THE MANITOU Blu-ray Evaluation – Tony Curtis Fights a Sinister Shaman


Starring Tony Curtis, Susan Strasberg, Michael Ansara

Directed by William Girdler

Distributed by Scream Manufacturing facility

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One of many nice unknowns in style filmmaking is what author/director William Girdler would have created had he not perished in a helicopter crash whereas on a tech scout within the Philippines. Tragically lifeless on the ripe age of 30, Girdler by no means even obtained to see his final movie, The Manitou (1978) premiere – and that’s a rattling disgrace as a result of it’s a killer slice of seventies cinema. Primarily based on the 1976 novel of the identical identify by Graham Masterton and ably led by Tony Curtis, who’s positively dedicated to his function and the dialogue that comes with it, The Manitou is considered one of solely a handful of horror movies that makes use of Native American magic and mysticism as a gateway to otherworldly terrors. The preliminary physique horror finally metastasizes into one thing each cosmic and arcane, with the destiny of mankind fairly actually resting on a single lady’s shoulder. There’s loads of camp issue to be discovered however the dedication by the creatives each in entrance of and behind the digital camera to promote the fabric with grave significance elevates this ‘70s schlock.

Karen (Susan Strasberg) visits a neighborhood hospital to have docs study a small progress simply above her shoulder blade, considering it to be a tumor at worst. After a sequence of X-rays and consultations, docs are shocked by the result: her “tumor” is definitely a rapidly-developing fetus – and it seems to have some omniscient presence. Makes an attempt to surgically take away the embryo are met with magic; an unseen power stopping anybody from slicing it out. Earlier than falling right into a coma Karen contacts her boyfriend, Harry (Tony Curtis), a slippery soothsayer who excels in fraud over precise fortunetelling. He’s… reluctant to help however after a couple of salient religious visits – together with one helluva spooky séance – Harry reconsiders and throws his all into fixing Karen’s thriller. However this white man can’t battle Native American magic on his personal, so John Singing Rock (Michael Ansara), one other shaman, is introduced into the fold. Even then, can their mixed forces hope to win in opposition to Misquamacus, probably the most highly effective Native American shaman who lived?

The movie affords up a little bit of misdirection early on when it appears Karen would be the focus. She rapidly slips right into a catatonic state, although, leaving the heavy lifting to be dealt with by Curtis’ character which on the onset appears too slippery and narcissistic to be of any use. Seems he’s resilient and resolute in his dedication to treatment Karen’s situation. He’s a person who is aware of nothing about what he’s up in opposition to – and though his sleuthing uncovers loads of helpful info he by no means obtains some magic tome to finish Karen’s struggling easily. Even as soon as he turns to John Singing Rock, a person who is aware of precisely what Harry is up in opposition to, it takes a herculean effort simply to face Misquamacus. Curtis is requested to ship a great deal of tacky dialogue and his potential to promote the fabric with out a lot as a tongue poking into his cheek gives all of the gravitas wanted.

With out revealing any key moments, I can solely say the movie begins off with an surprising route – specializing in Curtis’ character because the lead – and it solely continues down that very same atypical path. I’m a giant fan of unseen moments in movies, like Father Merrin’s dying in The Exorcist (1973) or how Hannibal Lecter obtained that pen in The Silence of the Lambs (1990), and there are a few nice bits when the viewers is ready to expertise the shock of an surprising scene with a characters. The FX work is comparatively minimal however the rebirth of Misquamacus scene just isn’t solely extremely visceral however the route and lighting actually give it a magical high quality. Girdler throws warning to the wind for the Massive Showdown in opposition to Misquamacus, making use of untamed optical and sensible results in a multi-dimensional battle that ends with a personality erupting in a single helluva satisfying second. The Manitou is a patently ‘70s horror image in lots of the greatest methods and it has obtained a small cult standing for good cause.

The two.35:1 1080p switch comes from a brand new 4K scan of an interpositive, as the unique destructive is assumed misplaced. The aesthetic is ‘70s via and thru, from the delicate edges of anamorphic lenses to the thick soupy movie grain actively transferring all through the movie. Colours are pure, if possibly a contact muted. The element is commonly unremarkable however closeups yield higher outcomes. Compression points have an effect on a number of the blackest scenes. Truthfully, although, that is about as clear as I would like my ‘70s horror to look and, given the dearth of entry to the destructive, that is most likely the very best this movie might look.

English DTS-HD MA stereo and a pair mono tracks are offered, although to my ears I couldn’t hear
an enormous variance. The stereo observe labored properly, with solely minor hissing on
some bits of dialogue. Lalo Schifrin’s rating is massive and eerie, lending the movie
an ominous tone. The one drawback I heard was a dialog held in a
stairwell late within the image, with the voices sounding very echo-heavy and
skinny. In any other case this can be a stable observe. Subtitles can be found in English SDH.

Particular Options:

  • NEW Restored Stereo Soundtrack
  • NEW interview with creator Graham Masterton
  • NEW Producing Girdler – an interview with govt producer David Sheldon
  • NEW Audio Commentary with movie historian Troy Howarth
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Nonetheless Gallery
  • Non-obligatory English subtitles for the primary function

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