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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
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
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
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
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
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
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 ...