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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Manster or "Nightmare" or " The Two-Headed Monster" or "The Split" or "The Manster - Half Man, Half Monster" [Blu-ray]

 

(George P. Breakston and Kenneth G. Crane, 1959)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: United Artists of Japan

Video: Shout! Factory

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:12:56.830

Disc Size: 19,523,428,440 bytes

Feature Size: 19,103,324,160 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 29th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2112 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2112 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

Photo Gallery

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: 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 (aka THE SPLIT) was originally released as the second half of a double feature. The first film was a dubbed version of Georges Franju’s horror classic, EYES WITHOUT A FACE (re-tittled THE HORROR CHAMBER OF DR. FAUSTUS).

 

 

The Film:

What we have here is a different type of mutant monster. It's not a giant ant from the sewers of Los Angeles or a humongous scorpion from Mexico. It's a manster. You know, part man, part monster. The unlucky title creature is Larry Stanford (Peter Dyneley), a brash American reporter who hopes to land a front-page story about some startling new developments in the field of medical experimentation. Yeah, well he gets his front-page story all right. You could say he IS the story. Ol' Larry becomes an unwitting guinea pig for the evil Dr. Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura) who drugs his tea and injects him with a mutation serum. First, Larry experiences a personality transformation. He becomes a surly alcoholic with an insatiable lust for women. Another side effect is worse; he develops a hairy right claw that wants to kill, kill, kill.....and does. Even Larry's own wife, Linda (Jane Hylton), isn't safe from her husband's crazed behavior. Then, things really get weird. Is that an eyeball emerging from Larry's left shoulder? Pretty soon he's sporting an extra head that looks like an angry pineapple but his own head ain't so pretty either unless you like fangs and excessive facial hair. The slobbering is a nice extra touch. We won't reveal anything else except The Manster proves two heads AREN'T better than one.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Tokyo is being terrorized by a crazed beast. But this time it’s not Gojira, he needed to use up some vacation time and took the day off.

A deranged scientist (aren’t they all that way in these movies) has finally run out of family members to do experiments on and he really needs a new lab rat to continue his “important” work. Conveniently, a “dumb as a stick” writer shows up at his house to do an article about him. Not long after arriving, the mad scientist who’s also known as Dr. Suzuki offers him a drink that’s been laced with a “ruffie” and after a couple of sips he passes out. Jeez! What a lightweight. While Larry (that’s the guy’s name) is unconscious Mr. “I can give you a great deal on a boat, atv, car or motorcycle” Suzuki shoots him up with some kind of genetic experiment, similar to those govt. flu vaccinations.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Manster comes to Blu-ray from Shout! Factory - and is a quintessential part of our listing of 50s and 60s science-fiction that have made it to the new format.  The image quality is reasonable - on a single-layered disc with a high bitrate. It has speckles and slight damage (see last capture) but the higher resolution has produced some decent contrast layered. There is a bit of softness but also occasional impressive detail in close-ups. Overall, a wholly watchable presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minor Frame Damage (right side)

 

 

 

Audio :

A standard lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel stereo track at 2112 kbps (24-bit) supports minor effects and Hirooki Ogawa's original score that advances drama and some suspense. It sound clean without notable flaws and abundant depth. There are optional, yellow, English subtitles (see sample) on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras :

The only supplement is a photo gallery. A fun commentary would have been appreciated.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This is the type of exploitive-ly-titled creature-feature we love from the period. It's a real kitschy Japanese-American Dr.Jeckyll-Mr.Hyde-esque B-feature that would draw attention with its exploitive posters and women-mauling scenes. I was sad to see this was Terri Zimmern's (Tara) only acting credit as she had an exotic screen presence. The low budget volcano is hilarious in one later scene, visible in the background as the police run around like the Keystone Cops. It looks like a public school-produced science exhibit shooting sparks. The title reminds me of Joe Dante's Matinee with the 1/2 man 1/2 ant creation referred to as "MANT". The Shout! Factory Blu-ray produces an acceptable, unrestored, HD presentation - worthy of a triple feature night night with similar popcorners. But get it at a reasonable price. It doesn't even run 1 1/4 hours.

Gary Tooze

September 14th, 2017

 




 

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