There is a house in London's fashionable Mauldin Square wherein resides the world's most ingenious and interesting man. Your pedestrian workaday mind can't even conceive of his lifestyle. In addition to being the greatest organist who ever lived Dr Anton Phibes is also an unbelievably skilled embalmer, plastic surgeon, jazz conductor, master of disguise, fashion designer, entomologist, egyptologist, pioneer in the field of medical prosthetics, and inventor of virtually anything, including people, through the use of simple clockwork. After the completely accidental death of his wife he turns all these proclivities toward the singular goal: DIABOLOCAL REVENGE on the doctors who had pretty much nothing to do with it. Also great ballroom dancer.

hey cool
Another unforgettable Vincent Price character
but YUCK
There's nothing not to love about these movies

Know what this dreary old world needs? International Dress Like Vulnavia Day.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes is one of the rare films from which one can learn an actual life lesson. Phibes is simply a better man than you or I, performing every aspect of his affairs with impeccable style, art and whimsy. His every utterance is pure theatre, every movement a dramatic flourish, and all perfectly soundracked and surrounded by outrageous decor. No, décor! There are many practical reasons not to wear a cape in today's world but none of them stop Phibes. The man has a picture of himself in profile stuck on the windows of his car for god's sake. Who even thinks of that? I'll bet he somehow even takes a dump with style. The mundane simply does not exist in Phibes' world, nor should it in ours.

Who among us would have the nobility to hunt down and murder every physician and nurse attending the death of our wife? Not I, and even if I did I'm ashamed to say I'd probably just shoot them, not impale them with a brass unicorn head or drain their blood into 8 separate bottles or turn rats loose in their de Havilland Hornet Moth and watch through a telescope while a girl in black plays a white violin.

The point is be like Phibes or sit down. If you don't toss a salad like you're conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra, then why not? For god's sake why not?

This notice refers both to the original and its sequel, as to me they're the same movie. The only difference is Dr. Phibes Rises Again is partly set in Egypt, and {gasp!} has Peter Cushing for a couple minutes.

And here's something I'll perhaps never get to say again - these movies are actually funny. But not in a way that cheapens them into the realm of horror comedy. It's a subtle turn of phrase or look or even the angle of a shot. Or Terry-Thomas merely existing, as he's incapable of not being funny. These movies are just brilliantly shot, directed and scored. It's as if Phibes himself oversaw the production.

One could wish for bloodier kills, but stabbings and such would be crude and offensive to Phibes' sensibilities. We have Theatre of Blood for that. Oh how we have Theatre of Blood for that.

And now Vulnavia. The movie so subtley and brilliantly shows us rather than tells us that she is no human thing, no naked ape that shits and sweats and stoops for pennies, but rather a phenomenon like ignis fatuus that appears only when its conditions are met. She is the pure avatar of style, beauty and feminine grace that only Phibes could imagine into being. And she'll help you kill guys.

So in the end the movies are also profoundly sad. Phibes and Vulnavia are better than us and we only get a brief glimpse into their world. When they sail away down the River
of Life to parts unknown we're left behind, like Biederbeck, to grow old and die in this trashy dump.

Line: "The devil take me? Not for some considerabe time!"