The Manster

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The Manster
Japanese theatrical release poster
Directed by
Screenplay byWalter J. Sheldon
Story byGeorge P. Breakston
Produced byGeorge P. Breakston
CinematographyDavid Mason
Edited byKenneth G. Crane
Music byHiroki Ogawa
Distributed byLopert Pictures
Release dates
  • 10 July 1959 (1959-07-10) (Tokyo)
  • 28 March 1962 (1962-03-28) (United States)
Running time
72 minutes
File:The Manster (1959) by George P. Breakston and Kenneth G. Crane

The Manster (双頭の殺人鬼, Sōtō no Satsujinki, "The Two-Headed Killer") is a 1959 American science-fiction horror film. Shot in Japan, it was produced by George P. Breakston and directed by Breakston and Kenneth G. Crane from a screenplay by Walter J. Sheldon. Sheldon's script was based on Breakston's story which he originally titled The Split.[4][page needed]

The film starred Peter Dyneley as a foreign correspondent in Japan who is given an experimental drug which causes an eye and eventually, a second head to grow from his shoulder. Tetsu Nakamura played the mad scientist, Dr. Suzuki, and Terri Zimmern his assistant, Tara. Jane Hylton also starred as Dyneley's wife.[5]


American foreign news correspondent Larry Stanford has spent time in Tokyo, Japan and explains to his boss and friend Ian that he looks forward to going home to his wife Linda and the US. His final assignment is to interview the reclusive scientist Dr. Robert Suzuki, who lives atop a volcanic mountain.

The doctor has discovered that human evolutionary alterations may be naturally caused by sporadic atmospheric conditions, but change by chemical means is also possible. The well-meaning Suzuki's few experiments to date have gone very wrong; his last experiment resulted in a serial-killing beast, which Suzuki had to destroy. Despite his past failures, the doctor has invented a new and better formula, and needs only a subject on which to test it.

In response to Larry's inquiries, Suzuki amiably steers the conversation to asking some personal questions such as age and health status, upon which the doctor decides this man is qualified to be a test subject. The doctor's assistant Tara is against proceeding with these experiments being done in the absence of knowledge or consent, but Suzuki counters his opinion that the scientific knowledge to be gained outweighs the ethical considerations and he hopes for better results.

Suzuki sedates Larry with a strong liquor and injects his formula into Larry, resulting which soon begins a long process of personality and physical change. Instead of returning to the US as expected, or returning to work, Larry spends his time inebriated and accompanying Suzuki out on the town, soon beginning an affair with Tara.

Having stopped hearing from Larry, Linda, confused and concerned, travels to Japan. Larry abruptly tells Linda that their marriage is over and he wants a new life with Tara.

Ian makes several attempts to understand and help Larry, including introducing him to the best psychiatrist in Tokyo, but he rages to Ian to leave him alone. At the spot of Dr. Suzuki's right shoulder injection, an eyeball has grown, and his right hand has become a claw.

Wandering into a temple with a praying Buddhist monk, Larry attempts to pour out his confusion and frustrations but the monk doesn't understand English. Stanford steals his prayer bracelet and kills the monk. Arriving at the psychiatrist's office/home after hours, he pounds on the door and breaks in; the psychiatrist phones police but before they arrive, Larry murders the doctor.

Ian finds the incriminating prayer bracelet and takes it to police, who are also concerned about an unusual rash of street murders. They stake out locations where Stanford would be found; again evading them he makes his way to the laboratory of Dr. Suzuki.

Suzuki informs Tara that there is a remedy that is probably capable of causing the monster and Larry Stanford to split apart; unconvinced, she gives Suzuki a suicide knife. Instead, Suzuki murders his other failed specimen, a monster that was once his wife.

When Stanford enters the lab Suzuki is able to inject him. Stanford goes on a rampage, destroying the lab, then following Tara to the volcano. Will the new formula work to salvage Larry?


  • Peter Dyneley as Larry Stanford
  • Jane Hylton as Linda Stanford
  • Tetsu Nakamura as Dr. Robert Suzuki
  • Terri Zimmern as Tara
  • Jerry Ito as Police Supt. Aida
  • Norman Van Hawley as Ian Matthews
  • Toyoko Takechi as Emiko Suzuki
  • Kenzo Kuroki as Genji Suzuki
  • Alan Tarlton as Dr. H. B. Jennsen
  • Shinpei Takagi as Temple Priest
  • George Wyman as the Monster


The Manster was an American production filmed in Japan, using a mostly Japanese crew and a number of Japanese actors.[1][6][3] The Manster was shot in English.[7] The film had several working titles, including Nightmare and The Two-Headed Monster.[8] It was photographed by David Mason and edited by Kenneth G. Crane.[3] Shinpei Takagi handled the special effects,[8] George Wyman played the titular monster and Hirooki Ogawa composed the soundtrack.[5]


The Manster was released in Japan on July 10, 1959 in Tokyo.[9]

Lopert Pictures released The Manster in the United States on March 28, 1962 as a double feature with Eyes Without a Face.[8][6] In the United Kingdom, The Manster was released as The Split.[8] The American Film Institute also states that the film premiered in the United States in San Francisco on March 28, 1962, at a run time of 72 minutes.[3][1]

The film was shown on Elvira's Movie Macabre and later released on DVD.[10]


In a contemporary review, the Monthly Film Bulletin reviewed a 67-minute version of The Manster titled The Split.[11] The review called the film to be "a pathetic pot-boiler", "never frightening" and an "incredibly far-fetched rehash of all the ingredients of the convention SF-horror film".[11] The review criticized the fact that the second head of the character appears to only "bob up and down on the actor's raincoated shoulder, only visible in night scenes and never in close-up".[11]

In a retrospective review, AllMovie film critic Hal Erickson wrote, "Manster is a favorite among campy horror aficionados and for good reason as it is both unintentionally funny and genuinely creepy...Wait till you see the climax, with the hero battling himself on the edge of a live volcano".[12]


  1. ^ a b c "The Manster". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on September 21, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "The Manster (1959)". BFI. Archived from the original on April 20, 2021. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e Galbraith IV 1996, p. 281.
  4. ^ Galbraith IV 1996.
  5. ^ a b Galbraith IV 1996, p. 386.
  6. ^ a b Lucas, Tim (August 2008). "Les yeux sans visage (The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus)/The Manster". Sight & Sound. Vol. 18, no. 8. p. 34.
  7. ^ Galbraith, Stuart (1994). Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. McFarland. p. 66.
  8. ^ a b c d Galbraith IV 1996, p. 282.
  9. ^ Ricketts, Al (June 30, 1959). "On the Town". Pacific Stars And Stripes. p. 6.
  10. ^ Bogino, Jeanne (March 1, 2012). "Elvira's Movie Macabre: The Brain That Wouldn't Die; The Manster". Library Journal. Vol. 137, no. 4. p. 62.
  11. ^ a b c "Split, The". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 28, no. 324. 1961. p. 67.
  12. ^ Erickson, Hal. "The Manster (1959)". AllMovie. Retrieved November 9, 2016.


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