Friday, October 7, 2011

Colleenie Ghoulie Week 1 - The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Welcome to a second year of Colleenie Ghoulie. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, (even though technically I guess it’s not really a holiday) maybe it’s because it’s also my birthday month, regardless, I really like to do it up for Halloween.

TV is cooperating nicely. This week brought the particularly creepy, American Horror Story and next weekend has the long awaited return of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

I’m planning some fun stuff for the month and one of them is the return of my Friday feature, Colleenie Ghoulie. Every Friday in October, I will focus on a great horror film. Last year I highlighted the films that scared me the most. This year, I’m going to focus on four horror films you may have missed. I’m re-watching these this month because, although I remember thinking they were pretty darn good; I haven’t watched them in many years.

First up, the 1971 Vincent Price film, The Abominable Dr. Phibes. I’ve mentioned my mom before and her love of horror films. I remember her toting me along to see this in the theater. She would never miss a new Vincent Price film and this one was his 100th film. I remember two scenes from this film. I remember the guy dying by frog mask (you would just have to see for yourself) and Dr. Phibes pouring goo all over the sleeping lady and then unleashing THE LOCUS! The interesting part about remembering these scenes is that in 1971, I was only four years old.

Seeing this as an adult it was pretty tame compared to me taking one of my children to a horror film in the 90’s when they were four. Still, it’s apparent that some of this stuff made an impression on me. I found two things quite interesting. First of all, I did not realize what a humorous tone there was to this film. It was never taking itself too seriously. Secondly, the lack of explanation for Dr. Phibes actions and current lifestyle was curiously absent. There were a lot of plot points that you had to accept at face value.

Dr. Phibes is taking vengeance on the entire surgical team that operated, unsuccessfully, on his deceased wife. The movie never explains why he feels the medical staff was so negligent that they need to be killed in heinous ways. We also never get an explanation about the young and beautiful assistant helping him in these deadly tasks. With all that aside though, this movie still proved to be pretty creative for it’s time.

You also have to be very forgiving of the costumes and set designs. Everything looks like it’s made of cardboard and it’s nearly impossible to determine what year this film is supposed to be set in. In listening closely I finally deduced that it was 1925. All the sets have an art-deco look but no one bothered to be authentic with props and most of the outfits look like early 1970’s, not an attempt for a 20’s feel.

This is a fun old-time horror movie and I recommend you give it a whirl. It’s only an hour and 35 minutes so I think you can sneak it into your Halloween viewing. If you do, please come back and talk to me about the obvious inspiration SAW got from this film. Does that seem weird? Just watch it and you’ll see what I mean. Check in next Friday for another scary find.

Colleenie Ghoulie Week 1 - 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, I'm looking forward to Colleenie Ghoulie. I don't actually enjoy watching horror movies but I really love reading about them, so this will be perfect for pussycats like me.

P.S.: I'm looking forward to hear how the curtain-sewing-project worked out!