“There’s a killer loose in Tokyo. The worst known in 30 years.”
Larry Stanford (Peter Dyneley) is an American news correspondent that has been working in Japan for the last few years. The years there have affected his marriage. His last assignment before returning to the United States is an interview with Dr. Robert Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura).
Suzuki is a famous scientist but a bit of a recluse. He is working on experiments on evolutionary changes using chemicals. Suzuki tells his assistant Tara (Terri Zimmerman) that Larry is perfect for his experiments. He drugs Larry and injects him with a serum. Over the next few days Larry’s personality begins to change. With Dr. Suzuki’s help he begins carousing. Dr. Suzuki also uses his assistant Tara as bait to keep Larry in Japan.
In the meantime Larry’s wife Linda (Jane Hylton) goes to Japan to bring her husband home. When Linda confronts him Larry refuses to leave his new life of debauchery. He attacks her and she flees. Larry examines his painful shoulder to discover that he has a growth coming out at the spot where Dr. Suzuki’s injection had been (He’s growing an eyeball). Larry runs out into the night and roams the streets of Tokyo. He murders a Buddhist monk. The next night he murders two women on the street. After that is a psychiatrist. As he keeps killing he keeps changing and that thing on his neck keeps growing. Eventually he grows a second head.
“The Manster” AKA “Split” was released in 1959 and was directed by George Breakston and Kenneth Crane. It is a Japanese/US venture. Believe it or not there are a couple two-headed person movies out there. “The Thing With Two Heads” 1972 and “The Incredible Two Headed Transplant” 1971. There is a two headed alien in “Men In Black II”. And least we forget the plethora of two headed anything creatures. For example the “Two-headed Shark Attack”. The two headed vulture in “Clash of the Titans”. Heck, even the Muppets had a two headed monster.
However, “Manster” was the first. And probably the best. Granted there are a lot of critics that panned the film and although it’s a little bizarre there are interesting things about it. The make-up is quite good, especially considering this is a low budget “B” movie. You have your mad scientist but he’s Japanese. You have protagonist but he’s also the bad guy. If you like 50’s and 60’s horror or science fiction it’s worth checking out.