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Dr. Phibes Rises Again [Vincent Price]

Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972), starring Vincent Price, Robert Quarry

Dr. Phibes Rises Again begins with Phibes arising from suspended animation. Having gotten revenge for his wife’s murder, Dr. Phibes now plans to revive her, with hidden knowledge from ancient Egypt.  He again begins a series of bizarre, grisly murders, while avoiding Inspector Trout.  And staying one step ahead of a rival, who also covets the secret.

Review

Vincent Price as Dr. Phibes, about to revive from his suspended animation
Vincent Price as Dr. Phibes, about to revive from his suspended animation

In short, Dr. Phibes Rises Again is an entertaining sequel to The Abominable Dr. Phibes that doesn’t rise to the original. It’s enjoyable, but unlike the original, the Doctor doesn’t have any animus against most of his victims. They simply got in his way. Very gory deaths, especially for the time. Likewise, it’s inconceivable when he would have had time to set up his elaborate death traps. They’re still enjoyable, of course, but it takes me (slightly) out of the picture.

Cast of characters

  • Vincent Price (The House on Haunted Hill) as Dr. Anton Phibes. Having avenged his “murdered” wife in the first film, he’s trying to resurrect her. To do that, after reviving from suspended animation, he looks for something that he’ll need to resurrect his wife. But it’s been stolen by …
  • Robert Quarry (Count Yorga) as Darius Biederbeck. A man who serves as Phibes’ opposite number. He’s lived an unnaturally long time. And intends to keep on living, at virtually any cost. There’s an interesting moment toward the end of the film, where Biederbeck accuses Phibes of being just like him. Which Phibes rejects, pointing out that Biederbeck’s actions are all for himself. Where everything Phibes does is for “her! All for her!”
  • Valli Kemp as Vulnavia. A new actress playing the role of Phibes’ near-supernatural assistant. She’s still silent, and still deadly.
  • Peter Jeffrey (The Return of the Pink Panther) as Inspector Trout. Returning from the previous film, Trout is still a competent police officer. And still one step behind Phibes‘ trail of bodies.
  • Fiona Lewis (Innerspace) as Diana Trowbridge. Biederbeck’s lover. And Biederbeck’s weakness, since he truly does love her. And sacrifices his chance to beat Phibes to the goal, in order to save her life.

Minor characters

  • Hugh Griffith (Cry of the Banshee) as Harry Ambrose. Biederbeck’s assistant. He’s murdered by Phibes when he unintentionally finds Victoria Phibes’ body. The actor appeared in the original Phibes movie in a totally different role (Rabbi). Something that we see a lot of here.
  • Peter Cushing (Horror Express) as Captain. The captain of the vessel carrying both Phibes and Biederbeck across the ocean to Egypt. A minor role.
  • Terry-Thomas (Make Mine Mink) as Lombardo, the shipping agent. After Ambrose’s murder, Trout realizes that Phibes is again active, after questioning Lombardo. Again, the actor appeared in as one of the murder victims in the first film. When I first watched it, I was wondering if this character was a brother to the dead man in the original film.

Editorial review of Dr. Phibes Rises Again courtesy of Amazon.com

Poor Inspector Trout

The title says it all–the abominable Dr. Phibes is back and as ruthless as ever. No longer content with merely avenging his wife’s death, Phibes is now bent on her resurrection. Phibes and his mute assistant, Vulnavia, set off for Egypt, meting out bizarrely elaborate deaths–everything from clockwork snakes to a particularly severe exfoliation treatment–to all who stand in their way. This time Phibes has two competitors to race against, the trusty Inspector Trout and the renowned archaeologist Biederbeck, who has his own reasons for chasing Phibes.

Like its predecessor, Dr. Phibes Rises Again adds dark wit and imaginative art direction to the mix. Vincent Price is once again in high form, playing his organ with swooping arms and adding dry comic touches with a delicately cocked eyebrow. A worthy successor to the classic original. –Ali Davis

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