Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Manster, Japan's Revenge

December 7, 1941, a day that would live in infamy. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, looking for an excuse to go to war, had one. Roosevelt would imprison Japanese-Americans and begin a campaign that would destroy the Land of the Rising Sun. After he did that, his successor (President Truman) dropped two atomic bombs on them and sent in General Douglas MacArthur to Tokyo to supervise reconstruction. Japan would exact a modest amount of revenge in economic form in the decades to come. The recovering Asian empire had one more ace up its sleeve, a mad-scientist looking to create evolution, hence 1959's "The Manster."
Like many of us, Dr. Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura) has cages of his failed experiments in his mountaintop laboratory. After one escapes and tears apart a bunch of Geisha girls, he puts it out of its misery. Enter obnoxious American reporter Larry (Peter Dyneley). Larry seeks to do a story on this mad-scientist, who in-turn has plans for Larry. The plan is two pronged. 1) Inject him with a serum that will turn him into a monster. 2) Set his lovely assistant/seductress Tara (Terri Zimmern) on him. Both are done in short order and Tara will seduce him in order to foster Larry's animal instincts. Larry's metamorphosis is quick and his lovely wife, Linda (Jane Hylton) arrives in Tokyo to wrestle him back from Tara.
As Linda sets her mind to war in order to win back her husband from the seductress, Larry begins a homicidal spree. Monks and beautiful Japanese ladies fall like flies as the monster that used to be Larry terrorizes Tokyo. Uh oh, the transition isn't just mental, Larry grows another head...the head of a monster. Now two-headed, both Tara and Linda will be in mortal danger. As the killings continue, the Tokyo police get involved and Dr. Suzuki is ready for the terrifying final phase of his experiment. Oh yeah, remember those failed experiments in Suzuki's lab? We learn the grotesque history of who they are...or I should say, who they were.
Will Tara and Linda have time for a cat-fight before their inevitable run in with the two-headed fiend? Just what is that final phase of Suzuki's experiment? Will the Eisenhower Administration use Suzuki's evil experiments as a reason to imprison more Japanese Americans or drop another bomb on Japan? Perhaps the best film ever about post World War 2 Japan and its reformation, "The Manster" is a classic horror/mad-scientist tale. With a wild ending, this American/Japanese effort is a lot of fun and an important film for all World War 2 historians.


  1. We need to look into the past to understand the presesnt, the Japanese have never fully regained their honor and still taking it out on Americans, or on their own civilians, the Samurai class is still alive and well, just look at the Aum Shinrikyo cult . Love these Japanese movies, the serious ones that explore their identity and what is to be Japanese

  2. This is a very good movie, I had it on DVD at one time. Excellent story and different from most movies of the period. If you love b-grad sci-fi movies from the 50s, you have to check out this one.

  3. Wow this looks surprisingly freaky actually from the stills. Very nice review Christopher & thanks for the heads up on it, will definitely check this one out at some point.