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The Manitou is a 1978 American horror film produced and directed by William Girdler. It stars Tony Curtis, Michael Ansara and Susan Strasberg. It was based on the 1976 novel by Graham Masterton, which was inspired by an old legend about the American Indian Manitou spiritual concept. Girdler died in a helicopter accident prior to the movie's release.

Plot

A woman named Karen (Strasberg), who is suffering from a growing tumor on her neck, enters a hospital in San Francisco. After a series of X-rays, the doctors begin to think it is a living creature: a fetus being born inside the tumor. Eerie and grisly occurrences begin; the tumorous growth perceives itself– himself– to be under attack as a result of the X-rays used to ascertain its nature, which are starting to stunt and deform its development. The growth is the old Native American shaman, Misquamacus; he is reincarnating himself through the young woman to exact his revenge on the white men who invaded North America and exterminated its native peoples. Karen's boyfriend, psychic fortune teller Harry Erskine (Curtis) contacts a second Native American shaman, John Singing Rock (Ansara), to help fight the reincarnating medicine man, but the kind of spirits he can summon and control appear to be too weak to match his opponent's abilities.