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The Manster (1959) - Blu-ray Review

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The Manster (1959)

3 beers

Egads!  Evolution and eyeballs!  The Manster is coming! The Manster is coming!  Everybody run for the hills!

When you start a monster movie with a tease of exposed female flesh next to a sauna and then an over-the-top murder as a monster rips apart a once bathing beauty, well, you might have prematurely climaxed.  Such is the case with 1959’s The Manster.  While ripe with a rather hairy transformation as a journalist in Japan becomes THE story he really ought to be covering, the movie crawls along as a basic morality tale...with a monster and an affair as its centerpiece.

Oh, the webs we weave.  Damn you, Geisha Girls for being oh so tempting!  Produced and co-directed by Jungle Stampede’s George Breakston, there’s a lot to appreciate in this attempt to piggyback on the classic run of Universal’s monster pictures.  We have a mad scientist.  We have a lab out of synch with its surroundings courtesy of Dr. Robert Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura).  We even have a previous version of the deadly monster lurking about.  But, alas, Frankenstein this is not. 

You have to dig a bit to get to the good stuff in this one.  While not scary at all, The Manster has decent moments of madness.  First, there is the title.  Man, that’s just a solid B-movie title right there, inviting all sorts of images to fester.  And then there are the opening few minutes.  The bloody attack a single moment after the opening credits end is pretty gnarly.  It’s all shadow play, mind you, but very artfully done.  And then there are the creatures.  Good make-up designs when you are pinching pennies. 

The problem is that this tale of a horrific transformation is surrounded by preachy morals as one foreign correspondent, Larry Stanford (Peter Dyneley), after falling asleep in a mad scientist’s lab (or is it lair?), gets injected by the mad doctor with some pretty strong shit and decides to throw caution to the wind.  He refuses to leave Tokyo and essentially abandons his wife in favor of spending time with Tara (Terri Zimmern).  Who can blame him?  She’s deliciously hot to trot.

Little does Stanford (the Saphead) suspect that he will soon be growing an eyeball on his shoulder and then a whole head and then another person!  And there’s where the fun comes in to play.  Watching Dyneley go crazy with rage as another person – a beast nonetheless - essentially rips out from within him is pretty epic.  And the chase sequence as the police get involved after a series of gruesome murders, involving the highest parts of the local landscape, includes an erupting volcano.  Talk about splitting hairs.

While it does get preachy about cheating on spouses and whatnot, The Manster does serve up enough matinee-sized mood and murder to satisfy.  It is now available on blu-ray courtesy of Scream Factory.

The Manster (1959)

 MPAA Rating: R.

Runtime: 72 mins
Director
: George P. Breakston, Kenneth G. Crane
Writer:
George P. Breakston
Cast:
Peter Dyneley, Jane Hylton, Tetsu Nakamura
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Half-Man, Half-Monster!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Once a normal man. Now a horrible monster."
Theatrical Distributor: Lopert Pictures Corporation

Official Site:
Release Date:
March 28, 1962
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
Augsut 29, 2017
Synopsis: Before you started eyes, a man will change into a monster!

An American reporter in Japan becomes the unwitting guinea pig in the experiments of a research scientist in this tale of ambition gone berserk.

Larry Stanford assigned to a story on evolutionary theorist Dr. Suzuki visits his secluded laboratory high in the mountains for Japan. Unwittingly injected with an experimental drug, Stanford becomes increasingly bitter and irritable towards his boss and his wife. Then one day, the appearance of a third eye on his shoulder hurls the reporter into a state of terror. The eye soon develops into a second head setting in motion a rampage of mayhem, madness and murder.

The Manster (1959)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- August 29, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.66:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Using a “fine grain print”, the 1080p transfer of this second-billed B-movie looks amazing in the textures it now presents to film buffs.  The local landscapes used in the movie are preserved with fine lines and the glass paintings – suggesting a depth to the film that was not financially possible – are items of beauty.  There is a new crispness throughout the black-and-white film thanks to the HD upgrade and the lab itself looks impossibly detailed.  And the 1.66:1 image from Scream Factory preserves the film’s intended look.  The DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio track is fairly strong, delivering the dialogue and dramatic score with nice clarity.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

We get a photo gallery.

  • Photo Gallery

The Manster (1959)

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