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Literature / The Manitou

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Graham Masterton's most memorable horror novel - The Manitou. The first half of the book is chillingly mysterious as the main characters are introduced, and the strange occurences surrounding the female lead and her bizarre ailment start to happen and gradually cascade faster and faster. While it may start slow, the pace of the book constantly grows until it comes to a massively chaotic and terrifying conclusion.

Masterton based this book on extensive research into Native American mythology and folklore, and also on the Cthulhu Mythos - its main antagonist originates from August Derleth and H. P. Lovecraft's 1945 novel The Lurker at the Threshold.

Written in 1975 (and published the following year), the novel was filmed in 1978 starring Tony Curtis and Susan Strasbourg.

The series includes the following works:

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  • The Manitou (1976)
  • The Djinn (1977)note 
  • Revenge of the Manitou (1979)
  • Burial (1991
  • Spirit Jump (short story; collected in anthology Faces of Fear) (1996)
  • Manitou Blood (2005)
  • Blind Panic (2009)
  • Plague of the Manitou (2015)

This book either gave un-natural birth to, or else foully nurtures and sustains, the following tropes:

  • Big Bad: Misquamacus, the evil shaman seeking to re-enter the world and wipe out all "foreign influences" in North America.
  • Fantasy Americana: The series draws on North American native folklore.
  • Indian Burial Ground: To Misquamacus, the whole of North America is one continuous Indian burial ground and as such is holy soil from which the sacrilegious and defiling white man must be extirpated. And the black man. And the Asian man. And the Jew. And everything they have brought with them - cars, trains, aircraft, non-native animals. A later sequel sees Apocalypse, with cities, farms, and whole herds of cattle and sheep, being dragged into the Netherworld as Misquamacus puts out his power to cleanse the land of foreign influences.
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  • Magical Native American: Misquamacus, the Big Bad of the series, who plans to use his magic for evil purposes.
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: Misquamacus tries to return to the human world by hijacking newly conceived foetuses (foetii?) or else as an un-natural "conjoined twin"-like growth.
  • The Savage Indian: Misquamacus is a very savage Indian, planning to wipe out all non-Indians and everything they brought to North America with them.
  • Womb Horror: Misquamacus chooses to re-enter the world as a monstrous foetus attached to an external womb on the back of a human host.
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