Film Review: Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)

Release Date: November 15th, 1966
Directed by: Harold P. Warren
Written by: Harold P. Warren
Music by: Russ Huddleston, Robert Smith Jr.
Cast: Tom Neyman, John Reynolds, Diane Mahree, Harold P. Warren

Sun City Films, Emerson Film Enterprises, 70 Minutes


“Every frame of this movie looks like someone’s last known photo.” – Joel, Mystery Science Theater 3000

With all these reviews I’ve written and all the films featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 that I have covered, I hadn’t yet gotten to the film that was the focal point of the most popular MST3K episode ever. But alas, here we are and I am finally reviewing the infamous and godawful Manos: The Hands of Fate.

The reason I hadn’t gotten to this yet is because the film is such a damn bore to get through. The commentary on MST3K makes it watchable to a point but even then, this is just a dreadful experience in every way. But never has a film deserved more ridicule than this piece of painful bloody excrement.

You see, I like many bad movies. Many of them are likable for their flaws. Ed Wood’s films, for instance, are damn near lovable because they have heart and charm in spite of their defects. Plus they have an interesting cast of characters. Manos has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. None.

The story sees a man, a woman and their child stop off at some country shack that is a hotel or something. It is run by a weird guy named Torgo, who looks after the place for “the Master”. Then this “Master” wakes up and a bunch of weird nonsensical shit happens and his brides wrestle around in togas in an effort to win his favor. Torgo pervs out on the wife, the husband is a wimp and the daughter is completely useless. There really isn’t much else going on but somehow the film is 70 minutes long.

Manos: The Hands of Fate is an ugly film visually and audibly. The cinematography doesn’t exist in any coherent way. The lighting is also horrendous. The costumes are worse than those at a Halloween party around a hobo fire. The soundtrack is irritating and shrill. The film’s overall audio sounds like lines spoken through two tin cans connected by a string. The picture is a technical marvel of shitastic proportions.

The acting and writing are even worse. I don’t think there was a script for this movie. I feel like the actors were handed a single index card with a few bullet points jotted down and that’s all they had.

For some reason, there are people that like this film because it is shit. I don’t trust those people. Again, I love a lot of bad movies but the ones I love have things to love about them whether it is Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space or Tommy Wiseau’s The Room or hell… even Jaws: The Revenge.

Manos is hands down one of the worst films I have ever seen. It fails in every possible way. Watching a rat in a glue trap trying to survive by munching on its own feces is a more worthwhile experience.

Rating: 0.5/10