I'm not going to try to convince anyone that 1972's Vincent Price film Dr. Phibes Rises Again is better than the previous year's The Abominable Dr. Phibes, but that doesn't mean Robert Fuest's sequel is entirely without merit. Anything with Price in it was worthy of a look from horror fanatics, and seeing him reprise one of his most memorable characters makes Rises Again especially worthy of recommendation.
This film opens three years after Phibes' apparent demise at the end of the previous film. When the moon is just right, he rises from his grave and is once again ready to seek vengeance. However, this time out, he's not after the doctors who killed his beloved wife Victoria (Caroline Munro, uncredited) -- he instead intends to find an ancient river in Egypt that only appears once every 2000 years and grants eternal life -- so that he and Victoria can be together forever. Unfortunately, someone's stolen the papyrus map that leads to the river, and someone else is seeking the unholy waterway as well (Darius Biederbeck, played by Robert Quarry). So it's a race against time and an enemy for Phibes this time out, but he still finds a way to work in plenty of gruesome (for their time) kill scenes.
After the jump -- does Vincent Price really sing that?
Price and Quarry have great chemistry on-camera, with the venerable Price getting all the cheesy lines and Quarry serving as the straight-man-bad-guy. Quarry was, at this time, considered to be Price's replacement at American International Pictures -- something that didn't sit right with the horror icon. When a publicist brought up the fact that Quarry was being groomed to take Price's spot while filming was going on, Price was so upset by it that he and Quarry apparently never interacted outside of work again.
The film's death scenes take on Egyptian flair in this outing, featuring scorpions, sand-blasting, a gold spike shooting out of a booby-trapped phone, and more. The scenes are quaint by today's standards, but they're still a great deal of fun.
Dr. Phibes Rises Again offers a few other things to keep an eye out for, including an appearance by Hammer Films veteran Peter Cushing (he gets a few minutes of screen time) and Price singing Over the Rainbow at the end of the movie. It's campy to the extreme, but Price -- and to a slightly lesser extent, Quarry -- make it a lot of fun anyway.
If you've never seen Dr. Phibes Rises Again, I've got good news for you. While the film is available on DVD, you don't have to take up a precious spot in your Netflix queue renting it. You can catch Dr. Phibes Rises Again for free courtesy of our friends over at SlashControl.