Monday, October 27, 2008

31 Days of Halloween - Day 27 Movie 1

In "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" (1971), Vincent Price plays the title character, a doctor of music and theology who was horribly disfigured in a car accident and presumed dead. With the aid of his beautiful and mysterious assistant, Vulnavia (Virginia North), Phibes systematically begins killing off the nine medical professionals he blames for the death of his wife. His method for killing them is an ingenious one based on the ten plagues of the pharoahs.

This movie, specifically written for Vincent Price is a lot of fun. The deaths are creatively committed, the cast is good, the humor is well placed, and it's never boring. The movie is set around 1930, but this is a 1930 as filtered through an early 1970s lens, so hair styles and fashions, as well as decor feels a lot more 1970s than forty years earlier. The character of Phibes is well conceived and performed by Price. Who Vulnavia is and why she's assisting Phibes is never explained, which I think was a wise choice. It adds mystery to the proceedings, and North's silent performanace as Vulnavia is commanding.
The comedy among the police inspectors feels at home here, and the actors here are all very likeable as well.

I like to watch this one every few years and find myself redelighted on each viewing.

1 comment:

Dane said...

I agree! This is in my all time top 5 movies. The art, the costumes, the sets, the deaths (gruesome but rarely gory), the performances, everything - I wish there were more like this.