Vincent Price, The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971),

And the envelope, please.

Just in time for the Academy Awards, recent explosive events in Washington have brought a big screen star from another era back into our consciousness as we make a comparison with a supposed small screen star from more recent times.

Who would have ever thought that there could be a connection between Donald Trump and a horror film star?

But there is.

Vincent Price, meet Donald Trump, who is really no star of any kind in the galaxy. But, on second thought, maybe he’s a black hole, from which nothing escapes. Come to think of it, when it comes to describing Trump, the use of the term black hole is a much better word choice than star.

Sure, Price played some bizarre characters in more than 100 films, including some horror classics. But those characters that the master of the macabre so skillfully portrayed were make believe. On the other hand, there is nothing make believe about the not-so-skillful Donald Trump, though there is plenty of the horrific in his make-up.


It’s been said that Donald Trump is a non-reader, a member of the illiterati. Among other indicators of that non-illustrious status, his recent flub in confusing Kansas City with its neighbor across the state line shows that he is geographically as well as ethically challenged. Though his tenure might resemble a comedy of errors, Trump certainly would not confuse his non-comedic errors with anything he never read from Shakespeare.


So we know he’s not a reader. But Trump is a viewer, as confirmed by his past as a reality [star] black hole television host and an incessant observer of Fox News. It only follows that although he doesn’t read much, he apparently has seen a lot of film.

Tolles, Washington Post

The recent Friday Night Massacre of two of his White House staff  and Ambassador Gordon Sondland, along with rumors of further retribution for dissenters in his administration, provide a reminder of a classic 1971 Vincent Price film, The Abominable Dr. Phibes. In this comedy-horror masterpiece, Dr. Phibes vows revenge on all of those whom he thought responsible for the death of his wife, Victoria, as a result of a surgery. One by one, Price’s Dr. Phibes whacked the medical team through the ingenious and yes, surgical deployment of bats, a frog mask, and other symbols of Biblical Egyptian plagues.

And to think that so many folks have made locust jokes about the arrival of Trump three years ago and the plague he has brought crashing down on that swamp near the Potomac.

The New York Times story about the elimination of some of those Trump has targeted who were part of his impeachment inquiry makes me think that he took a page from the Vincent Price horror classic:

Emboldened by his victory and determined to strike back, Mr. Trump ordered Gordon D. Sondland, the founder of a hotel chain who donated $1 million to the president’s inaugural committee, recalled from his post as the ambassador to the European Union on the same day that Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a decorated Iraq war veteran on the National Security Council staff, was marched out of the White House by security guards.

The ousters of Mr. Sondland and Colonel Vindman — along with Mr. Vindman’s brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, an Army officer who also worked on the National Security Council staff — may only presage a broader effort to even accounts with the president’s perceived enemies.

But Yogi Berra taught us that it ain’t over till it’s over. Let’s read that last sentence again.

The ousters … may only presage a broader effort to even accounts with the president’s perceived enemies.

“Now that nothing you do is illegal, which of these would you like to send to Mitt Romney’s house?” – Jon Adams, The New Yorker

Dr. Phibes designed the serial retribution against his wife’s doctors to mimic the plagues of Egypt as he crafted his enemies list. What is becoming increasingly apparent is that since Trump has run out of locusts and frogs to further afflict his liberal pinko socialist deep-state bureaucrat enemies, along with Republicans like Gordon Sondland and Mitt Romney, who dared to testify and vote against him, he still has a number of people on his Nixonian type Enemies List to deal with, one-by-one. Just Like Dr. Phibes.

In reflecting on his career, the elegant and sophisticated Vincent Price once observed that “I don’t play monsters. I play men besieged by fate and out for revenge.” Come to think of it, Phibes, an accomplished organist and crafty caped crusader, never could be confused with a monster, as he charmed us with an abundance of musical talent through his mastery of the keyboard.

Vincent Price, that man of many faces, might have looked into the future and envisioned Donald Trump. No doubt the revenge part is there. We’ll leave it to others to determine if the inelegant and unsophisticated Trump might also be a monster whose fate is to exact sweet revenge as he prepares to smite even more enemies.

And just like the delightful Dr. Phibes, we are merely at the beginning of more mayhem with Trump’s usual suspects list.

Stay tuned. Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka are probably out right now searching the world to replenish some depleted inventories of frogs, bats, and locusts to scourge the next victims of revenge inside and outside the vast federal establishment. No doubt Dr. Phibes and Vincent Price would have a good laugh at their efforts. Unfortunately, the American public won’t.
PS – Academy Award bonus. If you haven’t seen The Abominable Dr. Phibes, which was never nominated for a prestigious award, you can access it here.