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The Crack Magazine


The Dr. Phibes Companion

Justin Humphreys, BearManor Media

‘The Abominable Dr. Phibes’ (1971) is one of the best, and certainly one of the most idiosyncratic, horror films of the 1970s. Set in the 1920s it stars Vincent Price as the titular Phibes who, upset that a bunch of surgeons couldn’t save his wife, sets about offing them in a series of increasingly baroque ways. Stylishly directed by Robert Fuest, and sporting an art deco aesthetic, it would influence everyone from Tim Burton to Quentin Tarantino. A sequel swiftly followed, ‘Dr Phibes Rises Again’ (1972) which saw the doc up sticks for Egypt for yet more grisly fun. Justin Humphreys has written pieces on the mysterious pull of these films before, and here he expands those articles, and adds to them, for a book length examination of how Phibes came into being, and just why they have been so influential. The book sent me tumbling straight back to the films themselves, which is always a sign of success for such a publication. RM