5 Reasons You Need to See ‘Manos: The Hands of Fate’ on the Big Screen Today
For one night only (tonight) the 1966 movie “Manos: The Hands of Fate” is showing at Cielo Vista Cinema and Tinseltown on Remcon.
“Manos” is widely recognized as the 2nd worst movie ever made. Most people give the number one spot to “Plan 9 from Outer Space” but my money is on MTHOF. You see, there are some things you may not know about this movie that make it especially endearing. Things like…
1.) It was filmed entirely in El Paso
Every scene was shot in El Paso, Texas. So, it’s a unique way to see what our city looked like over 40 years ago. 1966. Think about that for a second. It was the year Coach Don Haskins and the Texas Western Miners would go on to win the NCAA basketball championship. The Diablos were still called the Sun Kings. Mayor John Cook had hair.
You get to see a lot of footage of mid-6o’s El Paso. Let me stress that again: A LOT of El Paso….
You see, one of the things that makes “Manos” such a horrible movie is that there are very long stretches where nothing happens. Actually, if not for the local color, it would be infuriating. It honestly looks like someone’s video of their family vacation to El Paso. Only, the worst most boring family vacation ever. Seriously, you see more of El Paso than people who commute to the Westside from Horizon City.
2.) The director made the film on a bet
Hal Warren was an El Paso fertilizer salesman with an interest in theater. During a conversation with a screenwriter who wrote “The Towering Inferno” and was Bruce Lee’s best friend, Hal bet that he could easily make a successful horror movie.
Although a dismal filmmaker, Hal Warren must’ve been one hell of a fertilizer salesman. Although he raised $19,000 for the movie (a not-inconsiderable amount in 1966) he couldn’t afford to pay actors or crew. So, he promised to pay them from the money “Mano’s” would make at the box-office. I’m pretty sure that was actually the biggest load of shit this fertilizer salesman ever sold.
Actually, once you watch MTHOF and you know that he didn’t pay the actors or crew, the main question you have is what Hal actually spend the 19K on. I have a theory that involves a yacht and an island paradise made out of the finest manure just shy of 20 grand can buy.
3.) Nothing makes sense ever
The way the voices never match up to the actors mouths make a 50s Godzilla movie look like a marvel of sound editing. One guy (see #4.) Torgo) is some kind of mutant goat man but nobody seems to notice anything odd. Characters start doing things for no reason, like the couple that is making out in the car completely independent of anything else going on in the movie. They just cut to a 60’s couple mashing face for a few seconds … and then nothing is ever mentioned about it again in the entire movie!
(It turns out, Hal Warren had gotten the girl to play the part of the wife. But, when she injured her leg, he felt like he had to give her something to do. So he filmed her tonguing this guy … and decided “Eff it, that’s staying in!”
In another scene, The Master’s wives are sitting around in matching nighties and talking about what to do with the hapless family. Then, for no reason at all, they start fighting.
All these actors were El Paso residents, mind you, and they may still be living here today. So, Stephanie Nielson, Sherry Proctor, Robin Redd, Jay Hall, Bettie Burns and Lelanie Hansard … you were all magnificent as “The Master’s Wives.” And, if you’re still out there, I just wanted to tell you how nicely you filled out those sleep-garments almost 50 years ago! Hubba-hubba! (Seriously, you can hit me up on Facebook.)
Also, you can see the equipment and stuff in almost every single shot.
4.) Torgo. Mother-Effing-Torgo!
The Master has a lick-spittle little toady of a man-servant named Torgo. This is Torgo…
Torgo is some kind of weird Satyr-looking hillbilly or something. With his disturbing bendy-the-wrong-way legs , his wispy chin whiskers and his Camp Awanarapeya Troop leader hat, he looks like the unholy result of what you’d get if Mr. Tumnus from “Chronicles of Narnia” had been butt-plunged by Festus from “Gunsmoke.” I know goat-men can’t breed with old-west sidekicks but I’m trying to evoke an image here, people, cut me some slack.
Sadly, the actor who played Torgo committed suicide shortly after filming and never got to see the finished movie. Don’t say it was a mercy killing. That would be in poor taste. I prefer to remember him the way he was in the movie: young, vibrant, full of hope and with his legs on backward.
5.) It’s the Mystery Science theater guys doing their schtick live!
That’s right! Mike, Tom Servo, and Crow will be providing all new hilarious commentary. They now call it Rifftrax and I don’t know if they still use puppet robots or not. It will be hilarious, though.
“Manos: The Hands of Fate” is showing for one night only, tonight, at Cielo Vista and Tinseltown Remcon Cinemas.
Also, I will be dressing as Torgo for Halloween.