The Manitou

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The Manitou
The Manitou - 1978 - Poster.png
1977 theatrical poster
Directed by William Girdler
Produced by Herman Weist
Melvin Simon
William Girdler
Jon Cedar
Written by Graham Masterton (novel)
Jon Cedar
Thomas Pope
William Girdler
Starring Tony Curtis
Susan Strasberg
Stella Stevens
Jon Cedar
Ann Sothern
Burgess Meredith
Michael Ansara
Paul Mantee
Jeanette Nolan
Lurene Tuttle
Hugh Corcoran
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Cinematography Michel Hugo
Edited by Bub Asman
Distributed by Avco Embassy Pictures
Release dates
April 28, 1978
Running time
104 minutes
Country Canada
United States
Language English

The Manitou is an American horror film from 1978 with Tony Curtis and Susan Strasberg, based on a 1975 book by Graham Masterton. The film is based on an old legend about the American Indian spirit-concept Manitou.


A woman named Karen (Susan Strasberg), who is suffering from a growing tumor on her neck, enters a hospital in San Francisco. After a series of X-rays, the doctors begin to think it is a living creature: a fetus being born inside the tumor. Eerie and grisly occurrences begin; the tumorous growth perceives itself – himself – to be under attack as a result of the X-rays used to ascertain its nature, which are starting to stunt and deform its development. The growth is the old Native American shaman, Misquamacus; he is reincarnating himself through the young woman to exact his revenge on white men who invaded North America and exterminated its native peoples. A second Native American shaman is contacted and hired to help fight the reincarnating medicine man, but the kind of spirits he can summon and control appear to be too weak to match his opponent's abilities.



The film was released theatrically with the tagline, "Evil does not die... it waits... to be reborn," in the United States by AVCO Embassy Pictures in 1978. Reviews of the film were largely negative, with a 43% score on the website Rotten Tomatoes.[1] For example, Roger Ebert jokingly described the film as "El sleazo profoundo trasho zilch."[2]

The film was initially released on VHS in North America by Magnetic Video. It was later re-released on VHS by Charter Entertainment. The film was eventually released on DVD in 2007 by Anchor Bay Entertainment.[citation needed]

Original novel series[edit]

The initial novel The Manitou has been continued by Graham Masterton with Revenge of the Manitou (1979), Burial (1991), Spirit Jump (short story, 1996), Manitou Blood (2005) and Blind Panic (2009), altogether now called the Manitou series.


  1. ^ Anonymous. "The Manitou (1978)". 
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger. "The Manitou". Retrieved 19 May 2015. 

External links[edit]