Sunday, March 27, 2005

Last night I watched

and immensely enjoyed, yet again, this movie[^] and it's sequel[^]. Wonderfully bad movies the pair of em. Of the two I enjoy the sequel more - the first movie whilst sharing much of what makes the second movie so much fun is rather more straightforward. In the first movie Dr Phibes is a mad organist taking his revenge on the doctors he holds responsible for the death of his wife. We see him taking revenge, visiting the biblical plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians onto his victims and the movie ends somewhat inconclusively (leaving the way open for the sequel). In the sequel Dr Phibes is in search of the 'elixir of life' that will bring his wife back to life and give them both eternal life. Along the way he has to battle with someone who's running out of the 'elixir of life'.

What makes both of the movies so much fun, for me, is the soundtrack and the gags. The soundtrack is an interesting mixture of 1920's flapper music interspersed with pretentious pastiches of Bach, Tchaikovsky and Carl Orff (the latter composer much more so in the second movie). The gags are pretty standard British Comedy fare but done with flair.

Holding the entirety together is Vincent Price and he's worth the price of the DVD's alone. Indeed, one of the best evenings entertainment I ever saw was Vincent Price live in Melbourne sometime in 1984 doing a one man show where he played the role of Oscar Wilde. For three hours I sat in that theatre watching Vincent Price alternately standing behind a lectern or lying upon a couch as he declaimed. Three hours flew by like the wind. Velvet voice to match the velvet set!

I remember being pleased to hear him doing advertisements on the radio the first time I was in California in 1982. Not so much that he was doing ads as that I could hear that voice again. I think he was advertising so and so's herbs (pronounced erbs for reasons that escape me) which kinda fits with his interest in cooking.

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