Schlocktoberfest IV – Day 8: The Abominable Dr. Phibes


Schlocktoberfest IV

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)


*Spoilers Throughout*

The Abominable Dr. PhibesWhat’s It About: Dr. Phibes is out to murder all the doctors who did all they could to save his wife’s life after a horrific car accident. Dr. Phibes is kind of a jerk.

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • Vulnavia? Is that near the cervix?
  • Sets designed by Brian Eatwell. Yes I do, my wife is a good cook.
  • Dr. Phibes later sold this robe to Kleitus from Flash Gordon.
  • Brian Eatwell, so far your sets look cheaper than an Oklahoma whore.
  • I’m going to paint my own face on my car windows.

    Talk about rubbernecking!

    Talk about rubbernecking!

  • Dr. Phibes kills his first victim with the world’s most adorable bats.
  • The bats just bit him to death? Why didn’t he run?
  • I love that Dr. Phibes’s fake face and wig includes sideburns.
  • His organ playing just makes me think of Slap Shot. Dr. Phibes, don’t ever play “Lady of Spain” again!
  •  Where does Phibes get the money for any of this? Did he build this whole lair after his wife died? If so, why? Shouldn’t he have gotten his revenge first?
  • Death via tightening frog mask.
  • Ok, we could probably use a drop of exposition here.
  •  Where did Vulnavia come from, anyway? Why is she such a fan of Dr. Phibes?
  • Seems like this is one of those movies I should pay attention to.
  • This dude has the clearest blood ever.
  • Is this movie set in 1960 or 1860?
  • Why does Phibes need that machine to talk to the picture of his dead wife? Can’t he just think it?
  • Still not exactly sure why Phibes is doing these Old Testament plagues and how they apply to the doctors who didn’t really cause his wife’s death.
  • Not a ton to say about this movie except it’s odd and dull.

    And something about this just seems racist.

    And something about this just seems racist.

  • Curious to see why Phibes has this transparent life-size naked lady target drawing complete with nipples.
  • He cuts a hole into the floor and drips some goo on a sleeping woman’s face, but still what does the target have to do with anything?
  • Anyway, locusts eat her face off.
  • I don’t understand why it would be hard for this renowned surgeon to remove a key from his son’s chest. Especially since there would already be an incision where Phibes put it in.
  • Poor Vulnavia gets a face-full of acid. The goggles do nothing.
  • I don’t get it.
  • “Over the Rainbow”? I don’t get it.

Is It Actually Scary: If you have a fear of melting wax heads.

How Much Gore: A modest amount of that really thick, orangey-red stage blood, although sometimes the blood looks like Kool-Aid.

Best Scene: The movie takes kind of a weird departure here but I enjoyed it.

Worst Scene: Kind of a cool kill, but come on, she doesn’t wake up at all when locusts start eating her face? Even if she did take a sleeping pill? (which, good suggestion, cop, have the woman who may be killed go into a room all by herself and knock herself out)

Any Nudity: None. Vulnavia keeps her Vulnavia covered.

Overall: This movie is another one (like The Sentinel) that really intrigued me when I saw clips of it in a horror movie documentary, but fell short of my expectations. Vincent Price is excellent, as always, and some of the visual style of the film is pretty neat to look at (although a lot of the sets look like they’re made out of plywood and raccoon skin) but overall the movie feels kind of flat. I never really understood why Dr. Phibes was doing the whole plagues bit, and a couple of those kills were much more interesting than others. Despite what you might think, killing a guy by slowly draining out all of his blood isn’t very thrilling, and fruit bats aren’t very menacing, as they are scientifically the cutest of all bats. There are a few tongue-in-cheek moments in the movie, but they come across as weirdly out of place. I’d only really recommend this to Vincent Price fans, Old Testament scholars or fruit bat caretakers. There is a sequel, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, but I watched a little bit of it and it’s pretty much the same thing, so avoid it like a mild case of plague.

Score: 5.75 Old Testament plagues (out of 10)

8 thoughts on “Schlocktoberfest IV – Day 8: The Abominable Dr. Phibes

  1. Hmm. Can’t say I’ve seen this but I kind of want to now. “Sets designed by Brian Eatwell. Yes I do, my wife is a good cook.” Aww – that was really sweet. 🙂 I can’t cook to save my life!


  2. That tagline on the poster is incredible, though slightly ambiguous. You don’t have to say “you’re ugly” to the person you love? Or you don’t have to say “you’re ugly” to yourself? I thought love meant never having to say “Fuck you, I ate the last cheese string.”


  3. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest IV: Recap of Blood! | Hard Ticket to Home Video

  4. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest 666 – Day 22: The Devil’s Rain | Hard Ticket to Home Video

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