The Manster (1960)

Article #246 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 11-17-2001
Posting date: 4-2-2002

A scientist experimenting with mutations experiments on an unsuspecting reporter, who undergoes a change of personality, becomes homicidal, and eventually grows a second head.

As silly-sounding as the premise is, I think this is a highly effective horror movie; it certainly is the best two-headed man movie I’ve seen. I think the exotic oriental atmosphere helps immensely; the movie was an American/Japanese collaboration and takes place in Tokyo. Sure, the two-headed effects look fake, but they put some work into them, giving the second head a little independent movement that can be quite eye-catching at times. It also does a good job of having the man’s physical transformations synch up with events in his life, and some of the imagery in this film is unforgettable; if you remember nothing else about this movie, you will remember the eye on the shoulder sequence, and the scene that takes place behind a tree towards the end. This is one of those movies that scared me as a kid, and I still think it works today.

Tom Weaver made a comment about the lead in this movie resembling Lon Chaney, Jr., and that was something I’d never noticed before. I definitely agree with his comment that it would have been very interesting to have seen the movie made ten years earlier with Lon Chaney, Jr. in the lead role, as I think the part would have been a very good one for Chaney; I think it would have played to his strengths as an actor.


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