Manos: The Hands of Fate Reviews
Watching this movie is an endurance test, it is so atrociously made in every sense. Words cannot begin to describe it. There are moments were the cast members literally look at the camera and the editing is sloppy as hell (seriously, it's like Edward Scissorhands did the editing).
The script is literally non-existent and the characters make every single dumb decision that is usually made fun of in horror film parodies. The acting is also extremely poor. These actors are so bad that they make actors like Jean Claude Van Damme look like Orson Welles in comparison. The guy who played Torgo (the film's creepy hotel owner) shivers constantly, almost like he is having a seizure throughout.
The film may be only 74 minutes, but it will feel like a decade was taken out of your life. I am frankly amazed that I got through this film in one go (somebody should probably give me a medal for that). Plus the soundtrack is also terribly boring, with it mostly consisting of elevator-like jazz music.
I have seen plenty of bad movies in my lifetime (Transformers 2, The Cat in the Hat. The Last Airbender, Disaster Movie), but this piece of super-shlock takes the cake as far as awfulness goes. This movie is called one of the worst movies ever made and after watching this awful dreck, I am fully inclined to agree.
It's too bad they didn't bet it was hard to make a good movie.
Speaking of titles, let's start with the first thing that would make you want to bang your head on the desk: the title itself. Manos is Spanish for hands, so the title becomes Hands: The Hands Of Fate. Yeah... kinda redundant there. Why not make it "Manos: The Hands Of Fate (Fate's Hands... Of Manos!)" while you're at it, hmm? Even if the deity worshipped is called "Manos", that just raises another question: is his real name Hands? If so, that just makes the whole thing dumber than it already is.
So, surprising to me, this thing actually has a story. I'll give you a moment to get over the shock before going on...
A family is heading out on vacation and they reach a house which is looked after by Torgo (don't remember who plays anyone, don't really care so I won't be doing my usual actor/actress assessment in this review), who tends to the place "while the Master is away" (which leads to a stupid line in which the wife later says Torgo told them he was dead. Uh, no. Pay attention lady).
The rest of the story involves the Master deciding what to do with the family and their attempt to get away. But it's really more a collection of random set pieces (especially once particular scene in which the Master's wives are fighting amongst themselves. It looks like the production crew went out to lunch and left the equipment running and the women got bored so they decided to have catfights and act all silly).
Meanwhile, in Movie B... we have two kids making out in a car. And that's it. They serve no purpose in the movie. It's like someone had a really bad short to go before the film and it somehow became part of the film itself. Another example of just leaving the camera running.
(If anyone's still interested in actually torturing themselves, I'll put a spoiler warning here. Not that I expect anyone still WANTS to see this train wreck)
In the last act, the family attempt to leave the house and are stopped by... a rattlesnake. Not a demonically large, overpowering rattlesnake. Just a rattlesnake. This would be like playing a Legend Of Zelda video game and finding out the final boss is a mere Octorok.
Not that it matters, as here comes the ineffectual police officers! They hear the father shooting at the rattlesnake, come over and then decide to "check out" the house of the Master. And what does this "checking out" amount to?
Walking a few feet from their car, looking at the night sky, then leaving. Way to go, boys! You solved the case of the missing morons! They were YOU along! Go back to Spingfield, idiots!
So, where does this leave the family? Why, under the thrall of the Master of course! He shows up to abduct them all and put them under his power.
The father now takes Torgo's place as caretaker (Torgo having died by "massage of death" as it's referred to by other critics. Still, could have been worse. He could have been killed by the comfy chair! Shock! Horror!)
And the mother and daughter? Now added to the harem.
Now we stop. The daughter. The daughter who's age is in the single digits. So... the Master is a pedophile too? Ok, I had to stop the movie right there for a second. That's just... what the Hell, man? That defies all explanation.
Now I will admit, I watched the movie as an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (and no one should attempt it without the riffing). It still counts, as I am watching the footage, I am hearing the movie dialogue. Besides, as I said, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the only way to watch films like that. Joel created those bots for a reason and he was a smart man for doing so.
Apparently, the movie was made on a bet that the "director" could make a movie all on his own. And there's the lesson, kids: don't make bets where the outcome scars people for life. They seem funny at the time but the effects could be devastating as time goes on.
I am going to call out any film maker out there that has the testicular fortitude to remake this that if it gets remade I will break my no remakes policy and buy a ticket.
Perhaps, due to its status as a film which a salesman made as a drunken bet, in which all the audio is overdubbed by himself and his wife for all the other characters... well, it is just one of my favorite movies.
Why? It's the lovable, big-kneed Torgo... a satyr who had his goat-leg prop installed backward and they only caught the mistake halfway into filming. He's the most brilliant low-budget B-Movie Igor-style character ever to stumble onto the silver screen... well, the movie had only one screening at a local theatre, before the entire thing became the laughing-stock of the town.
Either way, its amazing. It's fun. It's unbelievably bad.
Random mud-wrestling scene, anyone? 20 minutes of footage from the window of a car because they decided to cut the introductory titles, leaving only corn-field footage in it's wake for an insufferable amount of time? Or perhaps a bunch of cops who keep interrupting two teenagers having sex, which never end up tying into the actual plot of the movie?
It's THAT good... er... bad.
Hands: The Hands of Fate on the spot improv plot is about a family getting lost on the road and stumbling upon a hidden, underground, devil-worshiping cult led by the fearsome Master and his servant Torgo. To be honest the premise could have worked it has an unconventional narrative, is unpredictable, and slowly reveals the answers to it mystery that is setup. Problem with all of these elements being the execution of them. Everything is loosely and flimsily connected by a thin thread. In fact if the character ever left the house the film would have no plot to speak off. With the exception of Torgo secondary characters are useless. A couple too cheap to afford a cheap hotel or go to their parent homes always make out publicly in a car. Easily persuadable policemen who give you a free pass on a speeding ticket if you're late and for some reason making out in public is illegal in this town or desert. Than the six wives of The Master each younger than the last. Unfortunately given the context within the film the couple daughter not being killed could be debated that the Master is a ped...better yet lets avoid that territory altogether. Also I want to meet the person who dubbed this. I'm no expert on the English language, but are you sure "You all are mad. Mad the whole lot of you." is proper English. Characters have no development not even enough to be one dimensional. Each character has one trait (like being hungry) and that's about it. Now no one could talk this film without mentioning the iconic Torgo. This character is the sole reason this film thrives in awfulness. Actor John Reynold non-experience as an actor gives the character a nice touch. His awkward walk from probably smoking one too many joint, goofy facial expression, and silly line delivery adds to a layer of entertainment to his character.
As for the other area the film is a complete failure. For the first half hour the amazement of how every bad decision accumulated into a something so shockingly bad is something difficult to not want to look at. Than the second half becomes a tedious series of repetition slowly loosing its charm. The editing in this film is among the worst anyone could string together. Lines of dialogue repeat loop, awkward cuts that make you question if the copy of the film you're watching is in poor condition, and the improper timing of inserting music. For example, when first meeting Torgo "scary" music plays when Torgo is getting luggage from a car. It seems the clown noise someone was squeaking behind the scenes was kept in the film for some reason. Music in this film sounds like the instruments themselves were laughing. One of the most noticeable of laughing instruments is during the worst catfight ever staged is scored using a laughing Saxophone. Editing just in general is questionable. In one scene a dog goes out into the desert and is killed by what sounds like Ducks. It will leave your jaws open in how bad editing could scoop down to. As for the acting it lives up to its reputation. Actors break the forth wall looking directly in the cameras and monotone performances. Because of the poor editing you could spot clapperboards, actor getting to their location for the scene, and scenes where it's clear the actors themselves are holding the camera. As far as art direction goes it lacking evidently; the only time it chooses to expresses itself beyond limitation is The Master cape having two giant hands on it. Aside from that everything has and retains a low-budget feel.
Hands: Los Manos of Fate lives up to its reputation, but not entirely like how one would expect. It's devoid of any proper craftsmanship yet the cast and crew heart behind it is felt regardless how the quality turned out. There's a reason audiences go seeking this "awful" film and avoid atrocities such as Monster-A-Go-Go. A bad film can entertain it audiences even if how it does that is unintentional as oppose to one that doesn't. Who would wants to dig up a fifty plus year old that will infuriates them. On the surface everybody clearly sees the rough edges, but some that look past that sees an entity that brings a good time like any film attempts to do.
My eyes are still sore even after they were raped with every second of watching this movie! My brain just hurts trying to think of where to start reviewing how bad this movie is. No seriously, I honestly don't know where to begin. This movie had bad everything; bad acting, bad plot, bad dialogue, bad characters, bad EVERYTHING! I'd rather force myself to sit through Return of Jafar, The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (the old one), The Last Airbender, Batman & Robin, The shitty remakes of The Grudge, A Nightmare on Elm Street & Shutter, The Hannah Montana: The Movie, & The Haunting remake, than to ever watch this movie again. And those previous movies I mentioned sucked hard core ass.
Plot/Story: The plot makes no sense, & the story makes even less sense (how is that possible? IDK) at all...actually, scratch that, there is NO PLOT OR STORY in this movie. What's the movie about? I have no idea. You can go to Wikipedia & read the 'plot' for this movie & you still don't know what the movie is about; or better yet, you honestly don't know if you're reading about the same movie. To make it worse, the movie's plot somewhat even changes & has scenes that have NOTHING to do with the movie. Oh but trust me, this movie not having a plot or story is the least of it's problems.
Cast/Acting: Every actor in here is not only a no name, but terrible at acting. As far as I've done my research, NONE of the actors in this movie (except for John Reynolds apparently) ever appeared in any other movies after this one. And I don't blame them, if I was ever in a movie this bad, I wouldn't want to show my face in an audition ever again; or if I was a movie director & found out all these actor were in "Manos: The Hands of Fate" I wouldn't even consider letting them act in my movie, even drugged.
The two main actors in here, Diane Mahree & Hal P. Warren looked stoned, & as if they had no what they were even doing throughout the whole movie. Most of the time the two of them would stay standing in the same spot, for multiple times in the movie, doing nothing for about 5 fucking minutes. I wonder if their legs even hurt of how long they stayed standing! Oh but trust me, that's not even the half of it. Diane would always stare directly at the damn camera every time a shot of her head came. As for John Reynolds, I honestly have no idea what the hell was going on with him. His acting seemed like some mixture of drunk, insomniac, dug-addict, & robotic guy. I seriously had no idea what he was doing. And did I also forget to mention he committed suicide after this movie? But don't worry, his suicide had nothing to do with this movie.
Then there's Tom Neyman, who's acting seems like some retarded, psycho-path, but I don't mean his acting was even played right, he did it all completely wrong. And we have other actresses in the film who are completely horrible at their roles in unexplainable ways.
Characters: The characters in here are just as bad as the acting. They have no depth at all or characterization. Margaret (played by Diane) was a weak, useless, & terrible mother of a character as well as her husband Michael (Paul). Not only that, but they are also the stupidest parents I have ever seen. One minute they have the chance to actually escape, & then in the other, Margaret screams out that she can't go on & should head back to the house, where they will at least be 'safe'. Do they go back? Of course they do! Just like any retard would. Torgo (Reynolds) was supposed to be the guardian of the house & The Master's slave, but he looked more like some homeless drunk ready to fall over any second. The Master is one of the saddest excuses for a villain I have ever seen. There is nothing evil about him, instead, he is some woman/wife beating pedophile who does nothing of a sort to bring up any evil in him. The guy beats his women to a pulp, & is determined to get that little girl no matter what, which also, says nothing on why the girl is important nor relevant to both his rituals or story, in fact, it was never said HOW he ever found out there was a family that entered his home. Hmm, women beating, & pedophilia, Harold Warren sure has some issues with women.
And then there are The Masters' wife's, who are both irrelevant, & useless throughout the movie. There comes a scene where the women/wives suddenly break into a fight out of no reason, & one of them finds the father tied up & suddenly decides to lick/eat (another way of saying she gave him a hicky) his neck. What does that have to do with anything? I have no idea. And don't even get me started when two of those wives begin to 'beat' the character Torgo. Then there are the two lovers making out somewhere around the beginning of the movie. They actually continue to make out for an entire day all the way to night (in the exact same spot after they were told to leave the first time [& they did leave]). What do they have to do with the plot or anything at all? NOTHING! The officers in this movie are also the most useless officers ever, more useless than real-life officers.
The family in the end decides to head back into the house where suddenly the door of their room opens & The Master walks in & stays standing for about two damn minutes, but the family never stopped on their tracks even when they saw the door open, & it took Michael those two damn minutes to shoot at The Master. In the very end, two more useless characters predictably end up going to that same house, where Michael is now the new Torgo replacement, Margaret is The Master's new wife, & their daughter ends up not being sacrificed for some strange fucking reason that they never inform us on. Oh but did I mention the daughter also became the Master's wife as well? I was right, the Master is also a pedophile.
Dialogue: Oh God, I swear I was laughing so hard around the first few minutes of the opening scene of this movie when the characters began talking. The dialogue in here is so bad, it makes "Crossroads'" dialogue look like the best dialogue in movie history. Yeah, it's that bad. Torgo: "The Master_won't have you_I want you" Margaret: "What Kind of talk is that?" Torgo approaches Margaret. Margaret: "Michael help! Help!" Torgo suddenly 'strokes' Margaret's shoulder for a tiny, tiny bit. Margaret: "Don't you ever try that again you...you...beast!" Ok seriously, if you going to tell someone not to ever try something like that again, then make sure he actually touches you somewhere much worse.
No I'm not kidding, I laughed hard at the dialogue in this movie. Hell, with almost every sentence, the characters use the same words they used in their first sentence at the beginning of their next sentence. So pretty much, you'll be hearing the same words constantly. To make it even worse, the actors in here not only said their dialogue in a robotic way, but also said their lines a few seconds after reading them off their tab cards that were given to them from their robot.
Editing (new category omg!): The editing in this movie is nothing I have ever seen in my life before. It's so damn bad, I swear I asked myself if the editors were even thinking as they did. One minute one character is on the floor the very next second he/she is standing up. And the audio lags, badly as well as the choppy music. Never in my life have I seen such bad editing. Hell, in one scene you can see the clapboard being moved away from the camera for a quick second. The editing in here was so bad that the actors had to dub over their own voices, explaining the bad quality of sound & dialogue. But as my research goes, the cameras the director & his team were using were both rented & of bad quality (they couldn't even record sound).
And I'm not even going to start on the camera quality.
Music: Oh Lord, the music in here not only sucks ass, but also doesn't match the movie in any way. The music is not only in bad quality, but lags, & doesn't have the horror or mystery or even the eerie feel to it. It sounds like some rejected jazz solo.
Effects: There aren't that many effects in here at all, but I can still compare some of them to the effects in "Shark Attack 3: Megaladon".
I can go on for hours writing how bad this movie is, but my fingers hurt & it's getting very late, so this will have to do. I can compare this movie to "House of the Dead" & "Shark Attack 3: Megaladon", & those are equally as bad. And you know what pissed me off when I was watching the first part on youtube? I saw some moron's top comment that said "I still think it's better than Twilight just saying" *Multiple face palm* I give up on people. I really do. That comment was far more shitty than the movie itself, & only proves how stupid the Twilight haters can really get, & I'm not even kidding. This is definitely one of the worst movies ever made, & one of the worst I've ever seen.