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Dr. Phibes Rises Again
Die Rückkehr des Dr. Phibes

UK/USA 1972
produced by
Louis M. Heyward, Samuel Z. Arkoff (executive), James H. Nicholson (executive) for AIP
directed by Robert Fuest
starring Vincent Price, Robert Quarry, Peter Jeffrey, Fiona Lewis, Hugh Griffith, John Cater, Gerald Sim, Lewis Fiander, John Thaw, Peter Cushing, Beryl Reid, Terry-Thomas, Keith Buckley, Valli Kemp, Milton Reid, Caroline Munro
written by Robret Fuest, Robert Blees, music by John Gale, song You Stepped Out of a Dream by Nacio Herb Brown, Gus Kahn

Dr. Phibes

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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For earlier occurences, see The Abominable Dr. Phibes ...

... and even though the good Doctor (Vincent Price) has died at the end of that movie, in this one he rises again (hence the title), and this time he wants to revive his wife (Caroline Munro). To this end, he is looking for a underground lake full of life-giving water in Egypt that can be reached only during certain stellar constellations ... and one such is rapidly approaching.

But this time around, he has competition in the form of Darius Beiderbeck (Robert Quarry), a man who has lived for centuries thanks to a life-prolonging serum, but now that's almot used up, and he could use Phibes'  underground lake as well, thus has even stolen Phibes' maps ...

However, Phibes does what he does best, he murders Beiderbeck's men in increasingly bizarre ways: one (Milton Reid) is killed by wind-up snakes, another (Hugh Griffith) drowns in an oversized bottle, a third (John Thaw) is attacked and pecked to death by a vulture, a fourth one (Keith Buckley) walks into a scorpion infested trap, the fifth (Lewis Fiander) is squashed between walls - ironically inside his own tent - and a sixth one is killed by a sandstorm - which is restricted to exclusively the inside of his car.

Finally, Beiderbeck has caught up with Phibes, just when Phibes is about to sail off into the underwater lake, but Phibes has taken hostage Beiderbeck's girlfriend (Fiona Lewis), and by saving her, Beiderbeck gives up the chance to even live a few days longer and falls to dust.

 

The Abominable Dr. Phibes was a great piece of horror comedy, essentially a series of increasingly macabre setpieces held together by scenes of black humour, all done in an incredibly stylish way.

Dr. Phibes Rises Again tries to follow that formula, but falls several feet short of its predecessor. The main faults this time around:

There is a greater emphasis on story - but the story, basically a romantic adventure yarn with horrific elements thrown in, is not all that great.

Then Dr. Phibes gets a new foil in Beiderbeck, basically a romantic hero - now while Robert Quarry plays his part all right, he is hardly able to generate any laughs. The genuinely funny Peter Jeffrey as investigating inspector from the first part is relegated to supporting status this time around.

And finally, Phibes doesn't have any great victims any more. All the name supporting actors (Peter Cushing, Terry-Thomas, Beryl Reid) merely have walk-on apperances that are hardly crucial to the film, and all survive the film, while those killed are rather uninteresting actors playing equally uninteresting characters (with the occasional exception here or there).

On the plus side, the film is still incredibly stylish and still features some pleasently bizarre murders, but that's hardly enough to save the film ... and maybe, just maybe (well, I'm pretty much sure definitely) a film like The Abominable Dr. Phibes needed anything but a sequel ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD