Thursday, 9 February 2012

Manos: The Hands of Fate

Manos: The Hands of Fate - A film so bad, it's an insult to cinema.
There are films that are so bad that they're good. Classic example: The Room. There are films that are so bad that they're just bad. Classic example: Ben and Arthur. Then there are films that are so bad, that they make you say to yourself: "What the actual fuck did I just watch?" Enter the cult classic Manos: The Hands of Fate, a film so bad that it takes you a while to actually comprehend the overall awfulness of it. I watched it more than 24 hours ago and I still haven't processed how bad it is. This film is so bad, it's a damn right insult to cinema.

I'm not gonna waste time telling you a lot about the context so I'll get straight into the 'plot'. One day, a couple and their young daughter are on a road trip. While attempting to find their accommodation, they get lost down a deserted road and end up at a shack-like place. They are welcomed in by a supposedly disabled man named Torgo, who is looking after the place while his 'master' is away. They soon learn (these people have obviously never seen a horror movie before) that they aren't allowed to leave the shack. It turns out that the 'master' is actually a Satanist (or some shit like that) who worships some being named Manos, while also collecting wives from the people who are trapped in the inn. And so you could probably guess where it goes from there.

The infamous scene where a clapper board is seen on screen.
Manos: The Hands of Fate put simply has all the hallmarks that makes a bad cult classic movie...a bad cult classic movie. The acting in this is beyond abysmally awful, ranging from the completely over-the-top shown through the Master, to the completely dull and effortless, seen through the husband Michael. This in particularly is to be expected, considering the actor playing the director and the writer of the fucking movie, which is equally as dull and effortless. The standout performance (in a hilarious way) is John Reynolds as Torgo. This is a character and a performance that has to be seen and heard to be believed. God knows what the fuck he was doing. It is an absolute continuity nightmare, as well as having next to no production value whatsoever. In fact, in one of the scenes, you actually see the clapper board being pulled away. It's that bad and low. As you'd probably expect, there is zip characterization, as well as a lack of scares and atmosphere. A bad sign when you're trying to make a horror film.

The thing that sets Manos: The Hands of Fate apart from all those other bad cult classics, is the fact that that it is so crushingly, mind-numbingly, brain-cell reducingly dumb. I could literally feel brain-cells rotting away while watching it. I mean, this is perhaps the dumbest film I've ever seen, and I've seen Transformers 2. As an indication of how dumb this film is, take a look at the title. The English translation from the Spanish word Manos is hands. Meaning that the title of this film is Hands: The Hands of Fate. Meaning that the being the Master is worshiping is named Hands. Then you realise that the Harold P. Warren, the writer/director has a weird obsession with hands. The subtitle "The Hands of Fate" is not a metaphor. It appears to be literal. I mean the Master's costume is a massive Batman cape that when opened reveals two giant orange hands. And his staff has a hand on the end of it. Hands. Hands. Hands Hands, FUCKING HANDS! EVERYWHERE! The other dumb thing about this film are the characters, who are so dumb that they are oblivious to EVERYTHING that happens around them. It gets to the point where you literally want to take a gun to the head.

The other unforgivable thing about this 'film' is that it is sooooooooo boring and slow, despite it thankfully being only 68 minutes long. For example, the first 10 minutes of the film is unnecessarily comprised of the same shot of them driving around trying to find this place, only occasionally cutting back to a downright stupid and, you guessed it, dumb subplot about a young couple kissing in their car and being followed around by police. Yuh huh. This all makes the film so much more tortuous.

If I had to praise anything about this film, I would say that the soundtrack is somewhat halfway decent, even though the audio in the film rarely synchronizes with what it should do. But when watching this film, you just get the feeling that they aren't even trying to make a film. It feels like a something a bunch of people just vomited up over the weekend. After watching this film, I made a comparison to Tommy Wiseau's The Room, and found that I was convinced that The Room was a decent film. Manos: The Hands of Fate is that bad. Although it may sound like it has entertainment value, don't be fooled. It doesn't. This would be a good, more humane weapon for torture. Avoid this like your life depended on it.



  1. Great review, I only heard of this film because it was shown on How I Met Your Mother, and I look forward to seeing it in all its awful glory