31 Days of Halloween 2016 #3 – Dr. Phibes
I was torn between Little Shop of Horrors and The Abominable Dr. Phibes for what to watch, and I guess I’ve made up my mind that I really hate both of them. Little Shop of Horrors can be cute and endearing, which is annoying. The musical is even more annoying, so don’t get me started on that. I guess after seeing Hatchet, the only thing worth seeing Little Shop of Horrors or Dr. Phibes for are the jokes, which are tiresome after the first punchline.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes stars the great Vincent Price and he tries his best, but you can’t show much charm with your mouth closed. He plays a burn victim out for revenge, and he’s silent for most of the movie, because he’s supposed to be wearing a mask I guess, which is why they threw a bunch of make-up on Price’s face. To be honest, it makes him look stupid.
So without the charm of Vincent Price, as in House of Wax or Theatre of Blood, your movie fails. Don’t get me wrong, House of Wax is a bad movie, but it’d be unwatchable without Vincent Price. Theatre of Blood is even worse. That movie sucks. Vincent Price makes it at least passable with his dialogue. House on Haunted Hill is really the movie that showcases the Price charm, but that’s because of the dialogue and interactions among the characters. Dr. Phibes doesn’t really have interactions. Or good dialogue.
Dr. Phibes runs around with his campy plan, helped by his young assistant. She’s played by Virginia North, who doesn’t do anything in the movie. I’m not sure why. She’s pretty much only there for window dressing, which is fine by me because she’s gorgeous. She hops around with the Doctor and threatens a few people, until she takes some acid to the face. Ouch.
The police are really the comedy relief in this movie. Some of the jokes work, such as the beginning when Sgt. Tom and his pals are starting the investigation. But they get old fast. The police investigate murders of a bunch of doctors, which are all inventive and over-the-top. The first one is Death by Bats, which Dr. Phibes accomplishes by lowering a cage of bats into a room through a convenient roof skylight. He drains all the blood from another guy, and they put some white make-up on him, because I guess that’s what you look like after being drained of blood. None of the victims are built as characters, because they’re only on-screen for a few minutes, and most of the characters are arrogant doctors, so they’re all annoying or stupid. Too bad.
Overall, this movie is terrible. In some mysterious way, it’s well-received and has a sequel. I guess from a campy horror perspective, it’s good, but the characters have no development and Vincent Price can’t do what he does best in order to really showcase his talent. He walks around for a while. He frowns at some guy, looks threatening, and walks around some more. About 30 minutes into the movie, Price delivers one line of dialogue, which just spells out what we already know about the plot. It’s dumb.
31 Days of Halloween 2016
31. Young Frankenstein (1974)
30. Jason X (2001)
29. Cloverfield (2008)
28. The Monster Squad (1987)
27. Bad Moon (1996)
26. The Haunting (1963)
25. Splinter (2008)
24. Frenzy (1972)
23. Aggression Scale (2012)
22. The Exorcist III
21. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963)
20. Silver Bullet (1985)
19. Joy Ride (2001)
18. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
The Funhouse (1981) by Tobe Hooper Shin Godzilla (2016)
16. Videodrome (1983)
15. Re-Animator (1985)
14. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
13. Cube (1997)
12. Evil Dead
11. Day of the Dead (1985)
Tales of Halloween (2015) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)
9. They Live (1988)
The Innocents (1961) Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1966)
7. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
6. Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
5. I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990)
4. Hatchet (2006)
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
2. Halloween II
1. Silence of the Lambs