SassyFlix | The Abominable Dr. Phibes

The Abominable Dr. Phibes

  • PG
  • 1971-05-18
  • 01:34:00
7/ 10
186 votes

Comedy, Horror

Dr. Anton Phibes, a famous concert organist and expert in theology and music, is thought to have been killed in a car crash in Switzerland in 1921, while racing home upon hearing of the death of his beloved wife, Victoria, during surgery. Phibes survived the crash, but he was horribly scarred and left unable to speak. He remakes his face with prosthetics and uses his knowledge of acoustics to regain his voice. Resurfacing secretly in London in 1925, Phibes believes that his wife was a victim of incompetence on the part of the doctors, and he begins elaborate plans to kill those who he believes are guilty for her death.

Aided in his quest for vengeance by his beautiful and silent female assistant Vulnavia, Phibes uses the Ten Plagues of Egypt as his inspiration, wearing an amulet with Hebrew letters corresponding with each plague as he conducts the murders. After three doctors have been killed, Inspector Trout, a detective from Scotland Yard, learns that they all had worked under the direction of Dr. Vesalius, who tells him the deceased had been on his team when treating Victoria, as were four other doctors and one nurse. After the third doctor is murdered, Trout discovers one of Phibes' amulets (torn off during a struggle) at the scene, taking it first to the jeweler who made it and then to a rabbi to learn its meaning. Believing Phibes may still be alive, Trout and Vesalius go to the Phibes mausoleum at Highgate Cemetery and find a box of ashes in Phibes' coffin, but Trout decides they are probably the remains of Phibes' chauffeur. Victoria's coffin is found to be empty.

The police are unable to prevent Phibes from killing the remaining members of Vesalius' team and then focus their efforts entirely on protecting the doctor himself. Phibes kidnaps Vesalius' son Lem, then calls Vesalius and tells him to come alone to his mansion on Maldene Square if he wants to save his son's life. Trout advises against it, but Vesalius knocks the inspector unconscious, then races to Phibes' mansion, where he confronts him. Vesalius finds his son under anesthesia and prepared for surgery. Phibes has implanted a small key near the boy's heart that will unlock his restraints and Vesalius has to surgically remove the key within six minutes (the same time Victoria was on the operating table) to release his son before acid from a container above Lem's head is released and destroys his face. Vesalius succeeds and moves the table out of the way just in time. However, Vulnavia, who has been ordered to destroy Phibes' mechanical creations, is surprised by Trout and his assistant; backing away, she is sprayed with the acid and apparently killed.

Convinced that he has accomplished his vendetta, Phibes retreats to the basement to inter himself in a stone sarcophagus containing the embalmed body of his wife. He drains his blood, replacing it with embalming fluid, lies down in the sarcophagus next to Victoria and the coffin's inlaid stone lid slides into place, completely concealing it. Trout and the police arrive and realise that Phibes is nowhere to be found. They recall that the "final curse" was darkness.