Dr. Phibes Rises Again!
EMI-MGM via AIP, 1972, 89 minutes, PG
actors: Vincent Price, Caroline Munro, Robert Quarry, Peter Jeffrey, John Cater, Peter Cushing and Valli Kemp
director: Robert Fuest
writers: Robert Fuest and Robert Bless
Taxonomy: Campy Brit horror / dark comedy flick.
Plot: A revived Dr. Phibes journeys to Egypt in order find eternal life for himself and his dead wife.
Bluntly: Fun 70s silliness; if you dug the first flick, you’ll get a kick out of this sequel.
I reviewed The Abominable Dr. Phibes nearly two years ago. Guess I can’t put off the sequel any longer. In order to make this post shorter, I will not recap the first film. If you need a refresher, you can find it here.
As the flick starts, the moon has come around to the right point in the sky to activate the resuscitation mechanism in Dr. Phibe’s tomb. We learn that it is three years since the events of The Abominable Dr. Phibes. Hmm…maybe I should have put this review off for another year? Anyway, Phibes (Price) comes back to life and summons his faithful assistant Vulnavia (Kemp). This may come as a bit of a surprise since Vulnavia seemed to die at the end of the first flick. Well what the hay, if Phibes can rise again so can Vulnavia. Immediately Phibes tells Vulnavia that it is close to the time for “The River of Life” to be revealed again in Egypt. Apparently this happens every 2000 years. They must get the body of Phibes’ beloved wife Victoria to Phibes’ secret Egyptian lair. Yep, he has a place all set up for this! Preparation is everything. But first, they need to get the ancient papyrus map that is in Phibes’ safe. So, Phibes fires up his organ (you remember his organ / elevator right?) and they go upstairs – only to find that the house has been demolished! Phibes finds the safe, but it is empty. Phibes knows exactly who would want to steal his map. The only other man interested in “The River of Life”, Darius Biederbeck (Quarry). So, why not keep the map in the tomb? So much for preparation!
Next we meet Darius Biederbeck and his friend Ambrose. Ambrose is a portly good natured archaeologist and Biederbeck is a rich prick. Then we get to meet whinny spoiled rich bitch Diana, the love of Biederbeck’s life. Biederbeck, Ambrose and Diana go to a party and while they are gone, the butler drinks and shoots some snooker. Time for the first kill! Several clockwork pythons invade the billiard room. Yes, clockwork pythons – this is the work of Dr. Phibes remember. One of the pythons bites the butler who goes to the phone for help, Vulnavia pushes a plunger and a gold spike in the shape of a snake comes out of the phone earpiece and zips straight through the butler’s head. Yeah baby! Phibes then retrieves his map.
And now for the return of the wonderful Inspector Trout (Jeffrey). Trout interviews Biederbeck about the murder of his butler. Biederbeck does not care about the man, just the map. He also demands that the police find his property before he leaves for Egypt in 24 hours! Told you he was a prick.
Now the action moves on board a luxury liner headed for Egypt with both Phibes and Biederbeck as passengers. Biederbeck’s friend Ambrose finds Victoria’s body among the cargo, so we know what is going to happen to him! Amazingly, Phibes simply strangles Ambrose! What? Where is the flare in that? Well, he then sticks Ambrose’s body into a giant gin bottle (from an ad display) and tosses him overboard! The bottle washes up on shore right in front of Insp. Trout’s eyes. Biederbeck gets pissy with the ship’s Captain (Cushing in a cute bit part) because of the intolerable 2 hour delay caused by the search for Ambrose. Did mention that Biederbeck is a prick?
And now – poof! – we are in Egypt and get to see Phibes’ lair. It is an undiscovered tomb that he has set up to look like … wait for it! … his old demolished house! There is a platform for the organ and everything! Phibes says that it just needs a little touching up, which we learn means turning the ancient Egyptian relief carvings into carvings of modern people wearing tuxedos and ball gowns! Ha! Biederbeck meets up with the rest of his “expedition” and they make camp not far from Phibes’ lair. Oh yeah, and by this time the cops have figured out that Phibes is involved so Inspector Trout and Superintendent Waverly follow everybody out into the Egyptian desert.
Phibes discovers an ancient magical sarcophagus that was used to hold the mummies of Pharaohs prior to them being resurrected by “The River of Life.” He immediately sticks Victoria’s body into this very modern looking container and continues preparations for the big night. Can you see what is coming? Yep! Biederbeck and party find the sarcophagus and take it to their camp.
Well! Lots of people die in creative ways and Phibes and Biederbeck face off for the climactic confrontation after Phibes kidnaps Diana. So how does it all shake out? What happens to Phibes? Victoria? Biederbeck? Diana? Trout? What’s up with this “River of Life” shit? Does Phibes think he is in Oz? To answer these questions and have a bunch of silly fun in the process, you must see Dr. Phibes Rises Again!
Babeage: Caroline Munro! No doubt about it, this lady was a hottie. She has no lines (playing a dead woman after all), but she is easy on the eyes. Caroline Munro was in plenty of b-movies throughout her career so I am sure we will meet her again. Diana was played by the attractive Fiona Lewis, but her character is so underused that she contributes nothing to the flick.
Sleazeploitation: Not much really. Of course there is the whole undead guy rhapsodizing to his dead wife thing. Kind of gross if you really think about it.
Beasts, Freaks and Weirdoes: Phibes, Vulnavia, Biederbeck, clockwork pythons, attack eagle,
attack scorpions and of course Superintendent Waverly.
Violence: Several creative deaths that are more funny than shocking.
Gore & FX: Great sets and costumes just like the previous flick and one rather gory death by attack eagle.
Insp. Trout, “Now, now, now! Let’s just get our priorities right! A man has been senselessly killed – murdered!” Biederbeck, “All right, so he has! But I have been senselessly robbed!”
Insp. Trout, “A man who pierces the skull of another man with a golden snake; that is not the work of a common thief, sir, with respect.”
Ship Captain referring to Ambrose, “I suppose he never… How can I put this? I suppose he never touched the bottle?”
Sup. Waverly reading Trout’s report, “Upon arrival I found the man’s body surrounded by…” Trout, “Balls.” Waverly, “Now look here Trout!” Trout, “On the billiard table, sir.”
Trout, “Oh it’s Phibes alright! And he always comes back!”
Trout, “Every time we build a better mousetrap sir, Phibes has built a better mouse!”
Phibes upon realizing that Victoria’s body has been stolen, “Those devils! To take from me the true treasures of my life! I shall get them back. Who tries to stop me will die!”
One of the Biederbeck expedition says of him, “Remarkable man. I hardly know him, but I’ve never met anyone so completely determined.” Huh!?
Trout, “What about Baker? Should we dispose of his body?” Waverly, “Don’t know about his body, but we should give his head a decent burial.”
Biederbeck, “What kind of fiend are you!?” Phibes, “The kind that wins, my friend!”
Moral: Never take “no” for an answer.
Dr. Phibes Rises Again continues the fun campy humor from the The Abominable Dr. Phibes. However, the sequel is not as well made as the original. The story is not as well paced as the first film, and the production costs seem to have been less than those of the original. Price changes the pronunciation of Vulnavia from “Vul-nee-via” to “Vul-nay-via” during the flick. I would have thought it should be pronounced “Vul-nah-via”, but what do I know? The comic relief of the scenes between Inspector Trout and Superintendent Waverly are funny, but it is at the cost of Trout becoming merely someone to say silly lines as opposed to the more developed character of the original film. Another thing that bothered me was that Biederbeck’s past was never mentioned. We only find out that he has been keeping himself alive for hundreds of years. We also do not find out how he and Phibes know each other. Kind of a shame. Nice idea for another Phibes movie – a prequel where we find out his and Biederbeck’s pasts. But that would probably not make for a fun horror / comedy. With it’s flaws, this film is still fun. If you liked The Abominable Dr. Phibes, then Dr. Phibes Rises Again will make you smile.
Going Dutch. Again.
Christoffel Blond Double Hopped Dutch Lager
Beerbrewery St. Christoffel was founded in 1986 in Roermond, Dutch Limburg, Holland.
This is the blond lager that goes with the double malted amber lager I reviewed with The Abominable Dr. Phibes. We all know what lagers are by now right? Okay. Double hopping means that hops are added twice during the brewing and or aging process in order to add flavor aroma and bitterness.
ABV: 6.00% IBU: 20 – 30 I would guess.
Color: Cloudy golden yellow tending toward light amber.
Aroma: Nice clean hoppy aroma.
Head: Foamy, small bubbled semi-persistent head.
Taste: Very clean mild start moves to a slightly dry middle where the hops start to assert themselves and then to a crisp bitter hop finish and a short tangy aftertaste.
Recommendation: This is a very good clean crisp dry lager. Nice hop taste and bitterness. Not as powerful as some over hopped American craft brews with the smooth balanced taste preferred by traditional European brewers. Recommended for those who want to try European beer without going too far from the American lager style.
So there you have it! My make-up reviews are now complete!. I hope you noticed that this post was a little shorter than my posts have been lately. I am trying to be more economical with my words. Sometimes it is hard to do that and still be able to interject my little smart ass remarks, but I keep trying!
Till next time, stay safe, have fun, watch cool movies and drink real beer.
Remember: comments, questions, contributions and requests always welcome!