Manster (1959) Poster

(1959)

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5/10
First half, 7--last half, 3
MartinHafer27 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is an unusual film because it's a Japanese-American co-production. Unlike a few films from American-International Films (such as the American version of GODZILLA), this one really did feature an all-star cast--not a few scenes with American actors that were added later.

Now considering THE MANSTER is about a two-headed murderous freak, it's actually a pretty good two-headed murderous freak film!! Sadly, however, the best parts of the film all occur before the second head starts to form. From this latter portion on, the film drops greatly in quality--mostly because there wasn't much reason to make this crazed American two-headed--he was handling his murderous rampage just fine without it!

The film starts with a crazy Japanese scientist working in a tiny lab next to a volcano. When an American reporter visits to ask him about his research, the doctor does what any mad scientist would do--drug the guy and inject him with an evolutionary serum while he's sleeping. At first, the reporter seemed fine but later in the film his personality began to change. No longer was he a nice guy but was evolving into a selfish jerk. Instead of returning home to his wife in America, he stays in Japan to have an affair and drink like a fish. The film handled this all in a rather frank manner. Everyone who knows him is concerned--this just isn't his usual personality. Little do they know that he's slowly evolving into a freak with murderous impulses. Over a period of just a few days, he kills about a dozen folks--just for the heck of it! As I said before, all this is actually very well handled and convincing.

The acting job of the American (Peter Dyneley) as well as the rest of the cast was good. Sadly, the film makers couldn't leave good enough alone. This Jeckyl and Hyde-like idea worked so well. When suddenly he developed an eye on his shoulder, it really got pretty silly. A bit later, when a 3/4 size ape-like head sprouted, it got ridiculous. At the end of the film when he split into two beings, I was laughing because it was so dopey.

Also, very oddly, once he split in two, the evil side was killed but what happened to the rest of him? This was never explained and it looks like about two minutes more of the film was needed to wrap everything up right. After all, he was nabbed by the police and it didn't look as if they knew the truth. Did they let him go? Did he survive? Was he put on trial for mass murder? This seemed like an important thing to consider.

By the way, Peter Dyneley sounded and looked a bit like Alan Ladd circa 1959. May attention and see if you think there's a resemblance.
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2/10
On The Slopes Of Mount Fujiyama - Dr. Frankenstein San
bkoganbing16 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The Manster in the 46 years since I first saw it in theaters as the lower half of a double bill has become quite the cult item. It's that bad it would almost have to be.

On the slopes of Mount Fujiyama is the laboratory of Doctor Tetsu Nakamura who's conducting some kind of experiments in human evolution. Or possibly both since at one point in the film both events do occur. Anyway one fine day up pops wire service reporter Peter Dyneley who hears there might be a story. The doctor decides in a piece of sheer brilliance that a newspaper reporter is definitely not a guy who will be missed and he slips him an enzyme mickey during cocktails. The enzyme is something the good doctor developed to speed up the evolutionary process.

I think the doc got his formula mixed up because what we see here is a retrogression into something primeval. Not only that, Dyneley starts growing a second head. And he goes on a homicidal rampage.

Of course his strange behavior is worrying his wife Jane Hylton who just thinks maybe Pete's just playing around. Not to mention his reporter colleagues.

Peter Dyneley and Jane Hylton were husband and wife in real life as well and were British, but playing Americans with the proper accent. I'm always fascinated when I hear non-Americans try to talk with our accent. It's always interesting to hear what others think we sound like to them.

My guess is that Dyneley and Hylton signed on for The Manster to get a nice free Japanese trip. It certainly didn't do either of their careers any good.

I don't know about others, but I split a gut when I see Doctor Nakamura give Dyneley that last shot and then later on he splits like a paramecium reproducing. Watching it 46 years ago and now, I'm still not sure what the doctor was trying to accomplish.

What the producers accomplished was, tax write-off.
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5/10
He Wasn't Trying to Get A Head
Hitchcoc23 February 2007
This silly effort at yet another double headed character, ala Hitchhiker's Guide, among others, does have a bit of atmosphere. But it also falls on its face. The central figure is pathetic and a victim. Since he is part of an experiment about which he knows nothing, he isn't responsible for his actions. It's never clear why these experiments are going on and why the mad scientist wants so badly to complete them. He just wants to produce another species. Why? What is this species going to do? There is a great deal of angst and running around. The conclusion is about as sappy as one can get. The man acts so irrationally, yet everyone seems to pussyfoot around him, event though he's obviously depressed or deranged. It's fun watch at times, especially when that eye appears on the shoulder. Why doesn't he seek out any help? He is not responsible for what is happening to him so he has no secrets.
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1/10
Finally-a horror/sci-fi film that makes Ed Wood's movies seem good!
mark.waltz24 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This could actually be considered a Japanese version of "Bride of the Monster". The silliness begins before the credits when an apparent group of Japanese bathing beauties are massacred by what appears to be an ape. After the credits, the Japanese scientist is seen disposing of the creature in a hysterical manner that is beyond belief. From then on, there really isn't much in the way of either sci-fi or horror until the end. An American reporter is seen talking with the scientist, drinks some alcohol that the scientist gave him, and ends up turning into what appears to be a human male and some mysterious homicidal creature attached to one body. There are some genuine moments of gut-wrenching laughter in both the drama of the reporter's wife coming to Japan to see him and finding him with the scientist's beautiful assistant (who looks more like Rita Moreno than any Japanese girl I've ever seen!) and the revelation of the scientist's experiments on the reporter. Once the monster does finally appear (keep an EYE out for it!) you will start laughing at this movie and hope for Elvira to pop in to make her comments. They say two heads are better than one? Not in this case!
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5/10
"Something strange has been happening to me lately..."
classicsoncall27 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Working upon the assumption that two heads are better than one, directors George Breakston and Kenneth Crane crafted a neat little gem here that's a throwback to all those great horror flicks of the Forties, but without such luminaries as Karloff, Lugosi, Chaney or Atwill. This one came out in 1959, which for me remains a prolific year in the annals of horror, with such great titles as "House on Haunted Hill", "The Killer Shrews", "The Bat" and "The Giant Gila Monster". I can rattle off those titles with ease because when I catch a memorable flick from 1959, I automatically make a mental note of it. So now, "The Manster" makes that vaunted list!

Now before I get too effusive, this thing does wind up getting pretty silly once reporter Larry Danforth (Peter Dyneley) gets injected with some evolutionary serum concocted by Japanese scientist Robert Suzuki (Satoshi Nakamura). At first you wonder what's going on with Danforth's transformation into a beast, because the film's intro shows a creature resembling an abominable snowman or a Bigfoot, but Larry starts developing an eye for trouble with a hairy hand that seems to have a will of it's own. By the time Larry's changeover is complete, he goes full circle with a split personality that defies credibility and merely serves to throw the viewer into a fit of hilarity.

I don't know, there must have been something in the water in that glorious year of 1959 for all these cool movies to be made. A few more that come to mind are "The Return of The Fly", "The Wasp Woman" and "The Tingler". Seen 'em all, for better or worse, making '59 one of my best years in movie history!
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6/10
Cannot Believe I Avoided This All These Years
gavin69429 October 2011
An American reporter in Japan is sent to interview an eccentric Japanese scientist working on bizarre experiments in his mountain laboratory.

I thought I had seen this film before, but after watching it tonight I know I never did. This is the kind of film you remember. Why did I not see it? I am fairly confident I own it in one of those cheap boxes of 50 horror flicks that fell into public domain. Oh, well. Better late than never.

There is an alleged "Army of Darkness" connection here, with the claim that Sam Raimi had Evil Ash emerge from Ash in the same way as the Manster emerges here. I can see it, but I refuse to accept this as fact until I see the source... (of course, it would not be odd of Raimi to find influence in b-movies).

We could talk about adultery in this film, the idea that the protagonist says he "has been a good boy" with regards to his wife. He soon stops being the good boy. Is this the fault of the serum or his own weak morals? One suspects the serum, but he slips pretty quickly during a time that is supposed to be still him having majority control...

We could also talk about the use of science derived from evil sources. There is a moral issue there. Say that a Nazi doctor does heinous experiments and finds out something useful. Are we to use that information despite it being discovered from a diabolical method? The answer might seem obviously yes, but then it almost justifies the method. The same can be said here -- the scientist says he has left his journal for scientists to learn from. But does his gift therefore make his experiments a good thing?
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4/10
Elvira presents a movie in which someone plays a blues song on a Japanese instrument amid a reporter-scientist bromance
lee_eisenberg14 August 2014
"The Manster" is the sort of movie that only Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or the "MST3K" crew could present. I saw the Mistress of the Dark's presentation. While watching there were some things that I noticed:

*There's a white person cast as a Japanese.

*The discussions between the reporter and scientist border on a bromance.

*The song played on the instrument in that one scene sounds like a blues song.

And then of course the eye reminded me of "Army of Darkness". As for Elvira, she learns that her green card has expired - she apparently comes from Transylvania - and she's facing deportation. But of course she never stops offering pun-filled commentary on the movie. It's the average so-bad-it's-good flick featuring dated gender relations. Always fun to watch.

Elvira should sing a blues song about B movies, complete with puns.
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8/10
Fun Grade B horror item
Woodyanders22 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Reclusive scientist Dr. Robert Suzuki (nicely played by Satoshi Nakamura) uses his experimental serum to transform arrogant American reporter Larry Stanford (a solid performance by Peter Dyneley) into a hideous and murderous two-headed monster. Director George P. Breakston, working from a tight and absorbing script by William J. Sheldon, relates the neat story at a brisk pace, maintains an appealingly earnest tone throughout, and stages the attack scenes with aplomb (the lively and exciting last third with Stanford on the run from the police smokes in no uncertain terms). Moreover, the grotesque make-up effects are creepy and effective; Suzuki's malformed wife in particular is genuinely freaky and unnerving while that infamous eyeball on Stanford's shoulder is pretty gnarly. This picture further benefits from competent acting from a capable cast, with especially praiseworthy work by Jane Hynton as Larry's caring wife Linda, Terri Zimmern as Suzuki's lovely, but chilly assistant Tara, Norman Van Hawley as Larry's concerned boss Ian Matthews, and Jerry Ito as the no-nonsense Police Supt. Aida. David Mason's stark black and white cinematography does the trick. Hirooki Ogawa's spooky and spirited score hits the shivery ooga-booga spot. An enjoyable fright feature.
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8/10
Crazy, dark and twisted monster fun.
BA_Harrison15 May 2013
Mad Japanese scientist Dr. Robert Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura) hopes to create a serum that will advance human evolution, but all efforts so far have been less than successful, earlier attempts having turned his wife and brother (who apparently volunteered for the experiment, making them just as mad as he is) into hideously deformed monsters.

Not one to admit defeat, Suzuki—aided by his glamorous assistant Tara (Terri Zimmern)—gives it one last go, drugging and injecting roving US reporter Larry Stanford (Peter Dyneley) without his knowledge. The serum takes effect gradually, Larry becoming progressively more wild and uncontrollable, first succumbing to the pleasures of booze and geisha girls, but eventually turning to murder. As his personality becomes more monstrous, so does his appearance: his hand gets hairy, an eyeball appears in his shoulder, and he grows a second head, eventually splitting into two separate beings.

A wonderfully subversive storyline and a standout central performance from Dyneley help distinguish The Manster from most of its contemporaries; Stanford's insatiable sexual appetite and violent outbursts, Tara's dubious past (I'm guessing that she used to be a hooker), Dr. Suzuki's callous and calculating approach to his 'work', and the unforgettably surreal transformation from man to beast all go to make this film a genuinely freaky and thoroughly enjoyable ride into darker-than-usual 50s B-movie monster territory.

7.5/10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.
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5/10
could've been a lot better, could've been a lot worse...HERE'S MANSTER!
Quinoa198421 October 2007
A super derivative horror movie of the early 60s, the Manster has a title that should go down in history. Not the actual motion picture itself- for all mansters out there, this should be the pioneer. Once there was a man who dreamed himself a manster, and loved it, but now that's gone and the man is awake again...Whoops, had a Fly flashback. At any rate, The Manster is cheesiness indeed, but oddly enough there isn't a good quota. Of course it's funny watching Dynegly cut a rug doing Japanese dance, and seeing the eye pop out of the shoulder (accompanied, whenever there's an itch, by the sound of a whiny harp), or the occasional glimpses of the doctor's ex-wife-cum-womanster. But these are only glimpses of the cheesy and over-the-top like "LEAVE ME ALONE!"

The rest is just old hat: Frankenstein doctor just wanting to make the world a better place with his mansters; Jekyll and Hyde situation (with a little innuendo thrown in as adultery is at least suggested with the 'geisha'); police in pursuit as the manster goes on, back to Frankenstein monster all over again. So it is fun, from time to time, but it's also become turgid over 45 years time, and it's star actor (come to think of it, ALL of the actors) haven't aged well either, with Dynegly coming off like some everyman who doesn't have a lick of conviction in his voice.

Still, it should be required viewing for B-movie buffs, or just those who wonder why this isn't (or is it) included in the MST3000K series. It's got a second head that makes the Zaphod Beeblebrox head in the Hitchhiker's Guide miniseries look like it came from Rick Baker, it's got a climax on a volcano where the split half of the manster is a gorilla (and our hero Larry turns back to normal in a flash!), and it did inspire one of the funniest sequences in the Evil Dead series. Se la vie, Manster!
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5/10
The Strange Case of Dr. Suzuki and Mr. Stanford
wes-connors28 June 2008
"An American reporter traveling in Japan stops to meet and interview a reclusive Japanese scientist at his mountain laboratory. The scientist greets the curious newsman and, after getting to know him, concludes the reporter is the perfect test subject for his latest experiment. After injecting the reporter against his will, the scientist discovers his serum changes the man into a..." according to the DVD sleeve's synopsis.

Don't join "The Manster" in progress, as its opening scenes are very striking. The erotic sight of two young Japanese women bathing is interrupted as mad scientist Tetsu Nakamura (as Robert Suzuki) must immediately deal with his violent brother ("An experiment that didn't work out"), while his wife (another "experiment that didn't work out") screams in her cage…

Mr. Nakamura takes charge of the situation by killing his brother; then, Peter Dyneley (as Larry Stanford) conveniently shows up; a self-described "brilliant and highly underpaid foreign correspondent", Mr. Dyneley wants to interview Nakamura about his research on "the secrets of evolution". Nakamura is a very perceptive mad scientist; he senses Dyneley is a sex-stared alcoholic, who lies about his age. Dyneley laps up Nakamura's offer of booze and flooze.

With some re-writes and re-takes, George Breakston (a former child actor) might have had a genuine classic. Still, "The Manster" is some good fun.

***** The Manster (7/59) George Breakston ~ Peter Dyneley, Tetsu Nakamura, Jane Hylton
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6/10
Japanese Thing with Two Heads
Coventry25 September 2017
Now this is definitely a curious and utmost interesting B- horror/monster movie from the late fifties! The peculiar element is that "The Manster" was an American/Japanese co-production, meaning the events entirely take place in Tokyo while the characters (with the exception of the lead villain and some random casualties) are all Caucasian. High in the mountains, the self-acclaimed brilliant Dr. Suzuki is messing around with evolution theories and mutations. He's not very successful, though, as he just had to destroy a monstrous creation that went on a murdering rampage and he has another aberration locked up in a cage. When he meets foreign correspondent Larry Stanford, however, the crazy doctor immediately sees the ideal specimen for another experiment and promptly puts a drug in his whiskey. Larry undergoes a lengthy metamorphosis, not just physically but also in terms of behavior and personality, and discovers that the pains in his neck and left hand are foreboding signs of a hideous monster growing inside of him. A monster that desperately wants to pop out! The changing process Larry goes through is rather unusual. It's actually more of a "Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde" journey of doom in which our poor journalist gets corrupted under the influence of Dr. Suzuki and his lewd assistant Tara. Apparently "getting acquainted with Japanese culture" means binge- drinking, taking numerous public baths and committing adultery with several Geishas, as Larry changes from a hard-working and wife- loving American into a sleazy and obnoxious … Japanese citizen? That's quite racist, if you ask me, but it were the fifties and there were as many Japanese crew-members and producers involved as American ones, so I reckon they knew what they were doing. "The Manster" is more remarkable and special than the vast majority of 50s Sci-Fi/horror flicks thanks to a few impressive special effects (the eye in the shoulder was copied a number of times) and the bizarre atmosphere of conflicting cultures. In case you can't help thinking Larry's voice sounds familiar, it means you were also hooked on a legendary puppet-series… Thunderbirds are GO!
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5/10
A journalist finally lets himself go.
michaelRokeefe23 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
British producer/director George Breakston presents a campy Japanese horror flick that is unintentionally funny as well as a bit creepy. American reporter Larry Stanford (Peter Dyneley) is on assignment in Tokyo to interview a crazed scientist Dr. Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura), who is experimenting with mutations. The doc is impressed with Stanford's manliness and decides to prepare him for an experiment and offers him a drink. The atmosphere to blame, the reporter feels a bit woozy before changing his total personality. He begins drinking heavily and easily becomes a womanizer; especially finding a fondness for Suzuki's assistant Tara (Terri Zimmern). After a binge of bad behavior, Stanford begins sprouting hair and another head on his shoulder. Black and white thriller of a hapless reporter battling himself; half-man, half-monster.

Other players: Norman van Hawley, Jane Hylton, Jerry Ito and George Whyman.
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7/10
Where has this delightful B flick been all my life?
Hey_Sweden20 October 2020
American reporter Larry Stanford (Peter Dyneley, 'Thunderbirds') has been globe-trotting for a while, and is currently working in Japan. He goes to interview a scientist, Dr. Robert Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura, "Red Sun"), who almost immediately turns the hapless reporter into the latest guinea pig for his experiments in mutation. Soon, Larry has become a foul-tempered jerk who can't help but cave in to homicidal impulses here and there, as he slowly mutates. His concerned wife (Jane Hylton, "My Brother's Keeper") and friend / colleague (Norman Van Hawley, in his only film appearance) fret over his hostile behaviour.

A mad scientist / cautionary tale in the classic tradition, "The Manster" is delicious fun for people who love a good B flick. The sight of Larry in monstrous form (played by George Wyman ("Battle in Outer Space")) is a true hoot, as he runs around and slaughters people and baffles the police. Larry remains a very entertaining character, for even though he turns into this big jerk, he's not entirely unsympathetic. We know he's a victim of somebody else's machinations. That said, his tirades are often hilarious. The whole cast (including Jerry Ito ("Message from Space") as an obligatory police superintendent) does creditable if not exactly award-worthy work. The effects are a blast; especially cool is that scene where Larry notices an eyeball has appeared on his right shoulder. And that is when this movie really starts to cook. Terri Zimmern (another cast member here making the only feature film appearance of their career) supplies some sex appeal as the assistant to Suzuki who realizes that she has fallen for Larry. Nakamura is solid as the antagonist who is portrayed in an even-handed way: he does express regret late in the game.

If you are anything like this viewer and have a BIG soft spot in your heart for "monster on the loose" programmers, you too will likely find this to be highly engaging entertainment.

Seven out of 10.
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4/10
Rough and ready sci-fi yarn.
CinemaSerf18 October 2021
Larry Dyneley ("Stanford") is a reporter working in Japan, where he interviews experimental scientist "Dr. Suzuki" (Tetsuo Nakamura). During their chat, the doctor concludes that this man might just be the perfect guinea pig for this latest idea - and proceeds to drug him and then inject him with a secret serum. The results: well poor old "Stanford" becomes a marauding beast with two heads. In theory this could have been decent, but the acting is shocking, the production really basic and the effects rely way to heavily on a rousing score and some creative, but limited, use of light and shade. Why any of this is going on in the first place is anyone's guess too. Sorry, but I lost interest fairly quickly. Mercifully short, but still nonsense.
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8/10
Yeah yeah I saw this as a kid too
preppy-321 December 2004
It seems EVERYBODY here remembers seeing this on TV as a kid. I remember a local station that showed two horror films every Saturday afternoon for years. There were a lot that they showed constantly (mostly the stupid Godzilla films) and this was one of them.

I saw it when I was in high school and, like everybody else here, was completely grossed out by the eye in the shoulder scene. But I HAD to laugh when you saw the second head "growing"--it takes place in almost total darkness and looks just like a balloon being blown up (which it probably was). I also remember the deformed woman in the cage and the ape-like creature the scientist shoots at the beginning. And I really liked the scene when you saw the Manster split in half with both heads screaming! Not a good movie at all but a prime example of a 1960s exploitation flick.

Haven't seen this in years--the video version seems to have disappeared. It should be on DVD.
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8/10
Lusciously Lurid Surreal Cinema
LeonLouisRicci13 July 2012
A lusciously lurid monster movie that takes the "split" personality genre to its logical conclusion. An American/Japanese ultra low budget production that delivers the goods with excessive amounts of sex, violence and atmospheric sets that betray its limits.

Young movie goers today will probably find much to giggle about but undoubtedly some of the laughter will be of a defensive nature. Because there is truly some disturbing images and subversive things going on here.

The mad lab scenes are impressively expressionistic and effective as are the monstrosities created by the nutty professor. There are many silly films of this nature in that era from quick buck makers. This is not one of them. A surreal treat, overlooked, and under-appreciated.
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5/10
Not a bad little mad scientist/monster film.
poolandrews3 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The Manster is set in Japan where an American named Larry Stanford (Peter Dyneley) works as a foreign news correspondent, Stanford is invited to interview a Japanese scientist named Dr. Robert Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura) in his mountain top laboratory. While there Suzuki drugs Stanford's drink & injects him with an experimental serum he has been working on, at first Larry seems fine but soon changes as he becomes aggressive, hateful & rather unpleasant. Stanford begins an affair with Suzuki's female assistant Tara (Terri Zimmern) but this part of Suzuki's plan to keep an eye on him, soon Stanford begins to change psychically as well as mentally with an eyeball appearing to grow out of his shoulder which eventually grow's into another full size head. As a two headed freak Stanford goes on a killing spree but realises that his only hope is to go back to Suzuki & try to get him to reverse the horrifying transformation...

This American & Japanese co-production was directed by George P. Breakston (also credited as producer) & Kenneth C. Crane (also credited as editor) who manage to turn in a pretty decent little mad scientist monster film that is far better than many similar efforts from the same period. It has to be said that the two headed monster/man genre hasn't fared too well, the only two other examples I can think of are the much derided pair The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant (1971) & The Thing with Two Heads (1972) both of which are extremely silly films so it's somewhat of a surprise that The Manster manages to pull off the two headed monster plot with a degree of respectability. For it relatively brief 72 minute duration (brief when compared to some of today's two & a half hour marathon's anyway) The Manster is pretty effective, it's a strange film for the period as although it deals with horrible experiments which lead to a monster that kills people the script has an entire cultural subtext as it follows an American in Japan & there are plenty of way the script can be interpreted with Japan & it's culture 'infecting' Stanford & the scene at the end in which the brutish part of him that is brought out by the serum detaches itself & is destroyed (along with his Japanese lover) after which Stanford returns to 'normal' could be considered a racist attempt at making a point that Japan is evil & the aspects of it & it's culture infected Stanford & his salvation at the end is when this Japanese part of him is weeded out & destroyed. Or then again maybe I am just thinking about it too much. It's just that the script tries to suggest that Stanford isn't himself & that there's something wrong with him for shunning his wife & traditional American values, well that's the feel I get from it rightly or wrongly.

The Manster moves along at a decent pace, it takes itself pretty seriously & is fair entertainment. The Manster in feel & tone is closer to a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde split personality story rather than a two-headed monster film & you sort of sense the makers had lofty ambitions. There are some good scenes here with the infamous eyeball in the shoulder a particular stand-out & even the two-headed monster at the end looks alright although the hairy beast thing looks rubbish & there's also a disfigured woman that Suzuki keeps locked up. Talking of Suzuki it's never really explained what he hopes to achieve by the experiments he conducts or why Larry Stanford is such a perfect specimen, none of his experiments seem to mean anything. The opening titles feature a goof as the credits misspell the word original during the 'from an original story by' credit.

Actually filmed in Japan which is unusual for an American production at the time, shot in black and white the film looks fine & while it has dated a bit it's still watchable enough. The acting is alright, no-one is terrible but no-one is brilliant either.

The Manster is a pretty good late 50's black and white sci-fi horror film that tries to make a point about culture, adultery & controlling the evil inside us that is actually more fun when it's a straight monster film rather than a soap opera styled moral drama. Not bad at all & worth checking out.
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6/10
dark film about the monster inside all of us
dbborroughs8 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
American in Japan is unknowingly experiment on by a Japanese scientist. The result is the growth of a second head and weird personality changes.

Strange American Japanese co-production is the sort of thing that only a deranged mind might come up with. A dark tale filmed in harsh black and white tones this is a movie that seems to be more nightmare than movie. The film doesn't really make a great deal of sense and is often silly, but there is something about the way the film unfolds and the stark images (the volcano at the end seems more like the entrance to hell) that keeps you watching. I like the film but I don't love it. I think part of the problem is that the film, flaws aside is not a really pleasant film. There is something off putting about the film that makes it a tough film to love. That said I think its worth seeing. Is it a great film? probably not but it is a unique one.
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6/10
Geisha girls and a two headed monster
kevinolzak4 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"The Manster" was a cheap black and white US coproduction through United Artists, which was required to do a certain quota in Japan, US distribution by Lopert Pictures, a specialist in foreign titles, in fact the bottom of a double bill with the superior yet far more sober French entry "The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus." As outrageous as the idea of a two headed monster can be, this qualifies as the first and certainly better than 1971's "The Incredible 2 Headed Transplant" (played straight) or 1972's "The Thing with 2 Heads" (a farce), and a more adult approach as well, a specifically American slant on Asian culture, filled with gorgeous geisha girls and pleasure palaces. Lest one believe it's a modern fantasy of exotica we're also dealt a decidedly old fashioned mad scientist, Dr. Robert Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura), seeking to prove who knows what (something about evolution and cosmic rays) by experimenting on his own wife and brother before the welcome arrival of foreign correspondent Joel McCrea, actually Peter Dyneley as Larry Stanford, come to do an article on Suzuki's work. Never one to decline a drink, Stanford downs a mickey and promptly receives an injection in the right shoulder, initiating a change from devoted husband eager to return to his lonely wife Linda (Jane Hylton, "Circus of Horrors") to debauched alcoholic unwilling to go back to work, graduating to murder after his hand grows into a hairy claw (once bandaged, he claims it was burned). Enjoying the company of Suzuki's beautiful assistant (Terri Zimmern in her only film), Stanford promptly rejects poor Linda then feels excruciating pain on that darn shoulder, whipping off his shirt to reveal a huge eyeball staring back! The suggestion of a psychiatrist is enough to cause the eye to emerge into an entire head with permanent scowl and sharp teeth, and when Stanford stalks the doctor in his office both heads can be seen gnashing their sharp fangs (a genuinely chilling effect). More victims follow and a lengthy police chase before the afflicted manster ends up back at Dr. Suzuki's mountain lair, easily dispatching his adversary before carrying off the girl as his prize. Only in the last few moments do we finally get what the alternate title promised ("The Split"), as the monster tears itself away from the reporter's body into a hairy beast (conveniently done behind a tree, the only way they could pull off the impossible), both it and the girl taking a dive into the volcano leaving Stanford to wonder how any man would literally be beside himself! To the uninitiated it may be disappointing that the eye doesn't appear on the shoulder until the 45 minute mark, and the climactic battle between man and monster doesn't even last 90 seconds; otherwise it's literally an eye opening creature feature filmed in English that actually proves that two heads are indeed better than one. The acting isn't terribly good (Peter Dyneley and Jane Hylton truly husband and wife in real life) but Tetsu Nakamura makes for an entertaining mad medico, using his occasional pseudonym Setoshi Nakamura (actually his real name), a Canadian-born actor fluent in both English and Japanese who played small parts in numerous Toho pictures like "The Mysterians," "The H-Man," "The Human Vapor," "Mothra," "Atragon," "Latitude Zero," and "Yog - Monster from Space." As if two heads were needed to direct this movie there are two directors listed - George P. Breakston was a former child actor who became a globetrotting filmmaker in later years, previously at the helm for "The White Huntress" (shot on location in Kenya), while Kenneth G. Crane was a veteran editor who performed double duty as director/editor on three other occasions, including John Carradine's "Half Human" (Hollywood scenes only) and the Jim Davis snoozefest "Monster from Green Hell." It's not great art but loads more fun than it should be, and delivered more than a few nightmares to impressionable youngsters viewing on television. Toho's "The H-Man" would depict the underworld in an adult and sensuous manner but this little opus is uniquely bizarre.
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Not terrible, but routine for the most part
Wizard-84 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Over the years, there haven't been that many movie co-productions between Japan and The United States. "The Manster" gives some clues as to why that may be the case. As I said in my summary line, the movie isn't terrible. The Japan setting does add a little flavor, and occasionally there is some atmospheric direction. But for the most part, the movie comes across as routine. You will recognize elements like the mad scientist and his innocent victim from other movies you've seen before, enough that you'll be able to predict much of what will happen before it actually does. There are additional problems, like the villain disappearing for really long periods of time, a protagonist who isn't very likable, and the fact that very little is done with the idea of a monster with two heads. I will say it again: This is not a terrible movie, but I can only really recommend it for die hard fans of '50s horror movies and/or Japanese cinema.
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"He's Like An Animal Now!"...
azathothpwiggins29 July 2018
THE MANSTER opens with a brutal slaying via ferocious, hairy beast.

Enter Dr. Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura), a mad science major, who keeps his failed experiments caged in his basement. Reporter, Larry Stanford (Peter Dyneley) arrives to get the scoop on Suzuki's work. Unfortunately, Suzuki has plans for Stanford.

In a jiffy, Stanford is drugged and becomes Suzuki's latest guinea pig. Having been injected with a serum, Larry's personality begins to change, turning him into a surly playboy, much to his wife's chagrin.

Of course, this is the least of his problems, and soon Stanford learns what Suzuki has really done to him. Let's just say that Larry's about to get a splitting headache! How could a murderous rampage not result?

A solid block of cheddar, this movie boasts several classic scenes, including the "shoulder", "inflating head", and "separation" sequences. Monster-on-the-loose fanatics will love this!

EXTRA POINTS FOR: Dr. Suzuki's beautiful assistant, Tara (Terri Zimmern), whose beauty somehow escapes the black hole-pull of this movie's schlock! Astonishingly, this was her only movie role!...
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7/10
This Japanese/US sci-fi horror is great fun
Red-Barracuda4 June 2013
I think it would only be fair to say that The Manster is something of a cult item. It isn't especially well known but when you see it you'll probably remember it. For one thing, it's a US/Japanese co-production which wasn't exactly common in the 50's, especially given the proximity to the end of the Second World War and the atomic bomb. As it is, this one is set in Japan but with an American lead. It's about a mad scientist who experiments with mutations; he injects an American journalist with a serum which results in the man turning into....the Manster! Perhaps unsurprisingly, this creature is half man, half monster.

There's nothing very original in any of this when you describe it of course but that's only telling half the story. The transformation of the Manster is somewhat memorable. At first the poor journalist develops a hairy hand but soon after things begin to go into hyper-drive. An ominous eye appears on his shoulder, which in turn soon sprouts a second head! This climaxes in him splitting apart into a man and a monster (this scene was paid homage to by Sam Raimi in Army of Darkness, no less). All this stuff is really great. It's kind of silly but I guess it more than likely freaked a few folks out back in the day. But there is more to this one that an interesting monster – there are also two interesting women. Firstly there is the mad scientist's wife who is kept in a cage; the woman is a disturbing mutant as a result of one of his insane experiments. Secondly there is Tara his assistant, played by the gorgeous Terri Zimmern who doesn't seem to have acted in anything else; something of a shame considering that she is the best actor on show.

This is one of those 50's sci-fi horror flicks that does kind of deliver on its promise. It's a very campy movie of course and it hardly could be accused of taking itself too seriously. On the other hand it does work as a horror film in that it has some pretty striking and memorable imagery; as well as the Manster and the mutant wife, we also have a fairly explosive finale on top an erupting volcano. I think for sure the combination of an American sensibility with Japanese influence is a big part of the reason that the Manster turned out so distinctive. But whatever the case this one is a bit of a blast.
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5/10
A Pleasant Surprise
Rainey-Dawn13 January 2016
This film surprised me - better than I ever expected it to be. Something about it reminds me a little bit of Jekyll & Hyde and to a lesser degree The Wolf Man... I can't place my finger on it but I think it was the chase scenes. The Manster may not be quite as good as the 2 films I mentioned but it's almost to the level of them - quite a good film.

A mad scientist is interviewed about his amazing experiments. The scientist feels the reporter would make the perfect subject for his most diabolical of experiments which turns the reporter into a two-headed creature - a killer.

This one is a little bit above average on the 1950's horror b-films - they really went all out for the film. As one reviewer said "This is a film waiting to be re-discovered".

5/10
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5/10
Fee-Fye-Foe-Fum! - "The Manster" Was A Double-Header Of Outrageous Fun-Fun-Fun!
Man-oh-man! - Like - Are you ready for "The Manster"!?

(IMO) - This low-budget Mad Scientist/Monster flick really has got to be seen (in all of its absolutely cheesy, straight-faced hilarity) to be believed.

Yes. "The Manster" (with its dreadfully awful old-school make-up effects) is actually so bad that (guess what?) it's almost good.

Featuring plenty of hammy acting, corny dialogue, and laughably stupid situations - "The Manster" (even if you end up totally hating it) is certainly worth a view - 'Cause, believe me - They sure don't make 'em like this one anymore.
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