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Film / Dr. Phibes Rises Again

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Dr. Phibes Rises Again is a 1972 sequel to The Abominable Dr. Phibes directed by Robert Fuest, starring Vincent Price, Robert Quarry, and Peter Cushing.

This film sees Phibes rising again, and then heading to Egypt, because the river of immortality is buried underneath an ancient temple, and he's pretty sure he's figured out how to find it and bring Victoria back to life. Unfortunately for him, Adventurer Archaeologist Darius Biederbeck is after it, too. So Phibes does the most logical thing he can: he kills all of Biederbeck's excavation crew in overly elaborate, desert-themed ways.

Dr. Phibes Rises Again contains examples of:

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Biederbeck
  • Ambiguous Ending: We never find out if Phibes gets Victoria back. Or what Diana's reaction is to losing her husband. Or if Biederbeck is dead, or just very old.
  • Animal Assassin: Played with: Phibes sends a robotic snake to threaten one of his victims, who destroys it with a pool cue. Then another snake making the same clockwork sound approaches, so the victim picks it up in fascination at the realistic robotics; he finds out the hard way that it's a real snake with a clockwork noisemaker attached. Bitten, the victim grabs a phone to call for help, and a snake-shaped spike pops out of the earpiece and stabs him through the head.
    • Phibes also uses a eagle to kill one victim.
    • And scorpions to kill another.
  • Another Dimension: Vulnavia is summoned from, and at the end returns to, "The Other Side".
  • Artistic License Chemistry: The yellow fluid extracted from Phibes' body is labeled "Formaldehyde", but the chemical is fatal to a living being.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Phibes, of course, although to what extent he was really dead is a bit vague.
    • Also, with no explanation, Vulnavia. If she's a robot, maybe this one's another copy or something. The rather trippy scene in which the character reappears suggests that Vulnavia is a supernatural being of some sort.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    "What kind of fiend are you?"
    "The kind that wins."
  • The Cameo:
    • Terry-Thomas (who plays a different role this time), and Hugh Griffith.
    • Peter Cushing was to be cast in the first movie as Vesalius, but had to bow out because of his wife's illness.
  • Camp: Much more so than the first movie.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: While Biederbeck and his team are camped out in tents at the foot of the mountain containing the Egyptian temple, Phibes has a spectacular Art Deco lair inside the mountain, complete with his trademark organ and clockwork musicians.
  • Elixir of Life: The reason Biederbeck is obsessed with reaching the River of Life. His supply has finally run out and he cannot get more.
  • Eye Scream: That poster to the right. Shows up in the film when Phibes' pet eagle pecks out a man's eyes.
  • For Want of a Nail: Phibes' plan to kill the manservant only works because the manservant a) evades the first snake, b) kills the second one and discovers that it's a clockwork, c) sees the third one, d) assumes the clockwork device strapped to it means that it's clockwork as well, e) is bitten by it, and f) goes to the phone to call for help so that the snake-spike kills him.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Biederbeck
  • Hero of Another Story: He's not quite a hero, but there's a lot going on with Biederback that is never explained. There is an implied rivalry going on between him and Phibes, such that Phibes immediately assumes Biderbeck stole the papyrus. But Biederback was never mentioned in the first movie. Biederbeck has a longevity potion, and implies he's been alive for centuries.
  • Large Ham
    • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Robert Quarry can ham it up, too, although Price is clearly the winner.
  • Immortality Immorality: Phibes and Vulanavia give off this vibe, what with coming back from the dead to resume their murderous antics. Biederbeck is a much straighter example.
  • Lip Lock: Phibes still talks through electrical speakers.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Like in the first film, the actual nature of Vulnavia is left ambiguous, but while in the first film the question was of whether she was human or a clockwork automaton, here the question is whether Vulnavia is human or a straight-up supernatural being. Phibes summons her from "The Other Side" after he emerges from a three-year coma, and a different actress plays her (because the original was pregnant). At the end Phibes tells Vulnavia to meet him on The Other Side. There are other instances of seemingly supernatural going-ons, such as Phibes and Vulnavia wearing white in Phibes' tomb, but instantaneously change to different, black clothing in the seconds it takes them to reach the surface by organ-elevator.
  • Necromantic
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Averted. Everyone Phibes' kills is innocent, as there's no crime that he's avenging. In the first movie he judged the medical staff guilty of Victoria's death even if they were seemingly innocent of it. However, Hackett and his team actually come across as being rather shady, with it being implied they were planning to loot the site. Diana, on the other hand, was only guilty of going with Biederbeck and being his fiancée.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Phibes gives a damn fine argument why Biederbeck isn't really any better than he is.
  • No Immortal Inertia: After Phibes opens the gate and begins his journey down the River of Life with his beloved Victoria, Biederbeck dives in and tries to follow after them. Unfortunately, the gate had already closed and Biederbeck is left crying after Phibes as he degenerates into an ancient old man and likely dies soon afterwards.
  • Rapid Aging: Biederbeck
  • Really 700 Years Old: Biederbeck
  • Rule of Cool: Phibes and Vulnavia having a stylish luncheon in the middle of the desert is cool. His underground lair is awesome!
  • Say My Name: After The Bad Guy Wins, all Biederbeck can do is yell "PHIIIIIIIIBES!"
  • Scary Scorpions: In one of the deathtraps.
  • Sequel Escalation: The movie features more flamboyant deaths than the original, a more over-the-top performance by Vincent Price, and more comedy.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": Baker is crushed to death in a man-size vice by Phibes, with the appropriate sound.
  • Skull for a Head: Phibes is essentially this, to the point that at one point he poses as a discarded skull in a tomb.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Sooooooomewheeeeere, over the raaaainbooow...
  • Sundial Waypoint: Phibes emerges from the mechanized tomb when a beam of moonlight strikes a specific spot on the crypt's entrance.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Once again, Inspector Trout (Peter Jeffrey). He is even more useless than he was in the first film.
  • Theme Naming: Both Biederbeck and a minor character called Lombardo are named after bandleaders of the time.
  • Those Two Guys: Trout and Waverly.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Vulnavia seems to have come through okay from getting drenched in acid at the end of the first film. Although the fact that Phibes summons her from "The Other Side" strongly implies that she is supernatural in nature.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Biederbeck is repeatedly called out on his utter disregard for all the deaths happening around him. The writers have realized, by this point, that we're all rooting for Phibes anyway, so why bother pretending his nemesis is at all likable?