Michael and Margaret are on vacation but become lost in the desert. As night descends they stumble on a ranch where they take shelter only to find strange things afoot. Can they escape the clutches of the evil master, Manos, before it’s too late? Find out in… Manos: Hands of Fate.
How?! Michael, his wife Margaret, their daughter, and their dog are on their way to a ranch for vacation. After taking a wrong turn in the desert they stumble upon a ranch maintained by a satyr (who looks more like a normal person with giant legs than a mythical being) named Torgo. Asking if they can stay the night Torgo warns them that his master, Manos, won’t be happy but Michael insists that they stay there until they can find the ranch in the morning. Almost immediately creepy (but mostly suuuuuppper boring) things start to happen. When Torgo takes a liking to Margaret he goes to his hibernating master and tells him that he has enough wives and this one is his. He incapacitates Michael and imprisons Margaret only to have Manos awaken and plan all of their deaths. After a brief argument on what to do with Margaret and the child they agree that Torgo and Michael must die. Torgo is sacrificed, but when they go to collect Michael and his family they find that they have run into the desert. After a brief escape Michael and Margaret agree that the desert spells certain death and they return to the ranch to ultimately be taken prisoner by Manos for all of eternity. The End.
Why?! Our “heroes” just want a place to stay for the night and directions to the ranch. After Manos reveals himself they only want escape. As for Manos he just wants more wives and people to sacrifice. In fact we get very little insight into what, who, and why he is (but why would we… it was made by a delusional person who didn’t know how to write or make a movie). The only other character is Torgo and he’s just a sad satyr with giant legs that hops about hoping to find a wife. Sad.
What?! Not really sure what to highlight here, so I’m just not going to. This film was basically amateur hour made up of 95% awkward pauses. It’s a film that deserved to disappear forever, but instead lives on in infamy. There is no what in the entire thing. Only a distinct lack of what.
Who?! Michael is played by writer/director Harold P. Warren. He was in the amateur theater scene of El Paso and bet a local screenwriter that he could make a horror film on a low budget… I guess he lost that bet.
Where?! The location is not given specifically, but obviously filmed in El Paso and the location certainly had the feel of the Texas desert. But that won’t cut it for BMT! D.
When?! A film of this level transcends time and space. It is unknowable in so many ways, so to expect any insight into the exact date is far far far too much to expect. F.
So that’s about it. Manos pretty much was as expected. It may be one of the most boring experiences of my life. Almost the entire thing is just people staring at each other not saying a word. In the end I’m not surprised that MST3K made this film famous. Not only can they so effectively use all the dead space in the film, but they can play on how much the film messes with your head. Throughout the film you wonder what the point of the entire thing is and it drives. You. Crazy. By itself though? Just mind melting. Do not recommend and this is part of the reason we generally avoid films like this for the main entries of BMT. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross an amateur filmmaker / full-time weirdo with a bet he refuses to lose? A boring piece of garbage. Let’s get into it!
The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I mean, it is obviously nothing, the film doesn’t make sense or anything. The only really good thing you get out of it is the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode which is often listed as one of the (if not the) best episode of the original run. During that episode the evil scientists end up apologizing for subjecting Joel and the robots (who are often weeping about how boring the movie it) to Manos: The Hands of Fate. It is honestly the only way to make it bearable since they interject during extended sequences of silence. If we were to go Sequel I think I would rather they just do another Mystery Science Theater 3000. Literally, just make the new crew do the same episode in a weird seance-like ritual to resurrection the MST3K of the past. I think it could be fun just because the movie has now been dissected so much since MST3K injected it into the collective consciousness 30 years ago.
The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Everything obviously. The acting is ridiculous. The entire thing doesn’t make sense. The lighting is awful. The story is garbage. The acting is ridiculous. The idea is creepy. The story is trash, … wait where was I? Oh yeah, Manos: The Hands of Fate is awful. Don’t watch it (although maybe just watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version and call it a day). The Sklognalogy is strangely obvious: Plan 9 From Outer Space. The same kind of surreal nonsensicalness. The director who is delusional and is making schlock almost as a compulsion. The stilted crazy acting. Weird choices, etc. etc. etc. If Warren, the director / writer / star, had any clout he might have been able to continue making films like a crazy person. Luckily he didn’t have an clout outside of the insurance industry.
The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy will be merely that we watched a movie we kind of had to watch at some point for BMT. The film, like Plan 9, is mostly boring and actually no fun to watch beyond marveling that such a thing could be created. The street cred though is up the wazoo. There aren’t many reviews online, so perhaps I’m over-blowing it, but this film is, I think, considered among the top 5 worst films ever made. The Room and Plan 9 From Outer Space are for sure there. Then there would be some debate about more modern films like Mac and Me, Ballistic Ecks vs. Sever, etc. But I think it would be hard to box it out of top 5. But that isn’t a good thing necessarily. Bad movies are bad. We want fun bad movies. This is not a fun bad movie. It is a bad movie. Remember that.
I’ll leave the discussion about pre-1980s bad movies for The Bye Bye Man recap, and just end there.