Review: ‘The Abominable Doctor Phibes’

The Abominable Doctorphibes stars Vincent Price as a living corpse, out for revenge on the nine medics in attendance when his wife died in surgery. Anachronistic period horror musical camp fantasy is a fair description, loaded with comedic gore of the type that packs theatres and drives child psychologists up the walls. Joseph Cotten also stars as an intended victim who foils the plot.

The Abominable Doctorphibes stars Vincent Price as a living corpse, out for revenge on the nine medics in attendance when his wife died in surgery. Anachronistic period horror musical camp fantasy is a fair description, loaded with comedic gore of the type that packs theatres and drives child psychologists up the walls. Joseph Cotten also stars as an intended victim who foils the plot.

James Whiton and William Goldstein wrote a well-structured screenplay which starts in motion a series of inventive murders, and later drops the requisite expository clues. Price, presumed dead until Cotten and gumshoe Peter Jeffrey discover his and the wife’s coffins bare, concocts revenge on nine doctors according to the pattern of 10 curses upon the Pharaoh, from the Old Testament.

Terry-Thomas is one of the victims, all of whom die from some bizarre use of rats, bees, bats, boils, etc. Assisting Price is the silent Virginia North. Price’s makeup, by Trevor Crole-Rees, is outstanding in depicting without revulsion the look of a living corpse covered with scars.

The Abominable Doctor Phibes

UK

Production

American International. Director Robert Fuest; Producer Louis M. Heyward, Ronald S. Dunas; Writer James Whiton, William Goldstein; Camera Norman Warwick Editor Tristam Cones; Music Basil Kirchen, Jack Nathan Art Brian Eatwell

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Vincent Price Joseph Cotten Virginia North Terry-Thomas Hugh Griffith Peter Jeffrey
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