The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Long thought dead, the victim of a horrible accident, Dr. Anton Phibes (Vincent Price) still lives, surrounded by art-deco bric-a-brac and attended by mute beauty Vulnavia (Virginia North). Outwardly normal in appearance, Phibes actually wears a rubber mask, covering his hideously deformed countenance; giving away the artifice is the fact that, when he dines, he takes his food through his neck rather than his mouth. Able to speak only when plugging a wire into his damaged vocal chords, Phibes elucidates his plan to murder the medical team whom he holds responsible for the death of his wife. Each of the killings is patterned after the ten deadly plagues. Phibes saves his worst for last: trapping chief surgeon Dr. Vesalius in his lair, Phibes forces the hapless medico into a race against time to save the life of his own son.
Rating:
PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre:
Art House & International , Comedy , Cult Movies , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Orion Home Video

Cast

Vincent Price
as Dr. Phibes
Joseph Cotten
as Dr. Vesalius
Virginia North
as Vulnavia
Terry-Thomas
as Dr. Longstreet
Aubrey Woods
as Goldsmith
Susan Travers
as Nurse Allan
Alex Scott
as Dr. Hargreaves
Peter Gilmore
as Dr. Kitaj
Edward Burnham
as Dr. Dunwoody
Peter Jeffrey
as Inspector Trout
Maurice Kaufmann
as Dr. Whitcombe
Norman Jones
as Sgt. Schenley
John Cater
as Waverly
Barbara Keogh
as Mrs. Frawley
James Grout
as Sergeant
Sean Bury
as Lem Vesalius
Alister Williamson
as 1st Policeman
Thomas Heathcote
as 2nd Policeman
Caroline Munro
as Mrs. Victoria Phibes
David Hutcheson
as Dr. Hedgepath
Ian Marter
as 3rd Policeman
Dallas Adams
as Police Official
Julian Grant
as 4th Policeman
Alan Zipson
as Police Official
John Laurie
as Darrow
John Franklyn
as Graveyard Attendant
Charles Farrell
as Chauffeur
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Abominable Dr. Phibes

All Critics (26)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

High-camp horror with its tongue firmly in its gruesomely deformed cheek, this British oddity features Vincent Price in one of his most memorable roles.

Full Review… | November 14, 2014
Times (UK)

A peerless example of knowing camp.

Full Review… | June 5, 2014
SFX Magazine

There's camp to spare -- check out the doc's house band -- but there's also plenty of innovation on display, to say nothing of ample amounts of effective humor.

Full Review… | October 31, 2013
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for The Abominable Dr. Phibes

A wind-up orchestra nicknamed the "Clockwork Wizards", reenactments of biblical curses and a phonograph in order to talk are only the faintly peculiar oddities in this olive-black, droll hybrid of operatic horror and Grand Guignol comedy. Since his face has been corroded away, Price conveys all of his vengeful emotions and homicidal frivolity with his disembodied, alto voice and his expressively mischievous eyes. Phibes' lair is a masterstroke of geisha design with a rich lavender-and-pink color palette. For a film with such an outrageously shlocky premise, the death scenes are underwhelming and tame with the particularly gruesome details held off-screen like the aftermath of a locust attack. An acid-rigged contraption by Phibes is obviously an influence for the elaborate traps for the 'Saw' franchise. The film achieves the requisite spookiness when Phibes is cavorting in his hideout with his mannequin band. To be fair though, the objective is a fiendishly funny and classy hurrah for Price and as a showcase for the erstwhile cult-classic maven, it more than delivers.

Cory Taylor
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer

½

The is from the MGM Midnite Movies Double Feature Collection. These movies are always worth getting and make a fine collection. Sheer terror doesn't get much more frightening than this. Scare-master Vincent Price plays a doctor who loses his voice in a car accident, but can still speak by way of an electronic device. He vows revenge on the nine doctors that were responsible for an unsuccessful surgery attempt on his wife, Victoria. He, along with his fiendish but sexy assistant Vulnavia (Virginia North), murder them one by one in such grotesque ways as draining one guy of all his blood, attacking a nurse with a swarm of locusts, and giving an attendee of a costume party a frog mask that becomes so tight around his neck that it snaps his head off. The sheer audacity of these grisly murders, along with Price's meticulous and methodical planning, make for a one-of a-kind scary experience. 4 stars 6-08-13

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

½

The movie plays kind of like a campy version of Seven, except British. And John Doe is played by Vincent Price, whose playing the titular character somewhere between Dr. Evil and The Phantom of the Opera. Totally bonkers and totally worth a watch.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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