Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Manster (1959)

I love 50's Monster Movies and this American/Japanese production doesn't disappoint. It opens up with the silhouette of a hairy monster who is reminiscent of the 30's & 40's Killer Gorilla movies tearing into some pretty Japanese women. Unlike the 30's gorilla flicks this time around we get some splatter being thrown about.

The Manster went on the road for a double bill show with the beautiful and eerie French film, Eyes Without A Face (1960). The two films couldn't be any more different considering one is a emotional thriller, art film with some very realistic gore while the other is a totally campy monster flick with a two headed monster. Still the two films together must have been a perfect medium of schlocky fun and creepy surrealism.

The Manster follows an American news reporter named Larry to Japan where he meets a mad scientist who performs awful experiments on people, transforming them into unique looking monsters. According to the doctor, he is working on evolution or something like that but I think he just likes to turn his loved ones into horrible monsters. The doctors brother looks like some sort of a abominable snowman and when the doctor can no longer control his murderous ways he shoots his monster/brother, gases him and throws him into a  pit of lava. The doctors wife is a deformed monster who has been subjected to one to many experiments and is now kept in a cage where she violently flails herself around and goes into fits of giggling. I have to admit that the woman is a bit creepy at times but what the doctor has in store for Larry is something much worse.

Larry is drugged and shot up with some sort of monster serum from the mad scientist. When Larry awakes he is no longer the nice, soon to be married all American boy that he used to be. He becomes a angry drunk who spends all of his time in Japanese bath houses and fornicating (off screen of course) with Geisha girls. Slowly but surly Larry is transforming into a two headed Manster. First he loses control of his hand. It starts to grow hair and the audience can't help but think its going to be another Werewolf movie but its not long before Larry is growing a eyeball out of his shoulder blade. Most would probably remember the very similar scene where Sam Raimi pays homage to this classic monster flick in Army Of Darkness. There was also a similar scene in the 80's monster flick The Gate. Anyway the thing keeps growing inside the manster and he eventually becomes a two-headed killing machine on a rampage. The Manster takes out a street walking hooker, a priest (thumbs up), a doctor and eventually splits into two separate beings.

You know what they say... Two heads are better then one and The Manster definitely doesn't disappoint. It stays fresh from beginning to end with it variety of monsters and it only runs at 72 minutes, giving you plenty of time to run Eyes Without A Face next.

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