Welcome back to 1 out of 5 – Would Recommend, where there’s no such thing as “too obscure”. Today we’re talking about a gem rescued from the annals of obscurity by Mystery Science Theater, “Manos” The Hands of Fate!
What’s The Plot?
A family of three (father Michael, mother Margaret, and little daughter Debbie) get lost in the desert while driving to their family’s vacation destination. They opt to stay at a strange house run by the Igor-esque Torgo, and no good comes of it.
Who Made This Beautiful Garbage?
Harold P. Warren, an El Paso, TX fertilizer/insurance salesman and actor who made the film on a bet. As seen in previous installments of this column, writing/directing/producing/starring in a motion picture is not always a wise idea for amateurs, and Warren proves no better at it than anyone else profiled within these pages.
Five Reasons to See It
- The whole movie was filmed silent and had sound dubbed in later to save money. As such, voices rarely match their character and there’s a lot of long silences – even when lips are visibly moving.
- Torgo, the possibly disabled henchman who looks like he’s constantly high out of mind on something! Enjoy his legendary theme music!
- The local sheriff seems to be incredibly devoted to preventing these two teenagers from going to the bone zone. Neither he nor the couple play any role in the plot and they only interact with the heroes for a few seconds. This doesn’t stop them from having at least three extended scenes.
- Characters tend to teleport into new positions from shot to shot, and their heads are not always on screen when they’re supposed to be.
- “The child is a female. She must not be destroyed, she will grow up to be a woman.”
“Manos” The Hands of Fate was rescued from obscurity by a 1993 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (available on MST3k’s official YouTube channel) and has since become a mainstay of “Worst Movies Ever Made” lists. It is a cult classic and eminently worth watching, although solitude is not recommended and ditching sobriety might help it along. In addition to the classic MST3k episode, the film is also subject of a RiffTrax Live, available on VOD, that makes the whole thing easier to take. Whether you watch it riffed or unriffed, you should check out Manos just to say you did.
This movie was used as a crucial, murder-solving clue on CBS’ Sherlock Holmes police procedural Elementary earlier this year. For real .
NEXT WEEK: Roger Corman brings a classic superheroine to life in 1996’s Vampirella!