Movie Review: “Manos” The Hands of Fate

Posted: October 16, 2011 in Movie Review, Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

“Manos” The Hands of Fate (1966/ Dir. Harold P. Warren) MST3K Episode 24, Season 4, January 30, 1993

When I do reviews of movies that were on MST3K, I get a copy of the movie on its own. No bots, no mads, not a single luxury. Now, I do that for a couple of reasons, the first of which is that I want to watch the movie on its own dubious merits. Once you watch the movie with the bots, you’re watching an episode of the TV show. Second, if you watch a TV broadcast, things may have to be cut for TV standards. Movies can be cut for both time and content, meaning that you might not get the whole movie on the show. Even if you have the whole movie, you’re still breaking up the flow for the commercial breaks and host segments. So I don’t review the episodes, I review the movie clean, or as clean as the DVDs I get will allow. I mention all of this because this movie is down right infamous, there are people who can’t even watch the MST3K episode, so this is heroic in the eyes of some.

I am TORGO! Bow to my Torgoy will!

It’s sort of interesting that the husband keeps insisting they stay at the… room? What the hell is this place supposed to be? It looks like a one room hovel from the outside, and from the inside as well come to that. Torgo wants them to leave, the wife wants them to leave, the little girl probably wants to leave, hell even the dog looks uncomfortable being there. And the husband keeps treating the place like it’s a hotel and Torgo is some kind of concierge. When they want to leave, Torgo wants them to stay, and then they can’t leave because the car doesn’t work. Almost nothing in the movie makes any sense though, so I’m not sure why I’m bothering to complain about that one thing. I mean, the movie isn’t good, there isn’t anything good about this movie, why try to complain? This isn’t even good to watch as a joke, its only value is to riffers and those who are curious as to what the original looked like.

She’s sort of cute really.

There isn’t much point in trying to parse out the plot, because even having seen the movie I can barely explain it. Even trying makes me look like an idiot, watch: Some people get lost in the desert, and then they meet Torgo and then the dog is killed, and then they meet The Master and his wives, and then chaos ensues and the husband replaces Torgo and his wife and daughter become wives of Manos… or is it just The Master? I’ve never quite worked out if they’re the same person. Again though, so much of this fails to make any kind of sense that I’m not sure why I’m complaining. It’s not mystery that this is an amateurish production, and that it was mainly made as the result of a bet, so to complain about its production values would be beyond pointless. You can bitch about the production, but it just sort of make you look like a dork. If you go around complaining that a movie made for virtually nothing has a worse production than something made for half a billion dollars, you’re just performing and exercise in hipsterism.

Yeah, we didn’t need to see that.

You know what’s interesting? This movie really is only about an hour and five minutes long, at least my copy is, and yet the MST3K crew still had to cut out some of the more pointless bits to fit the program. Shots of the sky, bits of Torgo tying Mike up, things like that. I mean, the film is already really short and yet it’s still been cut. That’s how bad it is, they found reasons to cut it down further. Also, while I’m on no particular subject, this copy of the DVD I got is pretty bad. The transfer is incredibly dark and it looks like it comes from a beta tape which is sort of disappointing. I’m not saying I need a perfect DVD mastering, or a newly cleaned up print or anything, but it would be nice if I could see the movie a little bit better. It’s a pretty dark movie to begin with and this is just making the movie close to impossible to watch. Not that you’d want to watch it, not really, but if you’re going to watch it, you want to be able to watch it, you know?

There has GOT to be a Freddie Mercury joke in here somewhere.

Okay, let’s fill out this review. I got this on the new MST3K DVD which is a two disc set that has the episode and the original movie as well as a bunch of extras like a quasi documentary on Jam Handy by the guy who made The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. The rest of the specials are more Manos centric, including a documentary about the making of the film. If you like the episode of the TV show, you could buy this DVD, but if you’re not too thrilled with it, there is no reason to get it. Really, this movie is only entertaining when watching it with Joel and The Bots, possibly with a group of friends. Either way, don’t watch it alone and certainly not sober on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. This really is a bad movie, made by people who have no idea how to make one. Let’s get to the score…

Official Score:
-50 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.

The man, the myth, the mustache.


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