Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Manster (1962)

I always appreciate it when a trashy movie has a trashy title, and this one does not disappoint in that regard (unless you see it under its UK title, which is the less goofy The Split).

What we've got here is basically a Jekyll and Hyde story set in Japan, though in this case the scientist who comes up with the formula has the good sense not to test it on himself.  We meet him, in fact, just as he is executing one of his test subjects.  Said subject escaped the previous night and killed a woman who lives in a nearby village.  The scientist resolves that he cannot continue further testing near his home, so it is fortunate that a reporter from Tokyo turns up to interview him.  The scientist drugs the reporter and injects him with his 'enzyme', then sends him on his way.

The reporter is an American foreign correspondent who is looking forward to ending his long posting in Asia so he can head home to his wife.  He even, for the first time, turns down a story because he doesn't want to delay his departure.

So when he suddenly decides to stay in Tokyo and carouse rather than go home, his colleagues and wife are confused by his sudden change of behaviour.  The reporter turns surly and distant, then violent, as the enyme takes its course.  Soon the Tokyo police are faced with a rash of seemingly motiveless murders, though all appear to be the work of the same killer.  Their initial efforts to capture the murderer fail, but as the reporter continues to mutate, it can only be a matter of time before his secret (which of course, he doesn't even know he has) is uncovered.

This is the kind of film that will likely only appeal to you if you have a penchant for schlocky nonsense like I do, and it does sag in the middle before the deliciously crazy final act kicks off. On the other hand it offers mad science, a monster-man, and a climactic battle on the edge of an active volcano, so if schlocky nonsense is your thing, it may be worth a look.

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