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The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Horror | 18 May 1971 (USA)
A doctor, scientist, organist, and biblical scholar, Anton Phibes, seeks revenge on the nine doctors he considers responsible for his wife's death.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Derek Godfrey ...
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Aubrey Woods ...
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Darrow
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Dr. Whitcombe
Barbara Keogh ...
Sean Bury ...
Lem Vesalius
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Storyline

Doctors are being murdered in a bizarre manner: bats, bees, killer frog masks, etc., which represent the nine Biblical plagues. The crimes are orchestrated by the organ-playing, demented Dr .Phibes - from his base; replete with a clockwork orchestra with the help of his mute assistant. The detective is stumped until he finds that all of the doctors being killed assisted a Dr. Vesalius on an unsuccessful operation involving the wife of Dr. Phibes, but he couldn't be the culprit, could he? He was killed in a car crash upon learning of his wife's death... Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Probably the most terrifying film you will ever see! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some horror violence/gore | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

18 May 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dr. Phibes  »

Box Office

Budget:

£300,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Virginia North appeared in a play in London called "Council of Love," in which she was silent throughout her performance. "I played the daughter of the devil," she told the Associated Press in 1971. "I'd go around and do terrible things. The people who made the movie saw me in the play and decided I was what they wanted. You might say I was ready made for the movie part." See more »

Goofs

When the nurse is killed, the color of her hair changes dramatically from a beautiful red to a horrible gray (obviously to increase the horror). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Butler - Ross: Good morning Sir.
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Crazy Credits

The cast list is divided into five sections: 'The Protagonists', 'The Girl', 'The Victims', 'The Law' and 'Interested Parties'. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Horrible Dr. Bones (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

All I Do Is Dream of You
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Courtesy of The Big Three Music Co.
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User Reviews

 
An Old-Fashioned Love Story

Vincent Price plays a "dead" man avenging the surgical team that lost his wife on the operating table. Nine doctors in all(one of them a nurse) are treated to nine of the most innovative, creative, outlandish deaths imaginable. The deaths loosely follow the Ten Plagues of the Old Testament, but each with a new twist. The film is an exercise in witty, stylish black comedy seldom seen today. Much of the credit MUST go to director Robert Fuest for his vision of something truly unique: a world in the 1920's with clockwork musicians, 20's music, and beautiful sets and costumes. Price gives one of his best performances in a role that barely utilizes his greatest attribute, his voice. Price relies heavily on movement and facial expressions, and does so wonderfully. The cast is superb with British stalwarts adorning the film all over. Terry-Thomas has a nice cameo as a Doctor Longstreet experiencing a blood donor's worst nightmare. Peter Jeffrey, a woefully under-appreciated actor, gives a fine comic performance as a policeman always on the spot a moment too late. Joseph Cotton does a credible job as the surgical leading physician. Aubrey Woods(wonderful..simply wonderful), Hugh Griffith, and John Cater also lend their talents to the supporting cast. Caroline Munro plays Price's dead wife as well. This film rejuvenated Price's career in the 70's. It is unique, poetic, haunting, and, for me the most important, very amusing. If you lack a sense of humour with regards to the world of the macabre, you might want to stay away from Phibes. It is a very dark, black comedy, yet one that is at its heart nothing more than a tragic love story of sorts.


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