I remember this movie from when WPIX would show loads of horror movies during October. I never saw it. I scoffed at it because it was an old movie and looked hokey. Oh, how I wish I could go back and set my younger self straight.
I mean, yes, the movie does look old and hokey, but it is incredibly entertaining. A lot of reviews I've seen for it call it a rip off of The Exorcist. I wonder if those people have seen either movie. One is about the devil possessing a little girl and deals with faith. The Manitou deals with a lady who has a tumor growing on her back that is actually a fetus that contains an ancient Indian medicine man who is waiting to be reborn. That doesn't sound much like a rip off to me.
Tony Curtis stars as an awesome fortune teller whose friend is the one who is afflicted by the growth, or Manitou. He has a fantastic robe with astrological symbols on it, dances to disco when opening a beer and reads tarot cards like nobody's business. He spearheads the mission to find out what is exactly happening when he sees doctors unable to remove the growth because the girl starts speaking in a strange language and makes the surgeon cut himself instead. And a laser goes nuts and starts shooting all over the place. And an old woman throws herself down the stairs of his apartment building after floating down the hall.
So he has a hunch something odd is going on. Fortunately, Burgess Meredith is around doing his best Colonel Sanders impression and sets him on the right path. And there's a kick ass friendly medicine man who is ready to help for some tobacco.
All of this leads up to a crazy finale that has such wonderous sights as the manitou crawling out of the girl's back, a man being hit with electricity and exploding and the woman, now topless, waking after being energized by the power of computers and shooting lasers out of her hands at the manitou and an elder god.
It's a fun movie that doesn't slow down and keeps you interested with some fine set pieces. It really has the feel of a 70s Italian horror film, particularly with the crazy ending, as that seems to be right out of their playbook. Well worth a look if you're a fan of fun movies. Check it out.