For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
Manos: The Hands of Fate
It's Shocking! It's Beyond Your Imagination!
A family gets lost on the road and stumbles upon a hidden, underground, devil-worshiping cult led by the fearsome Master and his servant Torgo.
Disgraceful, humorless and just dismal, this atrocity whose technical achievements only just barely meet that of a "film" is just the all time lowest of the low. It is and forever will be a mystery to me as to how Manos: The Hands of Fate (translated: Hands: The Hands of Fate) is commonly grouped with the terrifically bad film genre or known by most as the so-bad-it's-good genre. The genre by which the likes of The Room, Plan 9 From Outer Space and Troll 2 belong, is a genre known for "fun" and "good fun" and even "joy," Manos; or Hands is none of these things.
Manos is campless, joyless, void of fun, and spawn of pain and cinematic torture.…
“I am Torgo. I take care of the place while the Master is away.”
It was the very witching time of night, and Hal P. Warren, heavy-hearted and crestfallen, pursued his travels homeward, alongside the barren wastelands which stretch beside El Paso, and which he had traversed so cheerily in the afternoon. It was the night of the unveiling of his masterpiece, Manos: The Hands of Fate. The air that afternoon had been heavy and humid, but it couldn’t dampen his spirits. He had won his bet—his movie was complete, ready for an unprepared world’s embrace.
His actors arrived in the rented limousine—one carload at a time, as Warren could afford only a single rental. Spotlights lit the night sky,…
"Without Manos: The Hands of Fate there would be no 2001: A Space Oddyssey."
"Robert Smith Jr and Russ Huddleston's score is the reason I started composing"
"I almost quit show business for good the first time I saw Manos. I mean, when a performance as brilliant as John Reynolds' Torgo already exists why would I even bother trying..."
My mom (after walking in on me watching this film): "Is this a porno flick?"
Manos: The Hands of Fate (roughly translated into Hands: The Hands of Fate) is an incredible film. It transcends the word 'incredible'. In fact, it conjures up its own word and that word is "torgo". This film is very torgo.
Holy shit this film is fucking terrible. But it's a special kind of fucking terrible. It's a "holy shit I'm going to shoot myself any second now fucking terrible" kind of fucking terrible. Never before have I seen a man die because his face was caressed to death.
Manos has changed my outlook on cinema as well as humanity. Are we humans this monstrous and…
O Manos... thou of primal darkness! Thou who dwelleth in the depth of the universe in the black casims of night! Thou who bestoweth the mother darkness upon thy faithful, to live eternally in her keeping. Thou dost make him most blessed forever! And thou who dost cursed with eternal burning life those whom transrest against thee! Holy art thou, holy art thou, holy art thou! Manos will be done! Thy priesthood remains steadfast, thy priesthood remains constant, thy priesthood remains righteous. Thou hast taught us, O Manos, and we hath listened. Give ear to our words, O Manos, and hear us! Hear us! Hear us! For…
Wikipedia reports that Manos is "widely recognized to be one of the worst films ever made". It's also one of the most wonderfully trashy films ever made.
Every scene and every cut is four times longer than it should be to fill time. Everything, and I mean everything is fucked in this film; the editing, framing, shot choice, acting, set decoration, dialogue, film stock, colour, sound, structure, everything except the mighty Torgo and the pretty good post-bop jazz score is fucked. And then there's the slapping. What the hell is it with the slapping. Everyone is slapping everyone else. It's a slapfest! I loved it.
Favourite moment: Torgo's death by slapping and rubbing.
Saw this in the theater. I knew it was supposed to be really bad but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. At least it was unintentionally funny, weird, and thankfully short. The Master's costume was pretty cool.
The non-MST3K cut of this is even worse. What a mess of a film.
Rifftrax Live Edition
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Yep, that was indeed pretty terrible. “Manos: The Hands of Fate” has a 1.9-rating on IMDB, and is currently featured as #14 on their Bottom 100-list. And deservedly so, I might add. It’s definitely one of the very worst movies that I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and to my big disappointment, it isn’t even “so bad it’s good”- or “guilty pleasue”-bad like, say, “Jaws: The Revenge” or “Battlefield Earth”. Those at least have a certain trashy charm, even though no one would ever mistake them for anything else than what they are, which is pretty terrible, catastrophic movies. But at least, they’re not boring. Annoying, mind-boggling, excruciating, inconcievable, stupid, and face-palmingly terrible, perhaps, but not boring. “Manos: The…
"You have failed us, Torgo! For this you must die!"
Does watching the 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' episode about 'Manos: The Hands of Fate' ("Manos?" "THE HANDS OF FATE!") count as me having watched 'Manos: The Hands of Fate'?
Ah, screw it. I'm making it count!
Without Joel, Tom Servo and Crow's input keeping me comedically stimulated, I would never be able to watch 'Manos: The Hands of Fate' all the way through, due to it being the cinematic equivalent of rohypnol crossed with horse tranquiliser!
This film was made because a guy lost a bet?
"Y'know, Torgo wobbles, but he won't fall down!"
Preface: My friends and I have been attempting to find the best "worst" movie and this is one of the films that we watched in that attempt.
Oh 'Manos'. This is another point of contention here. I really have a rough time getting through this one but my friends love it and have a great time laughing at it. It is a classic "bad" movie and it has the MST3K stamp of approval which makes my booing kind of null and void but just realize that this "bad" movie isn't for everyone.
For Fun: I like this one as much as I like 'Birdemic'. I don't like either but Andy loves both.
I seriously recommend inoculation by viewing the MST3K version first. Unprepared exposure could be fatally tedious.
The mind-blowing ineptitude of just about every aspect of this picture provides for some golden moments of unintentional comedy, but those aspects wear themselves out pretty quickly. A significant re-edit might produce a half-way (OK, maybe quarter-way) decent low-budget horror featurette, but as it is, the movie's 74 minutes rapidly become interminable.
Contains every horror film made that is not lost and is found on the letterboxd database.
If there is any…
Take a break from all that Fellini and Bergman you pretentious fucks and watch this shit.
Check notes for LINKS.…