BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Dr. Phibes Double Feature: The Abominable Dr. Phibes/Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1971/1972) - Blu-ray Review

Dr. Phibes Double Feature

Flesh Crawls! Blood Curdles! Phibes Lives again! 

Cat Women of the Moon?  Check. Plan 9 From Outer Space?  Double check. Both are films you have to bear witness to in order to believe.  Barbarella?  Oh, it’s a cosmic trip for sure.  But, thanks to the mighty chops of Vincent Price and director Robert Fuest, there is nothing like the deliciously demented death march of Dr. Phibes in the deliciously devilish The Abominable Dr. Phibes, whose plan to kill all those responsible for the death of his wife will never be put on ice.

"There probably will never be another horror series as deliriously crazy, macabre mod, and outlandish"


To put it as plainly as possible, any double bill which includes both Dr. Phibes movies in it is ESSENTIAL viewing for any fan of camp and horror flicks.  And, thanks to Kino Lorber, their latest blu-ray twofer can’t be denied for its sheer badassery as Doctor Anton Phibes (the one and only Vincent Price) is back to haunt viewers and confound the hapless Inspector Jeffrey (Peter Trout) with his organ-playing and over-the-top theatrics.

You see, Phibes is a killer on a mission to ultimately resurrect his wife and bring her back from the River of Styx.  He has a hard-on for Biblical plagues and makes sure that his victims - in the first film, The Abominable Dr. Phibes - pay the ultimate price whether it be by bat or bee or a killer frog mask.  For him, it is a continuous act of revenge as he lost his wife at the hands of a botched operation that they are responsible for.  

Thing is, according to the police, the husband of this woman was killed in a car crash when he learned of her passing.

Phibes couldn’t be the killer.  Right?!  Right.  Unless . . . 

Co-starring Joseph Cotton as Dr. Versalius, the beautiful Caroline Monroe as Victoria, Virginia North as Vulnavia, his mute assistant, and featuring a hilarious cameo from British comedian Terry Thomas, The Abominable Dr. Phibes is the one which kickstarted the series of this murderous fiend and got the journey of Phibes off on a good and a VERY groovy foot.  The cult classic is hilarious, dark, demented, and completely over the top.  Is it a love story?  A horror film?  Complete camp?  Or is it a tragedy?  You decide as Dr. Phibes takes matters into his own hands time and time again.Dr. Phibes Double Feature

Dr. Phibes Rises Again, also directed by Fuest, might not be as successful as the first film, but HOLY HELL is it ever an unforgettable journey into his demented mind as he returns from suspended animation to find his house destroyed and his map stolen.  Map?  What map?!  Oh, you know, the one which will lead him to the River of Life.  

Okay, so while it may be more outlandish in its overall characterization, Dr. Phibes Rises Again doubles down in its approach to both the character and his mission to kill, kill, and kill again thanks to the dry wit and the dark humor which has him leading the detectives on his trail to Egypt and features a whole lot of scorpions!  Plus, with the inclusion of Peter Cushing and Robert Quarry, we have a top notch cast to join in on the Phibes-minded phun!

The bizarreness of the Dr. Phibes movies are so unique that they really do have to be seen to be believed and appreciated.  There probably will never be another horror series as deliriously crazy, macabre mod, and outlandish as Price as Dr. Phibes.  Kino Lorber goes for the jugular with this two-fer of Phibes phun!

5/5 beers

 

Dr. Phibes Double Feature

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- April 12, 2022
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
The Abominable Dr. Phibes: English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono; Dr. Phibes Rises Again!: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Meet Doctor Phibes: a one-time concert musician who’s now an all-time crazed murderer. In this clever, crypt-kicking classic, horrormeister Vincent Price (The Raven, The Last Man on Earth) plays a diabolical doc seeking the ultimate in revenge with precision creepiness and surgical wit. Watch Dr. Phibes live up to his promise: “Nine killed her, nine shall die, nine eternies in doom!” After a team of surgeons botch his beloved wife’s surgery, leaving her for dead, the emotionally distraught Dr. Phibes creatively concocts a fatal prescription for revenge. Using the Good Book as his guide, Phibes unleashes a score of Old Testament atrocities—from a plague of locusts to an attack of rats—on his enemies that climax in what may be one of the eeriest endings on screen record! Robert Fuest (And Soon the Darkness) directed this darkly comic shocker that features Joseph Cotten (Baron Blood), Hugh Griffith (So Evil My Love), Terry-Thomas (The Green Man) and Virginia North (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) as the doc’s evil assistant Vulnavia. The sequel to The Abominable Dr. Phibes again features Vincent Price (Scream and Scream Again, House of the Long Shadows) as one of his most perfect horror villains in his long list of evil-doers. The eminent Dr. Phibes awakens from a decade of suspended animation and heads to Egypt with his mute aide-de-camp Vulnavia and the corpse of his dead wife. To resurrect his spouse, Phibes gets up to his usual, diabolical tricks: cleverly murdering people in strange and heinous ways to invoke a magical incantation. But once he is in the tomb of the dead Pharaohs, the good doctor discovers that his pursuit of an afterlife may be foiled by his nemesis who wants to end the reign of this sadistic surgeon of gore. Robert Fuest (The Devil’s Rain) directed this spine-tingling romp that features Robert Quarry (Madhouse), Peter Jeffrey (Ring of Bright Water), Fiona Lewis (Tintorera) and Hugh Griffith (Cry of the Banshee), with guest stars Peter Cushing (The Skull), Beryl Reid (The Killing of Sister George) and Terry-Thomas (Danger: Diabolik).

Video:

Framed in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the images on both these films are killer!   Seeing Dr. Phibes in his laboratory is a true delight. The results are grand and scenic, punctuated by sterling blues of the surrounding skies and the ripe greens of the fertile land below. There are a lot of cityscapes used here. Streets are loaded with textures and backgrounds are shadow-laden. It all looks great. The vibrant results extend to the fashion trends of the time because – especially on blu-ray – there’s no denying that this was a definite period of fashion peaks. Clothing is tight, ribbed, and full of textures. Colors are saturated and black levels are strong. Contrast is good. Grain is also strong, never dipping in quality.

Audio:

A strong DTS-Mono track is used for both films.

Supplements:

Commentary:

Special Features:

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars

 

Art

Dr. Phibes Double Feature

 

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