The Manitou

The description of the film read as follows, “When Karen tries to have a tumor removed from her neck, she discovers it’s actually the deformed fetus of an ancient Native American shaman ready to be reincarnated.” Upon reading that, I canceled my plans for the evening, shut off my phone, and immediately sat down ready to have some fun. Sorry to all the ladies out there, but tonight was about me and a 400 year-old Shaman growing out of someone’s neck.

What followed had to be the strangest night in the history of this project. And no, not because of the absurdness of the film, but because of the insane and all too real dream I had because of this flick. But first, let’s talk about the movie.

Everything about this movie is nutjob. Everything. I really can’t explain how much I love the plot. It might be my favorite of all time. I can’t even think about it without laughing out loud. A tumor growing on a woman’s neck turns out to be a super pissed off Indian Shaman waiting to be reborn so he can destroy the White Man. Insanity! And this is based on a book. That makes this whole thing even more ridiculous.

Eventually, Tony Curtis (the boyfriend of Karen), who delivers his lines in comedic form even when it’s not called for, enlists the help of Native American good guy, John Singing Rock. This occurs after one of Curtis’ clients (he is a fake mystic) floats down a hallway a few feet off the ground, while murmuring ancient chants, before suddenly taking a header down some stairs.

Now Karen is a smart one, no doubt, demonstrated through her concern about the neck fetus that is growing at a rapid rate she says, “Call it woman’s intuition…” Yes, Karen you just may have a problem with that Native American growing in your neck. I bring this up because everyone in the movie seems ultra sincere. This movie is supposedly to be taken as a serious piece of horror. And if you follow closely you will realize that the filmmakers used the same tropes as The Exorcist. Curtis plays the young priest, Singing Rock is the old priest, the demon is played by the neck fetus, and the young girl by Karen. It’s the same movie, but just insanely, insanely ridiculous.

Eventually, Misquamacus is born and sh*t hits the fan. Singing Rock says Misquamacus is no joke, but he looks like one because he is a little person covered in goo with some Native American furnishings. But that isn’t even the best part. The final battle is a thing of beauty that features a topless Karen hovering in the air shooting lightning bolts out of her hands. You don’t need to know any more. Watch this!

Okay, back to my dream to wrap this up. I fell asleep after watching the film and shortly after became immersed in a dream. I bolted up and out of bed and instantly noticed that I was in the ice-covered hospital that the film features near the end. In front of me is Manitou (at his most evil). I am so struck with fear that I am completely unable to move. We’re talking real fear here, people. It was easily 10 times worse than my crippling fear of heights. Then I woke up for real, still paralyzed with terror – sweating and gasping for air. It took about 2 more hours to get back to bed. Never had a movie done that to me before. Which means to me that neck fetus Shamans are one of the few things left in horror that can actually frighten me. A thought to ponder for sure.

Rating: 6/10


IMDB 1978


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