Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 2 of the 30 Day Horror Challenge: The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Day 02 - The horror film that you relate most to...

(Survey says)

The Abominable Dr. Phibes is pretty much the movie that “gets” me as much as I “get” it. We all know the story of Anton Phibes and the death of this gorgeous wife and the revenge plot he exacts upon the doctors “responsible” for her death. Nine killed her. Nine shall die. The methodology is biblical. The murders are exquisite, original (at least to film) and creative. All the while Robert Fuest layers subtle hints of eccentricity combined with musical genius.

Vincent Price plays Dr. Phibes for which a better choice could never have been made. From his pale, deathly appearance to his gristly, choked voice stuck in his throat and only made available via the horns of modified phonographs. He is assisted by the Virginia North who is simply a vision. Hot. Smokin’ hot (but classy). Price/Phibes is embattled with police inspector Trout played by Peter Jeffrey whose comic relief is only paralleled by the profundity of another major factor in this film, the music. The Clockwork Wizards play the aging sounds of a lost generation alongside Phibes’ classical church organ sensibilities giving a voice to Phibes even though he has lost his direct ability to cry out into the opera hall from whence he hails.

“Nine Killed her. Nine shall die,” said the good doctor. Here’s how Wikipedia recants the deaths:

The Ten Plagues of Egypt
Dr. Phibes takes his inspiration for the murders from the Old Testament, the Ten plagues of Egypt:
1. Boils: Prof. Thornton is stung to death by bees (not shown, only referred to during the film)
2. Bats: Dr. Dunwoody is mauled to death by bats
3. Frogs: Dr. Hargreaves's (who is not really a surgeon; just a psychiatrist) throat is crushed by a mechanical mask of a frog
4. Blood: Dr. Longstreet has all the blood drained out of his body
5. Hail: Dr. Hedgepath is frozen to death by a machine spewing ice
6. Rats: Dr. Kitaj crashes his plane when attacked by rats
7. Beasts: Dr. Whitcombe is impaled by a brass unicorn head
8. Locusts: Nurse Allen is eaten by locusts
9. Death of the first born: Phibes kidnaps and attempts to kill Dr. Vesalius's son Lem
10. Darkness: At the ambiguous ending of the film, Phibes drains the blood from his own body while injecting embalming fluid, apparently joining his wife in death.
It seems that I love numbered, ordered, methodical kills. Let’s hear it from my self-diagnosis of OCD. The reason I relate to this picture so well is the music, the actors, and the kill by number approach… it represents everything I love about a great horror picture. I need to laugh while I watch people’s lives destroyed (play my fiddle like Nero). I need Vincent Price’s hands or voice or whatever behind laughter. I could have easily chosen House on Haunted Hill for this Day of Horror. I need a sexy, mysterious woman (Hello Nurse… I mean Virginia North). I need the Clockwork Wizards to play the mechanical tears of woe and loss. I need a pipe organ, a large pipe organ (no ideas ladies and germs).

Like Dr. Phibes I too have loved and lost and have found love again (back from the grave in eternal slumber in a locked room underneath my kick ass pipe organ).

Let us not forget the reverse make up job of turning Vincent Price in Dr. Phibes who is really turning himself into a normal schmoe when really he has no more of a face than a skull with some remnant flesh. I’m pretty sure that’s the horror movie equivalent of wearing your heart on your sleeve.

-Dr. Terror.

Oh... forgot something. I am Samuel Z. Arkoff's bitch.

Oh and... "you can't doctor, I'm already dead." Booyah!

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