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Manitou
     

The Manitou

Director: William Girdler, Tony Curtis, Michael Ansara, Susan Strasberg

Cast: William Girdler, Tony Curtis, Michael Ansara, Susan Strasberg

 
Low-budget horror director William Girdler's last film stars Susan Strasberg as Karen Tandy, a San Francisco woman who develops a strange growth on her neck. After an operation fails because the doctor is forced to cut his own hand, Karen seeks out an Indian shaman (Michael Ansara), who tells her that the thing on her neck is the fetus of a reincarnated witch doctor.

Overview

Low-budget horror director William Girdler's last film stars Susan Strasberg as Karen Tandy, a San Francisco woman who develops a strange growth on her neck. After an operation fails because the doctor is forced to cut his own hand, Karen seeks out an Indian shaman (Michael Ansara), who tells her that the thing on her neck is the fetus of a reincarnated witch doctor. Eventually, Karen goes to the hospital and gives "birth" to a silly-looking creature played by Cousin Itt himself, Felix Silla. It runs amok in the building until boyfriend Tony Curtis figures out that his love for Karen can boost the hospital's electrical supply to zap the pesky beast. Generally acknowledged as one of the silliest horror films ever made, The Manitou should please camp buffs more than serious fans. Anchor Bay has enhanced the film with an anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen picture and added the original theatrical trailer as a bonus in this lost genre film release.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This 1978 adaptation of a popular Graham Masterson novel is one of the most genuinely bizarre films to emerge from the late-'70s horror boom. Sadly, it is also one of the most unintentionally humorous and dull films from that era. The Manitou's out-there plot line boasts plenty of set pieces yet the film never manages to gel into a memorable thrill ride. The main reason for this is the script, which wastes a lot of time on talky dialogue about metaphysics and the occult at the expense of the film's pacing. The film also suffers from William Girdler's weak direction, which lacks the style and inventiveness to create the surreal atmosphere that such an unusual story requires. As a result, The Manitou comes off as laughable when it should be creepy. Despite these major flaws, the film benefits from a professional cast that wisely plays the unusual material with straight faces and some impressive special effects (a scene where the spirit of a medicine man emerges from a table is particularly effective). The Manitou also features an unforgettably strange ending where Indian spirits duel with laser beams in a scene that can only be described as The Exorcist meets Star Wars. Unfortunately, inspired moments like these are the exception to the norm in The Manitou and it can only be recommended to fans of low-budget weirdness.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/06/2007
UPC:
0013131332292
Original Release:
1978
Rating:
PG
Source:
Starz / Anchor Bay
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:44:00

Special Features

Widescreen presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 tvs; Theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tony Curtis Harry Erskine
Michael Ansara Singing Rock
Susan Strasberg Karen Tandy
Stella Stevens Amelia Crusoe
Jon Cedar Dr. Jack Hughes
Burgess Meredith Dr. Ernest Snow
Paul Mantee Dr. Robert McEvoy
Hugh Corcoran MacArthur
Joe Gieb Misquamacas
Jeanette Nolan Mrs. Winconis
Lurene Tuttle Mrs. Hertz
Carole Hemingway Prostitute
Ann Sothern Mrs. Karmann

Technical Credits
William Girdler Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Glenn Anderson Sound/Sound Designer
Bub Asman Editor
Bob Bender Asst. Director
Jon Cedar Associate Producer,Screenwriter
Gilles A. de Turenne Associate Producer
Michael R. Faeth Costumes/Costume Designer
Walter Scott Herndon Production Designer
Michel Hugo Cinematographer
Cheryal Kearney Set Decoration/Design
Aggie Lyon Costumes/Costume Designer
Thomas Pope Screenwriter
Lalo Schifrin Score Composer
Melvin Simon Producer
Jesse Wayne Stunts

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Manitou
1. Tumor? (Main Titles) [7:20]
2. Harry the Taror Reader [5:32]
3. Confiding in an Old Friend [7:09]
4. "Pana Witchi Salatu" [7:44]
5. Karen's Condition [5:58]
6. Seance [8:29]
7. Meeting With Dr. Snow [10:23]
8. Afraid of the Light [4:21]
9. The Manitou [5:33]
10. Powerful Medicine [5:54]
11. Birth [7:10]
12. Summonings [6:29]
13. Spirit of the Most Wind [4:25]
14. Electronic Inspiration [4:41]
15. Machine Vs. Spirit [9:02]
16. End Credits [3:15]

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