I could describe this film in one word, weird. However, I’ll save the cheap review for one less interesting. Dr. Phibes is a sick bastard. He is a serial murderer with creative vision., a true artist. He lives in a world of classical music, beautiful women and dramatic scenes. Phibes apparently snapped a gasket after the death of his radiant wife. He spends his days trying to relive the time with her, while working his grief out through grisly murder, all to avenge his wife’s death. It’s not so easy to catch Phibes either, he seems to be able to hide in plain site.
If for no other reason, I have to give this film a big thumbs up for the unique and creative ways Phibes commits murder. One of my favorites involves a pilot flying a small one man plane. Phibes has filled the plane with hungry rats. The rats dig in to the pilot and his flying becomes erratic. As the plane spirals down to a crash, Phibes stand on the ground holding a flower while a gorgeous woman plays the violin. In this moment, we see just how much he is enjoying each and every death. Dr. Phibes is played by Vincent Price, one of my favorite horror actors. One of the creepiest things about the good doctor, he speaks without opening his mouth, he has an amplifier strapped to his throat, connected to a large victrola horn. I love Phibes, he’s such an interesting character. Then again, anyone who keeps an orchestra handy, in their home, to play on their command is alright in my book. Phibes knows, sometimes what life really needs is a little background music.