Critical reception for The Manitou has been mixed to negative. Variety gave the film a positive review, writing, "This bout between good and Satan includes some scares, camp and better than average credits".  Derek Adams from Time Out gave the film a positive review, praising the film's special effects and calling the film "a successful excursion, spoiled only by the director's habit of plopping in postcard views of the Golden Gate Bridge instead of exteriors".  Donald Guarisco from Allmovie gave the film a negative review, criticizing the film's script, and weak direction but complimenting the acting, special effects and ending.  It currently has a 43% "Rotten" rating on film review website Rotten Tomatoes , with an average rating of out of 10, based on seven reviews. 
Bat Masterson became more widely known as a gunfighter as a result of a practical joke played on a gullible newspaper reporter in August 1881. Seeking copy in Gunnison, Colorado, the reporter asked Dr. Cockrell about mankillers. Dr. Cockrell pointed to a young man nearby and said it was Bat and that he had killed 26 men. Cockrell then regaled the reporter with several lurid tales about Bat's exploits, and the reporter wrote them up for the New York Sun . The story was then widely reprinted in papers all over the country. Cockrell subsequently apologized to Bat, who insisted he was not even in Gunnison at the time.