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The Manitou (1977)

A psychic's girlfriend finds out that a lump on her back is a growing reincarnation of a 400 year-old demonic Native American spirit.

Director:

William Girdler

Writers:

Graham Masterton (novel), William Girdler (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Curtis ... Harry Erskine
Michael Ansara ... John Singing Rock
Susan Strasberg ... Karen Tandy
Stella Stevens ... Amelia Crusoe
Jon Cedar ... Dr. Jack Hughes
Ann Sothern ... Mrs. Karmann
Burgess Meredith ... Dr. Snow
Paul Mantee ... Dr. McEvoy
Jeanette Nolan ... Mrs. Winconis
Lurene Tuttle ... Mrs. Herz
Hugh Corcoran Hugh Corcoran ... MacArthur
Anne Newman Bacal Anne Newman Bacal ... 10th-Floor Nurse (as Ann Newman-Mantee)
Jan Heininger Jan Heininger ... Wolf, an orderly
Michael Laren Michael Laren ... Michael, an orderly
Cindy Stanford Cindy Stanford ... Neighbor
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Storyline

Karen Tandy enters a San Franisco hospital suffering from a tumor growing in her neck. Her surprised doctors think it's a living creature, a fetus being born inside the tumor. Fortune-teller Harry Erskine dismisses it -- until one of his customers begins speaking in tongues and fatally throws herself down a flight of stairs, and Karen's surgeon attempts to cut off his own hand rather than excise her tumor. Erskine finally seeks help from another fortune teller, Amelia Crusoe, and her husband, to try to learn the cause of these supernatural events. When Karen's tumor gets larger, Dr. Snow speculates that within her tumor lives vengeful 400-year-old Indian spirit. Erskine travels to South Dakota to enlist the aid of Indian medicine man John Singing Rock to force the evil spirit out of Karen and back where it came. The Indian spirit is driven from Karen's tumor, but will it take over others before Singing Rock can send him back? Written by <Blythe379@cs.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Time could not stop him. Space could not hold him. Science could not destroy him. The MANITOU...it has awakened! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 April 1978 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Manitou See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At $3 million, this was director William Girdler's biggest budgeted film. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Jack Hughes: Don't be an administrator!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some versions include scenes featuring an anethesiologist (Charles Kissinger); other versions do not. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Empire of the Censors (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Absurdist Fun
14 June 2001 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

While I must agree with many of the reveiewers of this film that say it is preposterous, silly, laughable, and the like, I must also add that watching the film is an entertaining experience. Yes, the story about a fetus growing on a woman's back and then becoming a four foot Indian ripping his way out of a tumor the size of basketball stretches the line of credibility. This pint-sized spirit has amazing powers as he can literally freeze an entire hospital ward, call forth the devil himself, and take the skin off of people's bodies through his mind. The most ridiculous aspects of the film, however, are the explanation and execution of how to fight the manitou. Apparently all things in life have their own manitou, so we see this incredibly powerful spirit temporarily beaten when Tony Curtis throws a typewriter at him. We are to believe the spirit of the machine harmed this powerful spirit. Yeah, okay. The special effects are very outdated and some of those will just make you burst out laughing. The scene where Tony Curtis(the former boyfriend of the girl with the shoulder-weilding fetus/pint-sized Indian spirit) and Michael Ansara(playing John Singing Rock or something like that who just happens to be an Indian medicine man ready, able, and willing to do battle with the most powerful Indian medicine man's spirit that ever lived...and this one apparently has ripped through the shoulders or bellies of five previous people) walk into the hospital room and see what I guess is suppose to be space will have you slapping your knee. But the very worst scene has to be the finale which I will not explain in great detail. Suffice it to say that Susan Strasberg(the poor woman aforementioned) is sitting up on a bed topless..., yes, you heard me, TOPLESS, throwing ele trical current from her fingers as she battles the manitou. It has to be seen to be believed. The acting in the film is not very good, but again very likable. Curtis plays a mystic and some of his scenes are good in the beginning. Ansara is ok, and Burgess Meredith gives the best performance in his five minute cameo. The little Indian who could was played much of the time by Felix Silla, the same fella that played Cousin It on The Addams Family and has appeared in countless horr/science fiction films.


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