Dr Anton Phibes returns from the grave and sets off for Egypt in search of the river of eternal life, with which he can revive his beloved wife. Competing with the doctor is Biederbecke, an archaeologist who has his own reasons for seeking out the mystic waters.
A lively, spirited sequel to The Abominable Dr Phibes, which misses the Se7en-like rigour of a plot structured around the Plagues of Egypt but still manages to come up with a succession of gruesome, black comic death scenes.
Price returns as the skull-faced, white-robed Phibes, who eats and speaks through a hole in his neck and wears a wax Price mask over his mutilated face, and redecorates a pyramid in art deco style to serve as his Egyptian HQ, complete with clockwork orchestra and cinema organ.
Quarry, fresh from a pair of Count Yorga films, was being built up as a horror star at the time, and is rather a swish, nasty leading man, but the supporting cast is sterling – Peter Cushing in a bit as a ship’s captain, John Thaw as an archaeologist slashed by a killer hawk, Hugh Griffith as a drunk thrown overboard in a giant gin bottle, Beryl Reid as a grieving relative, big bald Milton Reid as a bodyguard killed by a trick telephone, Caroline Munro in a literal Rolls Royce of coffins as the temporarily-dead Mrs Phibes, Peter Jeffrey and John Cater as bumbling Scotland Yard men and Fiona Lewis in lovely ‘20s fashions as an imperilled bright young thing.
The most elaborate murder involves a His Master’s Voice ceramic dog full of scorpions, but director-writer Robert Fuest, also returning from the first film, concentrates as much on art deco fripperies as the blood-letting. The climax features Price’s inimitable cover version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’.
Enjoyable sequel to the elaborate, amusing horror