My Death Prefigures My Rebirth: The Manitou

In researching the character Misquamacus for my own writing (he was originally a minor character in the H.P. Lovecraft story ‘The Lurker At The Threshold’) I decided to rent the 1978 movie adaptation of Graham Masterton’s horror novel ‘The Manitou’ in which Misquamacus is featured (I’m having a little trouble tracking down the original novel, the first of a series).

What a crazy flick!

It all starts when this lady (Susan Strassberg) goes to see her doctor about a nasty looking lump of a tumor she found growing on the back of her neck three days previously, a tumor that she claims shifts and moves like ‘someone trying to get comfortable in bed.’ The doctors X-Ray the thing and find a human fetus within, a fetus that is growing at an astounding rate.

Karen (Strassberg) consults with her disco dancing psychic huckster beau Harry Erskine (Tony Curtis) and after a presumed night of passion, Harry hears her mutter a nonsensical phrase in her sleep. Karen repeats the phrase on the operating table the next morning, and the attending surgeon promptly takes his scalpel to the back of his own hand.

The tumor grows to a mighty hump, and the second attempt at removal results in a laser treatment scalpel running amok of its own accord,  blowing the doors off the ER and slicing a nurse.

By this time, one of the elderly ladies Harry fleeces with phony Tarot card readings has a genuine possessed episode, mutters the same phrase as Karen and floats down the hall, smashing through the stair railing and falling to her death. Harry contacts his legit occult friends who hold a seance in Karen’s apartment, and an Indian’s head rises out of the table, presaging a sudden bolt of lightning that splits the table in two. By a weird series of investigations and interviews with anthropologist Dr. Snow (Burgess Meredith – ‘Dat Manitou’ll knock ya inta tomorrow, Rock!’), Harry consults a Sioux shaman in South Dakota named John Singing Rock, who travels back to the San Francisco hospital and identifies the tumor as a manitou, the spirit of a 400 year old shaman (Misquamacus), so powerful he has been reincarnated five times, and can turn the course of rivers/move mountains/etc.

By the time they’ve figure all this out, Karen is face down on the bed and the lump is ‘hatching.’  Misquamacus is pissed, not only because of the treatment of his people, but because the doctors’ X-Rays have deformed him. He emerges as a mini-Misquamacus, mad as hell, summoning demons, flaying orderlies alive and flash freezing his floor of the hospital.

Now, this is the one of the nuttiest, most original horror movies I’ve ever seen. I know it’s not very good. I KNOW it. But dangit if I didn’t enjoy it. The FX are what you’d expect from a seventies movie, but that sort of thing doesn’t detract from my enjoyment, because you’ve got to expect that going in. There are some effective scenes however. Misquamacus’ ‘rebirth’ is pretty cringe-inducing, and I loved when he ‘erased’ Singing Rocks’ protective circle. The climax is a bit overly psychadelic and reminds one of Gary Lockwood streaming through the Infinite in 2001, but it’s really not that bad of a movie.

OK, it’s bad. But I’d probably watch it again over ‘Predators,’ which was much more forgettable.

Published in: on July 11, 2010 at 11:30 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. plz suggest me how know my rebirth….

  2. i am suffering from a very
    bad dreams ….. i think it relates my past
    ….. so kindly help me to know my past….
    what is was in my past… and why the dreams ………

    • Well, none of this is really in my line, Progya. There are experts out there to consult about this stuff.

      However, the type of help you’re seeking depends on whether you mean your past or your past lives. A psychiatrist can probably offer the best advice for the former.

      As to the latter, I believe it is possible that the suffering we endure in our present lives ties into transgressions we have committed in former incarnations. The nature of your dreams and the feelings which they engender in you ultimately speak directly to you and can only be translated by you yourself. While it is the duty of each human to help their fellows along the path of life in whatever way they can, each man (or woman) knows themselves best.


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