Wednesday, 23 September 2015
Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)
"What kind of fiend are you?"
"The kind that wins, my friend."
The Abominable Dr. Phibes was so damned entertaining. How can what is pretty much the same bunch of people come up with such a desperately disappointing follow-up?
Part of the problem is that the set-up is not so much fun- instead of a series of amusingly outre murders we get a plan to use Egyptian mumbo-jumbo to rejuvenate the good doctor and his wife- yes, undiscovered ancient secrets in an early '70s film. Erik von Daniken, anyone? There's a trope for you right there.
On top of this the celebrity cameos are dull. Yes, the splendid Beryl Reid gets to chew the scenery for her brief scene, but Peter Cushing (prominently billed) gets a dull and functional cameo role. Still, at least we get to see a young John Thaw being horrifically killed.
The relationship between Peter Jeffrey's Inspector Trout and his apoplectic boss, so funny in the previous film, is taken too far here- why should a police superintendent follow one of his inspectors on a jaunt to Egypt?
I suppose there area couple of entertainingly grossly deaths, the best of which involves scorpions, but this really is a film that can safely be avoided.