Blu-ray Review: THE MANITOU

THE MANITOU was produced and directed by William Girdler and based on the best-selling novel by Graham Masterton. The film stars Tony Curtis, Michael Ansara, Susan Strasberg, Stella Stevens, Burgess Meredith, Jon Cedar and Ann Sothern.

What surgeons thought to be a tumor growing on the neck of patient Karen Tandy (Susan Strasberg) is actually a fetus growing at an abnormally accelerated rate. But when Karen reaches out to former lover and phony psychic Harry Erskine (Tony Curtis), she discovers that she is possessed by the reincarnation of a 400-year-old Native American demon. Now with the help of a modern-day medicine man (Michael Ansara), Erskine must survive this ancient evil’s rampage of shocking violence and forever destroy the enraged beast known as The Manitou. 

This 1978 supernatural thriller follows Karen Tandy who finds out that the tumor on her neck is actually a mysterious fetus that’s rapidy growing inside her. The crazy thing is, this strange fetus is actually a reincarnated Native American demon known as The Manitou and the only way to get rid of it is to force it to leave because these demons can not be destroyed. Knowing this, the doctors are out of the question as Karen lies still in this helpless state so Harry decides to think outside the box.

While Karen is under the doctor’s watch, Harry visits John Singing Rock and asks him if he can help them expel the demon from Karen’s body. The medicine man accepts and when they get back to the hospital it doesn’t take long for things to go from bad to worse. The Manitou is reborn and this supernatural confrontation becomes a standoff between good and evil as Harry and John try to get rid of the demon and save Karen from certain doom. In the end, the two men go up against the ancient demon in an out-of-this-world battle royale (inside the hospital) to free Karen from her curse.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork so you have your pick of which side you want to use for the front cover. The Blu-ray disc features its own individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The Manitou has been given a new 4K scan of the original film elements with a restored stereo soundtrack The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I’ll go ahead and check off The Manitou as one of the strangest movies I’ve ever witnessed. Don’t get me wrong because it’s an entertaining slice of cinematic cheese but it falls under the “so bad, it’s good” category because it’s just so bizarre. I’m going to get a little unapologetically politically incorrect here because the plot really was interesting but when the monster was finally introduced and it came in the form of a midget dressed as a demon, I kind of lost it. This is where the train left the tracks. Well, that and the fact that the tumor on the shoulder had a fetus in it. Why not her belly? Anyway, as outlandish as The Manitou is, it has a fantastic cast that includes Tony Curtis, Stella Stevens and Burgess Meredith, among others. The special effects in the movie haven’t aged well at all over the years but I have to admit that the little demon fella looked creepy cool. As bad as it is, I have to admit that I kind of enjoyed watching this 1978 supernatural thriller. The Manitou will be available on Blu-ray on April 16th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 103 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo and Mono

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include two new interviews, some new audio commentary, theatrical trailer, three TV spots and a still gallery.

  • NEW Interview with Author Graham Masterson – Talks about how he got into writing at a young age and the spooky stories he wrote as a child. He finally talks about his story for The Manitou and some of the cast. (28:11)
  • NEW Producing Girdler – An Interview with Executive Producer David Sheldon – He talks about how he got started in the business that eventually lead him to producing movies and ultimately The Manitou. (11:00)
  • NEW Audio Commentary with film historian Troy Howarth
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:22)
  • TV Spots (01:32)
  • Still Gallery (06:56)

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