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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] 4 5
The Manitou
Reply #17. Posted on April 04, 2004, 06:50:22 PM by opatashu
I never realized what a fox Susan Strasberg was. What a RACK!!!!
The Manitou
Reply #18. Posted on August 29, 2004, 02:47:58 PM by Shannon
After seeing this movie, I was wondering?  I have a zit on my back.  Should I be concerened? I had sex with a spirit and am really freaked out.  How am I going to explain this to my family?
The Manitou
Reply #19. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Reuel
I also went to see this when it came out. We were debating whether to see Martin Scorcese's The Last Waltz or The Manitou. We chose this and it scared the crap out of me! I haven't seen it since then.
The Manitou
Reply #20. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by :)
I picked "Manitou" up on DVD a while ago for a few euro... egawds! I forgot how awful it was. I suppose that's what happens when a horrible "director" (girdler) meets a horrible "writer" (masterton).
The Manitou
Reply #21. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Vess
I used to like Masterton when I was 14 or so... As I reread his books in adulthood, I realized what a damn, self-plagiarizing, talentless hack he actually is.

Admittedly, though, his 70s-80s-early 90s "novels" make decent pulp trash for a dentist's waiting room... His "new" books, on the other hand, are beneath terrible - the hack is no longer even trying; he's apparently just pressing keys at random.
The Manitou
Reply #22. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Gospodean
One of my very favorite bad movies of all time.

Unintentionally hilarious throughout--I thought so when I first saw it in 1979 and it holds up brilliantly! I see that it's been released in the UK on DVD. When, oh when will this slice of cinematic gold hit its home shores!?  I fully intend on buying as many copies as I can afford to give to friends, as I've been hocking this film for literally decades. I await its release with bated breath.
AND--I have recently (well, within the last 2-3 years or so) seen a GORGEOUS 35mm print of it, presented as part of a Tony Curtis retrospective at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood.. It still exists and it rocks!
So please, whoever is in charge of these things, please know that an audience for this film is still out here. Don't keep us hanging much longer!
The Manitou
Reply #23. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Maccus
Quote from:
Misquamacas - The most powerful medicine man to ever live, he's returned in the body of a midget to destroy the white man.

Just to get your facts straight. Misquamacus is not reborn as a midget. It's the X-rays that damage his cells in a way that he becomes deformed.
The Manitou
Reply #24. Posted on January 03, 2006, 03:34:59 AM by ***Courious
I saw this movie several times when it came out the first time. I have been trying to find it for years. Do anybody know where to buy it?
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