Tuesday, February 26, 2008

FGFC: The Manitou

So this could be interesting. As you know it is time once again for the Final Girl Film Club. This time it is “The Manitou” a movie that I was a little nervous about going in, but as you'll see in a minute that was all unfounded nervousness!

Normally I am able to keep some sort of order when talking about movies. That is because generally I write while watching. I have the memory of an etch-a-sketch, things leave quickly and if they remain they may not be exactly in order. Case in point I've been searching for the DVD of “The Manitou” for two days now. That sucker is gone, I suspect foul play of some sort...

I shall dub this Fuzzy Memory Theater-eater-eater...

The Basics
Karen (Susan Strasburg) has recently become afflicted with some sort of strange growth on her back. By growth I of course mean that she has started growing an evil medicine man on her back. She really would like to get rid of it (naturally). The medicine man however doesn't really want to go anywhere just yet. He conveys this by causing all kinds of fun havoc whenever an attempt is made to remove him. A Dr. cuts himself with a scalpel, and laser goes apeshit nutso, you know fun stuff like that.

Of course Karen didn't realize on her own that the growth was an evil medicine man, not even the baffled doctors could figure that one out on their own. The footwork was left up to close friend (ahem) of Karen and sham tarot card reading, robe wearing fake mustache sporting Harry (Tony Curtis). After an unfortunate (but AWESOME) incident with a client Harry realizes things really are serious. He enlists the help of a friend and fellow psychic type named Amelia (Stella Stevens), and Amelia's husband MacArthur (Hugh Corcoran). They attempt a Séance with ...mixed results. They still needed more answers, so a book lead them to search out and speak with Dr. Snow (Burgess Meredith). Dr. Snow may be an authority on the subject, he may have a vast collection of ancient Indian artifacts books and information, he may have written books on it himself, but really he doesn't seem to believe in all of this jibber jabber. Still he does pass along some helpful knowledge "eat lightning and crap thunder!”* based on their description.

Once they realize that it is not a tumor they are dealing with but an ancient Indian medicine man they realize that the only way to fight back is with some Indian magic of their own. That of course will require them to find a real life Indian to help them out. Queue John Singing Rock (Michael Ansara) who eventually agrees to help Harry out, for a price. John sheds some more light on the history of the medicine man and his resurrecting ways. He also teaches them about “The Manitou.” John attempts to use his magics to fight the medicine man before he is “born,” this of course angers the little guy.

Once the MM is born from Karen's back we find out that not only is he powerful but he is also pint sized. John has created a circle of power to trap the MM but it won't hold forever. It didn't, once the MM escapes he freezes the entire floor of the hospital, including a nurse! After an incident with an exploding typewriter we learn that even computer have manitou, souls, the power of these can be used to fight the MM. Unfortunately this would be “white man” magic and thus John Singing Rock is unable to call upon the power. Harry on the other hand is able to man up and call up the power! When he does all of the computers and gadgets lend the power of their souls in to help the fight. They do this by imbuing the now naked Karen with magical hand lasers. This leads to the naked Karen and the MM competing against each other in what I can only describe as a psychedelically charged game of Asteroids to the death!

Once the little fella is vanquished (for now) that is pretty much that. Karen is better, and happy with Harry. John Singing Rock is a little bit less racist against the white man, especially after Harry pays him his tobacco (and presumably is going to also honor the promise of cash) and I life goes on.

Honestly my first thought as the credits rolled was very simply “Holy crap that was freaking awesome!” Ok so in my head “crap” was replaced by “shit” and “freaking” by “fucking” but I keep things clean around here dammit so I can't say such things**...Anyway I really don't know where to begin. What didn't the movie have? I mean Indian magic, an all powerful midget, Tony Curtis playing dress up (I've been watching “Some Like it Hot” quite a bit lately so seeing him dressed up as a man was a nice change). Hell the movie even had an exploding typewriter.

To me it was really a lot like stepping onto a roller coaster of awesome. A great movie that doesn't bog you down with the drudgery of logic and believability. OK so not believable to us the viewer, but the important thing was it WAS believable to the character. Thats why it worked I think, they played it off just so cheerily right!

I don't know what else I can say, I just really had a great time with this one. Writer/director William Girdler, good on ya!

Notes I made while watching
Crap that fall was brutal...brutally awesome!***

If John didn't want “Mr. White Man's pleas” why exactly did pleading with work?

What good is a magical circle of holding if someone is just inevitable going to break the thing anyway?

Why they put Tony Curtis in that shirt that not only showcased his rack, but also his unfortunately rigid nipples?

What kind of jackass takes a little nap while he is supposed to be watching a magical and evil 400 year old medicine man who has just recently sprang whole from a tumor on a woman's back?

Did Harry really only pay John with 2 packets of tobacco? What was he going for the cheap bastard award or something?

* - wrong movie sorry, my bad.
** - this better help bump my blog up to an NC-17 rating or I'll kick, punch, and bloody that damn rating site!
*** - I overuse the word awesome, I'm sorry...


Stacie Ponder said...

I'm so glad you liked it! It's just plain ridiculous fun.

That book cover ROCKS!

FatalPierce said...

That book cover picture was such a happy accident. I couldn't get screen caps so I was scouring and Bam there it was. I may have to pick the book up, if I can find that cover.