The Abominable Dr. Phibes  (1971)

Octoblur 2014 - #25: The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

 
By dorrk, October 19th 2014

Even though Vincent Price lived on and continued acting for another 20+ years, one of his last great horror roles was that of Anton Phibes in the 1971 revenge thriller The Abominable Dr. Phibes, a gruesome old-school chiller that kids can enjoy as well as adults.

Although thought to be dead following an auto wreck, Anton Phibes has reconstructed his own body and secretly returned to London to exact revenge on the medical team that oversaw the death of his beloved wife, Victoria. With the help of his mysterious assistant, Vulnavia, Phibes stages a series of elaborate murders patterned after a Hebrew curse: boils, bats, frogs, rats, etc.

Great fun throughout, and smashing to look at, The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a perfect PG-rated segueway from classic Grand Guignol-inspired theatrical horror to a more modern sensibility. This movie is full of glorious production design and neat, whimsically eerie details, like Phibes' animatronic orchestra and Vulnavia's outlandish costumes.

Although known primarily for his sinister voice, Price has surprisingly limited dialog, as Phibes is only able to speak via mechanical contraption. However, Price makes the most of his second greatest asset: that haunted, sallow face that spells doom with just a glance.

Trailer for The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

Beware: Galleries may contain spoilers.
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The Top 20 Movies of All-Time

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#2: The Godfather (1972)

#2: The Godfather (1972)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#3: West Side Story (1961)

#3: West Side Story (1961)

Dir: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
#4: Manhattan (1979)

#4: Manhattan (1979)

Dir: Woody Allen
#5: The Graduate (1967)

#5: The Graduate (1967)

Dir: Mike Nichols
#6: Tootsie (1982)

#6: Tootsie (1982)

Dir: Sydney Pollack
#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Dir: Irvin Kershner
#9: Star Wars (1977)

#9: Star Wars (1977)

Dir: George Lucas
#10: The Exorcist (1973)

#10: The Exorcist (1973)

Dir: William Friedkin
#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Dir: Peter Jackson
#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

Dir: Martin Scorsese
#13: Annie Hall (1977)

#13: Annie Hall (1977)

Dir: Woody Allen
#14: Vertigo (1958)

#14: Vertigo (1958)

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Dir: Steven Spielberg
#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson
#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Dir: Tobe Hooper
#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

Dir: Frank Capra
#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Dir: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
#20: Zodiac (2007)

#20: Zodiac (2007)

Dir: David Fincher