18 June 2024
The Manitou (1978)
103 min.
Directed by William Girdler.
With Tony Curtis, Susan Strasberg, Michael Ansara, Stella Stevens, Ann Sothern, Burgess Meredith, Jon Cedar, Paul Mantee, Jeanette Nolan, Lurene Tuttle.
Strike up the Twilight Zone theme and sit back and enjoy this wild bewildering variation on both Friedkin's The Exorcist and Cronenberg's The Brood.

Genial Karen (Strasberg) suddenly finds a tumor on the back of her neck...and within several days the bump has grown to full fetus-size proportions!

When surgery to extract the tumor proves disastrous, poor Karen must come to terms with the fact that her 'bump' is really the reincarnation of one of the most powerful ancient Indian witch doctors. And said shaman is intent on a new life, through Karen.

Meaning, Karen will die as the Indian spirit (the manitou) assumes its own life.

Curtis is enjoyable as Karen's boyfriend (and New Age conman). The whole enterprise is dotted by a fun supporting cast of delighful character actors (Meredith is superb as the informative anthropologist).

Outrageous from beginning to end, the climax reaches unbelievable Star Wars-like proportions.

The birth scene of the evil Misquamacas is quite frightening, as is his subsequent terror-filled attempt to complete his journey to life.

Probably director Girdler's most offbeat horror outing, this one is not to be missed.

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