Directed by Robert Fuest, this darkly comic cult classic stars Price, Joseph Cotten, Peter Jeffrey, Virginia North, Terry-Thomas, Hugh Griffith, Derek Godfrey, and an uncredited Caroline Munro!
The mad organist, doctor and scholar Anton Phibes (Price) is killing off the surgical team who failed to save his wife after a fatal accident, while the beleaguered Inspector Trout (Jeffrey) closes in. Patterning his murders off the ten plagues of Egypt (as chronicled in the Biblical Book of Exodus), Phibes subjects each victim to an elaborate and meticulously devised death trap.
An obvious precursor to both Se7en (1995) and Saw (2004), the film also arguably laid a cinematic foundation for the elaborate death sequences featured throughout the Final Destinations series.
In all of filmdom, Dr. Phibes remains one of cinema’s greatest sympathetic villains, even if he is totally insane! A wickedly funny, wildly entertaining movie that I rate 8/10.
Please look for the final episode of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks this Thursday! And be sure to check out the other episodes in the series:
Episode #1 – Shivers (1975)
Episode #2 – Strange Behavior (1981)
Episode #3 – The Killer Shrews (1959)
Episode #4 – The Antichrist (1974)
Episode #5 – Don’t Panic (1988)
Episode #6 – Spider Baby (1968)
Episode #7 – Targets (1968)
Episode #8 – Feast (2005)
Episode #10 – Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Please also take a minute to support my own horror movie: Eggs – A Horror Movie starring Lynn Lowry (Shivers, The Crazies, Cat People, etc.) and Duane Whitaker (Pulp Fiction, Feast, The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween 2, etc.), now funding on Kickstarter! As always, there’s a contest at the end of the video: Be the first person to make a pledge and leave a comment on Kickstarter with the correct answer to get a bonus prize added to your reward.
Ryan Stockstad is a Los Angeles filmmaker with a passion for horror, documentary and experimental cinema. He has written articles for HC Magazine, Mostly Harmless Magazine and various blogs and websites. He has lectured on topics as diverse as low budget filmmaking, short story structure, and the influence of the Spanish Civil War on surrealist cinema. He hosts new episodes of Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October.