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THE MANITOU - 3 Slimes
Rated R
Copyright 1978 AVCO Embassy Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Harry - Second rate psychic, he's still in love with his ex wife though she's growing an Native American out of her back.
  • John Singing Rock - Medicine man who agrees to help fight the Manitou.
  • Karen - Harry's ex wife who develops a tumor the back of her neck, only it turns out to be a fetus. (Yes, ewwwww.)
  • Amy and Mac - She was the one who tried to teach Harry spiritualism, Mac is her husband.
  • Dr. Hughes - Specialist in tumors who doesn't believe in Indian spirits until one bites his hand.
  • Dr. Snow - Burgess Meredith of all people, a professor who studies ancient cultures and does some Kentucky Fried Chicken commercials on the side.
  • Misquamacas - The most powerful medicine man to ever live, he's returned in the body of a midget to destroy the white man.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Imagine for a moment that you've got a strange bump on the back of your neck. Now imagine it's growing at an astounding rate. As a final insult you find out it's not a tumor, but an Indian medicine man being reborn! (At this point you wake up sweating and probably swear off tequila.)

What I'm trying to get at is the plot of this movie my friends, it's all about a very unhappy shaman being reborn from an enormous pimple on Karen's neck. You'll actually spend about forty minutes of the film learning that, stand by for plenty of silly dialog. Harry isn't quite ready to be a father so he looks up Dr. Snow, after ten minutes of Colonel Sanders spouting nonsense he's off to find a medicine man who can help.

By now it should be clear how John Singing Rock ends up in a hospital (in a skyscraper no less) fighting superimposed lizards, blizzards of grated coconut, and one very mad Manitou. Fighting is a harsh word, mostly it's John whacking ceremonial paddles together and chanting at Misquamacas. The Manitou gets to do all the neat stuff, ripping people's skin off and freezing the entire floor they're on (including the nurse, it's great when Harry is knocked into her and she shatters).

The protagonists play their last card, turning on all the computers in the building so John can channel their power and defeat Misquamacas. It doesn't work, but just when you think all is lost Karen jumps up (her top inexplicably sliding off) and zaps both the evil medicine man and Satan into pyrotechnics heaven. What should amaze you the most is every character in this movie delivers their lines with complete sincerity.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Psychics can predict heartburn.
  • Beer is best served in a wine glass.
  • Nothing fixes failed marriages like a fetus growing out of your neck.
  • Never draw the death tarot around an old lady.
  • Levitation is the number one cause of injuries among the elderly.
  • No matter where you go in San Francisco you'll travel over the Golden Gate bridge.
  • Walls are natural spirit barriers.
  • Medicine men like the air conditioning on high.
  • Coconut makes very convincing snow. (Hehehe!)
  • Typewriters have souls.
  • Defeating the Devil looks much like the ending of a Doctor Who episode.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - I want to watch a movie, not five darn minutes of opening credits.
  • 6 mins - Some dramatic foreshadowing with that background poster...
  • 12 mins - Not disco music, arrrggghhh!
  • 34 mins - Is she having an orgasm or something?
  • 65 mins - John, that's more of a half circle, notice the wall breaking your circle? Stupid second rate medicine man...
  • 82 mins - How about taking him to a treatment room, not somebody's office you bunch of goofs.
  • 87 mins - Meanwhile, on the set of "Earthquake."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note manitou1.wav Amy: "I am calling on any spirit who can help us. I am calling on any spirit who can guide us."
Green Music Note manitou2.wav Harry: "Dr. Hughes called you and told you that the tumor on her neck is definitely a fetus."
Green Music Note manitou3.wav Dr. Snow: "Just assume for a moment sir that this woman - she's a young woman?"
Harry: "Yeah, a young woman."
Dr. Snow: "Just assume that she has a problem. Now, assume also this problem has to do with Indian magic. Well, my God, son, you do have one hell of a problem!"
Green Music Note manitou4.wav John Singing Rock: "The machine's manitous won't come, it's white man's medicine. Harry, they won't come."
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipmanitou1.mpg - 1.9m
Karen has just woken up and is calling on the white man's magic to defeat Satan. Computers have souls and those spirits can give you the power to fire particle beams from your palms!

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
The Manitou
Reply #1. Posted on September 09, 1999, 03:19:05 AM by Squishy
Based on a novel by Graham Masterson, who basically rewrote the same damn story over and over with a different cultural background ("Tengu," "Djinn," even "Revenge of the Manitou").
The same doctor Warren H mentions gets his fingers bit off by a superimposed plastic lizard before he gets popped. Poor guy, bad day at work. Directed by William Girdler, who also gave us "Grizzly," "The Devil's Asylum," and "Day of the Animals" before dying in a chopper accident scouting locations for his first big-budget feature. Miss him.
The Manitou
Reply #2. Posted on February 03, 2000, 02:11:23 AM by adam
I watched this recently.I had not seen it since it played in the theaters.It was pretty cool seeing bare boobs in a PG movie whaen I was just 7 years old.Tony Curtis made it enjoyable
The Manitou
Reply #3. Posted on January 29, 2000, 12:10:20 AM by Normajeane
Oh my God!  I had totally forgotten about this movie.  After I saw it (originally - God Forbid, every time someone in my family got a zit it was EWWW!  THE MANITOU!  Great family fun!
The Manitou
Reply #4. Posted on September 21, 2000, 03:56:57 PM by chad edwards
I simply love movies in general so I don't get any great joy out of bashing even the worst film. But this is a bad movie. There's just no getting past that. However, director William Girdler did his best to disguise the film's shortcomings(there are plenty), and you've got to hand it to him because one way or the other he convinced big name stars like Tony Curtis, Burgess Meredith, Stella Stevens, Susan Strasberg, and Ann Sothern to appear in the film. It's difficult to say which one of these remarkably talented performers comes off best, but you've got to hand it to all of them, they each keep a straight face in just about every scene they're in!
The Manitou
Reply #5. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Chadzilla
Ah William Girdler, I just love his movies to pieces.  The Manitou has always been great fun.  I love the part where Mrs. Kearns falls down the stairs and its blatantly obvious that its a really big dude in a dress, hell it's funnier than the big white guy in a dress stunt double gag in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka!  This is one so-bad-it's-great movie that I can never get tired of watching.  Hell there are even some moments in the movie that are actually pretty scary (i.e. the head coming out of the table during the seance).  Ah Bill, why'd you have to go and die, I know you would have gone places in Hollyweird.  I still firmly believe you would have been another Carpenter or Hooper, given the same time and money and chances as those gentlemen.
The Manitou
Reply #6. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Thunderwolf
I have seen "The Manitou" a number of times since 1986 and found it interesting.

You mentioned in the index of comments the that Graham Masterton wrote a second book entitled "Revenge of the Manitou." Did you know that Masterton Wrote also wrote a third volume based on his origional characters?
This book is called, "Burial: a Novel of the Manitou."

Yes, Misquamacus returns to plague mankind a third time. As uaual our friend Harry comes to the rescue. The book is rather long, but I found it interesting as well.

I will not give away the (cemetary) plot but I feel that The third book does show how vivid Masterton's mind is as he uses an historical reference to The Battle of the little Big Horn that took place, according to the author, on Sunday, June 25, 1876.

I like the stories of Masterton. I give the movie "The Manitou" 4 stars, but what we are dealing with, once again, is Hollywood.

As a spiritual person I would be very careful what I went looking for in a darkened room. There are things that no one should make an attempt to call forth.
The Manitou
Reply #7. Posted on April 06, 2001, 05:55:36 PM by Jeff
I was lucky enough to find a copy of the Manitou.  I showed it to my 4 sons.  We were wondering whatever happened to Joe Gieb, the reincarnated shaman.  Does anyone know?  Does anyone care?
The Manitou
Reply #8. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by steve
when i first saw the movie i thought it was good and i like the sp. effics in the movie i would like tobuy a copy
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