Directed by William Girdler
Written by William Girdler, Jon Cedar, Thomas Pope
Starring Tony Curtis, Michael Ansara, Susan Strasberg,
Produced by William Girdler
1978 / 2007
Once again, Anchor Bay goes off to salvage with the 1978
quasi-classic, "The Manitou". Not surprisingly, Anchor
Bay manages to pull off yet another coup.
And this time around, Anchor Bay pulls from the depths a
story about a woman with a strange growth on the back of
her neck. It expands exponentially, is comprised of flesh
and bone--did I mention it has mind control powers?
Yeah, it has mind control powers.
The biggest problem with this is I can't tell you much
more without spoilering like no tomorrow. When you find
out what that lump actually turns out to be, and how the
woman's friends and loved ones have to recruit a medicine
man from the wilds of South Dakota to fight it, you'll
start questioning your sanity really, really hard. I
All I can really say with any kind of certainty is man,
did they ever make 'em weird back in the seventies.
Opening credit crawls that take three and a half minutes
of blank space to complete, old ladies levitating and
throwing themselves down stairs, seances that include
explosions, an optical laser gone cuckoo bananas, and
lots and lots of green lighting effects combine together
to form a whole that requires recreational
pharmaceuticals to match.
I will say this for them, though...the pacing was
surprisingly quick. I was never really tempted to jam on
that fast forward button just to find out what was going
on. They kept the plot moving at a sufficient pace to
really eliminate that restlessness that sometimes occurs
in movies. The effects, despite their clear age, weren't
all that terrible either. I think they really had to
exercise at least a little subtlety and depend on the
story to do most of the work back when effects technology
wasn't so prevalent. These factors combine together to
make a pretty decent viewing experience, if you're
willing to overlook some weirdness and some clearly aging
And then the ending hits. Ten solid minutes of pure,
full-blown "what the hell?" moments. Trust me on this
one--if you were questioning your sanity through the
preceding time, you'll be questioning what's in the air
you're breathing when you get to the last ten minutes.
Even better is a surprise twist that lets us know--this
is actually, kinda sorta, in a really limited way, based
on a true story. A fifteen year old boy in Tokyo had
something similar happen to him in 1969, or so the movie
The special features are limited to English closed
captioning and trailers for "The Manitou", "It Waits",
"Superstition", and "Demon Hunter". There will also be a
television spot for "The Manitou", and a set of trailers
that runs prior to the film includes one for "The
All in all, "The Manitou" is another treasure ship
brought up from the depths on one of Anchor Bay's many
salvage missions. Aging and weird, much like the crazy
old lady down the street with fifty cats and a house full
of empty mayonnaise jars, but still entertaining (again
like our hypothetical raving geriatric), "The Manitou"
will prove to be a solid experience.
Directed by Robert Krause
Written by Robert Krause, Florian Puchert
Starring Rebecca Palmer, Ben Price, Tom Frederic
Produced by Oliver Simon
"Blood Trails" is an excellent lesson in judging a book
by its cover, or rather, why you shouldn't engage in just
such practices. Sure, they've got these bloody gear /
sawblade things on the cover art and the first minute of
footage just screams "torture porn!" at the top of its
merry little lungs, but when you wear past this less than
auspicious beginning, what you're left with is a halfway
And what's in that package is a woman getting hit on by a
cop, ultimately having a one-night-stand with him, and
then breaking the news to her boyfriend. It doesn't end
well. And not in the way you think. Anyway, without
giving too much away, the cop is, as it turns out, a
total freaking psychopath (sound familiar?) who engages
on a nice long killing spree whilst trying to reunite
with our heroine.
On the plus side, when the killing does get started, it
gets started in a pretty wild fashion. If you've ever
wanted to see what a bicycle jump kick to a man's throat
would look like, then man, is "Blood Trails" the movie
you've been waiting for.
That and there's the strangest pick-up attempt I've seen
in recent memory; our psychopathic cop picks up the
heroine by--get this--writing his phone number on her
ARM. Does that actually work? Ladies out there, if
you're reading this and shaking your head in bafflement,
you're not alone! In fact, I'm inviting all my readers
to tell me if this actually makes sense. Ladies, if
you'd actually call a guy who WROTE HIS FREAKING PHONE
NUMBER ON YOUR ARM, then email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know that this
isn't as stupid as it sounds.
But, one of the major problems with "Blood Trails" is
that it's trying its damndest to be a slasher flick, but
it has a teensy little body count (tops out at like
seven, two of which will be off camera), and requires the
patience of Job to get through as there won't be any
actual killing for almost a third of the movie.
Don't get me wrong--there's some pretty nice tension
buildup here, and some pretty fair cat-and-mouse action,
but there's just so much nothing going on between the
high points that it's hard to really get into "Blood
Trails". Worse, there's a LOT of mountain biking going
on here, and footage of people mountain biking is almost
but not quite as boring as actually mountain biking
yourself. It's like watching golf.
And that, sadly, puts "Blood Trails" down into the land
of solid mediocrity.
The ending is kind of a sludge, what with a whole lot of
torture-porn-esque stuff going on and some rather
nonsensical sequences. Though at least the victim gets a
chance to strike back for a change.
The special features include various audio options,
English and Spanish subtitles, and trailers for "Return
of the Living Dead 5: Rave to the Grave", "Ed Gein",
"Silent Scream", "Open Water 2: Adrift", and for some
reason, "The Descent" and even bigger blast from the
past, "High Tension".
All in all, "Blood Trails" was a pretty fair effort that
just couldn't get itself off the easy trail into
something a little more challenging. Not bad by any
means, but there's a whole lot better out there.