"The Manitou" DVD
Once again, Anchor
Bay goes off to salvage with the 1978 quasi-classic, "The
Manitou". Not surprisingly, Anchor Bay manages to pull off
yet another coup.
And this time around,
Anchor Bay pulls from the depths a story about a woman with a
strange growth on the back of her neck. It expands exponentially,
is comprised of flesh and bone--did I mention it has mind control
Yeah, it has mind control
The biggest problem
with this is I can't tell you much more without spoilering like
no tomorrow. When you find out what that lump actually turns out
to be, and how the woman's friends and loved ones have to recruit
a medicine man from the wilds of South Dakota to fight it, you'll
start questioning your sanity really, really hard. I sure did.
All I can really say
with any kind of certainty is man, did they ever make 'em weird
back in the seventies. Opening credit crawls that take three and
a half minutes of blank space to complete, old ladies levitating
and throwing themselves down stairs, seances that include explosions,
an optical laser gone cuckoo bananas, and lots and lots of green
lighting effects combine together to form a whole that requires
recreational pharmaceuticals to match.
I will say this for
them, though...the pacing was surprisingly quick. I was never
really tempted to jam on that fast forward button just to find
out what was going on. They kept the plot moving at a sufficient
pace to really eliminate that restlessness that sometimes occurs
in movies. The effects, despite their clear age, weren't all that
terrible either. I think they really had to exercise at least
a little subtlety and depend on the story to do most of the work
back when effects technology wasn't so prevalent. These factors
combine together to make a pretty decent viewing experience, if
you're willing to overlook some weirdness and some clearly aging
And then the ending
hits. Ten solid minutes of pure, full-blown "what the hell?"
moments. Trust me on this one--if you were questioning your sanity
through the preceding time, you'll be questioning what's in the
air you're breathing when you get to the last ten minutes.
Even better is a surprise
twist that lets us know--this is actually, kinda sorta, in a really
limited way, based on a true story. A fifteen year old boy in
Tokyo had something similar happen to him in 1969, or so the movie
The special features
are limited to English closed captioning and trailers for "The
Manitou", "It Waits", "Superstition",
and "Demon Hunter". There will also be a television
spot for "The Manitou", and a set of trailers that runs
prior to the film includes one for "The Entity".
All in all, "The
Manitou" is another treasure ship brought up from the depths
on one of Anchor Bay's many salvage missions. Aging and weird,
much like the crazy old lady down the street with fifty cats and
a house full of empty mayonnaise jars, but still entertaining
(again like our hypothetical raving geriatric), "The Manitou"
will prove to be a solid experience.
Directed by William Girdler
Written by William Girdler, Jon Cedar, Thomas Pope
Starring Tony Curtis, Michael Ansara, Susan Strasberg, Stella
Produced by William Girdler
1978 / 2007
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