opinion, without the exposition slowing the story down as it did in the first Phibes film this one rattles along with a better pace. The gruesome and clever murders are still present as is the dark comedic element. I just think it’s more fun than the first (as good as that was). The film is left open ended for a third film in the series but sadly this was not to be. If, after viewing both films, you still crave more Phibes then may I suggest a three volume Kindle book written by William Goldstein which includes novels of the first two films plus ‘Dr. Phibes: In The Beginning’ available from Amazon.co.uk here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Phibes-First-Trilogy-Collectors-Book-ebook/dp/B008F29SQM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403171812&sr=1-1&keywords=dr+phibes, or sending more cash Arrow Video’s way and purchasing ‘Theatre of Blood’ which is a film of the same ilk as the Phibes movies and just as much fun.
Once again Arrow have done a tremendous job here. Whilst the picture is a tad softer than the first film this is still the best presentation of the movie around. This disc was authored, like the first disc, by MGM and delivered by Hollywood Classics, and is in the 1.85:1 ratio.
Exactly the same as the first disc. Crisp, clean and without fault.
Wow! I received this box set over a week ago and it’s taken me that long to wade through all the goodies on the two discs (and one book!) We get two audio commentaries for ‘The Abominable Dr. Phibes’ One by the director Robert Fuest (now sadly passed away) and another by the creator of Dr. Phibes William Goldstein. ‘Dr Phibes Rises Again’ has one audio commentary and that is by noted film historian and owner/editor of ‘Video Watchdog’ Tim Lucas. The League of Gentlemen (Dyson, Gatiss, Shearsmith and Pemberton)sit and fondly discuss the pair of films (13 minutes), ‘Daughter of Phibes’ is a delightful 13 minute interview with Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria, ‘The Doctor Will See You Now’ (8 minutes) which is a discussion with Price’s biographer David Del Valle. Also included are original trailers for both movies plus a beautiful 100 page booklet which I would gladly have paid up to a tenner for on it’s own.
This is a tremendous set but be aware. This set is limited to only 3000 copies and has every chance of selling out very shortly. Don’t delay, buy today!
Highly recommended. A must have purchase.