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Mystery Science Theatre - Manos

 Unrated   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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If 1966's Manos, the Hands of Fate isn't the worst film ever made, it's certainly one of the strangest; the Texas-lensed oddity, a vanity piece for writer-producer-director-star and fertilizer salesman Hal P. Warren, concerns a family that encounters a supernatural polygamy sect after an aimless drive through the Texas desert. An obscurity to all but the most dedicated "bad" movie fans, Manos was dragged into the spotlight by Mystery Science Theater 3000, which spawned something of a cult following. The Manos set pays tribute to both the film itself and the fourth-season MST3K episode that set off the revival with an impressive collection of extras. The episode, one of the series' best, finds Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgson) and the 'bots pushed to their limits to poke fun or even make sense of the picture (they are reduced to simply repeating the film's title during the endless driving sequences), and even Dr. Forrester (Trace Beaulieu) and TV's Frank (Frank Conniff) find it necessary to apologize for inflicting the film on them. Nevertheless, there are some stellar bits throughout the episode, many of which address one of the film's most unsettling aspects, the sect's twitchy, goatish henchman, Torgo: Joel and the 'bots muse on whether Torgo's weirdly oversized thighs (which, according to Manos lore, are due to his being a satyr) really make him a monster, and head writer Mike Nelson turns up in the closer as Torgo to make the world's longest pizza delivery. The episode also features the second half of the Chevrolet training film Hired!, one of MST3K's most well-loved shorts.

The two-disc Manos special edition includes both the original 1993 MST3K episode and the film minus the riffing, as well as a number of solid extras. Chief among these is Hotel Torgo, a terrific 2004 documentary that reveals the disastrous creation and release of Manos through an interview with a garrulous surviving cast member (Bernie Rosenbaum, one half of the "makeout couple") and visits to the original locations. Hodgson, Beaulieu, Conniff, and Mary Jo Pehl revisit their own tribulations with Torgo in Group Therapy, an amusing interview segment that examines the show's love-hate relationship with Manos. Both halves of Hired!, complete with riffing (though without Hired! The Musical, a hilarious song-and-dance spoof featured in MST3K's take on Bride of the Monster), are also included, as is a new feature short, Jam Handy to the Rescue, which looks at the production company responsible for Hired! in an educational film spoof starring and written by Larry Blamire (The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra). A brief interview with Hodgson on MST3K's long history of skewering short films and the original wraparounds from the syndicated Mystery Science Theater Hour round out this stellar, MSTie-must-have set. --Paul Gaita


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5.0 out of 5 stars "It makes me wanna pull my brains out!" Aug. 25 2011
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
"Mystery Science Theater 3000" is all about digging up the worst movies possible, and relentlessly making fun of them. But Joel and the robots may have met their match in "Manos, the Hands of Fate" -- a tedious, fossilized movie with literally no redeeming characteristics at all. While the movie is too awful to even be amusing, it's kept funny by the running commentary.

On the Satellite of Love, Joel experiments with a module that causes all the bots to worship him -- and of course, once he removes it, they go right back to normal. Then comes the invention exchange, which is about as surreal as you'd expect, and then some.

Then the guys go into the theater for "Manos, The Hands of Fate"... and yes, that comma SHOULD be a colon, but isn't. After being treated to a horrible short film about "prospects," they are launched into the worst movie in the world: after a few hours of "driving" footage and some cop-related red herrings, a very boring all-American family arrives at a weird out-of-the-way house, occupied only by the knobby-kneed Torgo.

Amazingly, Torgo's creepy tics and constant babbling about "the Master" doesn't tip the family off that something weird might be going on in this place. And of course, eventually the bots begin to go insane from the sheer ineptitude of it all -- "Hey look, there's a field! And another field! And another field!" "Oh yes, it's very scenic. It's just like a scene from... "Manos, the Hands of Fate!". Cue Tom's hysterical sobs.

Well, what can I say about the movie? It is a dusty, tedious, grotesquely dull lump of fossilized excrement and I can barely believe it was actually released in even one theater.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  59 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legendarily bad movie, great episode, The Master wants you! June 14 2011
By Valnastar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The Master wants you! This is a re-release of the most legendary of all MST3K episodes with cool new extra features. Manos: Hands Of Fate is not like other movies, you must see it to believe it, but only Joel and the 'Bots can get you through it.

Manos: Hands of Fate is a movie that is barely about anything, but here's a synopsis of what little story there is to it. A family of three, husband, wife and young daughter plus their little dog are looking for their vacation hotel. After an interminable driving sequence that goes nowhere, they end up in the middle of nowhere at a strange house run by a bizarre caretaker named, Torgo. The family makes the fateful decision to stay there for the night in spite of warnings from Torgo that "The Master would not approve." Their vacation kind of takes a downward turn from there!

Extra features on this new Shout! Factory release include:
Disc One: The classic MST3K episode plus
- A featurette called, "Group Therapy", in which Joel, Trace, Frank & Mary Jo relive the horror.
- The MST3K Hour wraps.
Disc Two:
- The original unMSTed movie.
- "Jam Handy To the Rescue!" A Daniel Griffith/Ballyhoo Production featurette (written by and starring Larry Blamire).
- Parts I and II of the short "Hired!"
- "My (Educational) Short Life," an Interview with Joel Hodgson.
- "Hotel Torgo".
- An exclusive mini-poster by artist Steve Vance.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tres Manos ? June 18 2011
By D. Steigman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Shout Factory has surprised us all once again with a new edition of Manos, the Hands of Fate ..one of , if not the most famous MST3K experiment of all time.
Manos is the most inept film out there, rivaling Creeping Terror, Beast of Yucca Flats in pure ineptitude. This also is one of the best episodes of MST3K - the jokes, the segments (Joel as Manos !) are hilarious. MST3K has given Manos all new heights of popularity ..it is the Citizen Kane of Bad Films..
Now as far as this release goes, it is packed with all new bonus features as reported on both the Satellite News and TV shows on DVD..
* Disc one will feature the classic MST3K episode, a featurette-"Group Therapy: Wherein Joel, Trace, Frank & Mary Jo relive the horror"-and the MST3K Hour wraps.
* Disc two will feature the original unMSTed movie, "Jam Handy To the Rescue!" A Daniel Griffith/Ballyhoo Production featurette (written by and starring Larry Blamire), BOTH parts of the short "Hired!" "My (Educational) Short Life," an Interview with Joel Hodgson and-wait for it-"Hotel Torgo". Also includes an exclusive mini-poster by artist Steve Vance.
Yes we get both versions of Manos on this disc...Ive seen Manos uncut and wrote a review about it already...there are a few shocking (sort of) moments that were cut for the film..
The question is "Do I get this version - I already have 2 copies of Manos"
Many are on the fence due to the two previous releases..Obviously the new bonus features make it difficult for those of us who own the previous releases..
Personally speaking Im getting this because of the features
What I would suggest however so we as consumers do not need to own three DVDs of Manos
Port over the Poopie from the first release
OR
Release Santa Claus Conquers the Martians as a stand alone which would then (at least for me) unload the Essentials..
I do think this release will be the best of the three, but it really is a judgement call depending on your interest in the supplements and owning a NON MST3K version of Manos :)
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It make me wanna pull my brains out!" June 15 2011
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"Mystery Science Theater 3000" is all about digging up the worst movies possible, and relentlessly making fun of them. But Joel and the robots may have met their match in "Manos, the Hands of Fate" -- a tedious, fossilized movie with literally no redeeming characteristics at all. While the movie is too awful to even be amusing, it's kept funny by the running commentary.

On the Satellite of Love, Joel experiments with a module that causes all the bots to worship him -- and of course, once he removes it, they go right back to normal. Then comes the invention exchange, which is about as surreal as you'd expect, and then some.

Then the guys go into the theater for "Manos, The Hands of Fate"... and yes, that comma SHOULD be a colon, but isn't. After being treated to a horrible short film about "prospects," they are launched into the worst movie in the world: after a few hours of "driving" footage and some cop-related red herrings, a very boring all-American family arrives at a weird out-of-the-way house, occupied only by the knobby-kneed Torgo.

Amazingly, Torgo's creepy tics and constant babbling about "the Master" doesn't tip the family off that something weird might be going on in this place. And of course, eventually the bots begin to go insane from the sheer ineptitude of it all -- "Hey look, there's a field! And another field! And another field!" "Oh yes, it's very scenic. It's just like a scene from... "Manos, the Hands of Fate!". Cue Tom's hysterical sobs.

Well, what can I say about the movie? It is a dusty, tedious, grotesquely dull lump of fossilized excrement and I can barely believe it was actually released in even one theater. An example: after a make-out session is interrupted by a cop, the girl pauses, glances around as if confused, rearranges her hair and then shrieks in a Britney Spears voice, "Whah doncha leave us ALONE?"

I mean it. The movie is so bad that Frank and Dr. Forrester actually call to tell Joel and the bots that they feel sorry for them.

But the snark aimed at it is nothing short of BRILLIANT, especially since they have to make the worst movie EVER be entertaining just with their own wit. Of course, the bots spend most of the story alternately snarking ("Uh, that's not how you wear your Depends, Torgo") and sobbing ("Ma-ma-ma-MANOS! THE HANDS OF FATE!"). And, of course, mocking the horrible production values, ghastly dialogue, and spasmodic acting.

This particular edition is a deluxe two-disk edition. For one thing, it has the original movie... which I don't recommend watching unless you have a bunch of drunk friends to do your own MST3K impression of. It also has some truly awful shorts, featurettes, an interview with Joel, "Hotel Torgo," an interview with Bernie Rosenblum (aka Teenager in Car)/making-of story, and more. This sounds absolutely awesome.

"Manos, the Hands of Fate" is unquestionably the worst movie ever released in theaters (although I'm sure there are some worse student films out there), but the Mystery Science Theater 3000 snark is classic. Ma-ma-ma-MANOS! THE HANDS OF FATE!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Manos" the uh... hands of fate. Sept. 9 2012
By Blu Boy - Published on Amazon.com
"Manos the hands of fate" is easily one of the dumbest movies you can ever sit through. It is unthinkable how this turd got made. Thank God it did. This is one of my top 3 favorite MST3K episodes (with Pod People and Angels Revenge). Joel and the bots had a hard time riffing on this one and it's easy to see why. The film leaves you speachless.

The brilliance of this episode is the fact that Joel and the bots often seem as bewhildered as the audience watching this cinematic abortion. Long periods of "hmm..." "uh..." and "wha..." seem to space this film from begining to end. You know it's bad when the best riffs come from just repeating the title in an incredulous voice.

Do yourself a favor. Sit back, grab a cold drink and enjoy one of the weirdest things ever put to celluloid. The master wants you to!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good episode with memorable characters! July 10 2012
By Stuff My Cat Wants NOW!!! - Published on Amazon.com
As MST3k is sort of a show within a show within a movie format, I like to review each part of the episode as a good or bad part can save or ruin the entire episode.

The movie: This movie is usually ranked as one of the worst movies ever made. Why, you ask? Example #219: The movie producers built a leg contraption so that Torgo would look like a satyr with backwards bending legs. The only problem is that the actor playing Torgo wore the contraption backwards. So instead of looking like a satyr, he instead looks like his knees are swollen and the device made him walk very stiffly and unbalanced (points very well mocked by Joel and the bots). You would think a movie with such bad acting, directing, ... well bad everything, would be good in a funny mocking way. But excluding Torgo(and his accompanying "Torgo's Theme") and a few hilaroius scenes due to unintentional production errors, the movie is very boring and nearly unwatchable. I do not know if I could have sat through it without the riffing.

Segments: The opening segment is funny and there is a pre-Mike Mike appearance in the last segment. The rest are ok. However the mads do something unusual during the movie which I loved.

Riffs: The riffs are funny and evenly spread out. Joel and the bots have a lot of fun pointing out the terrible parts of the movie - which is basically the entire movie.

Overall: Every since I started watching MST3k, all I have ever heard from other fans is that "Manos" was the BEST EPISODE EVER!!! While "Manos" might be the worst movie MST3k ever viewed (IMO the worst was "Batwoman"), I found it to be a very good and very funny episode - but clearly not a top 10 episode. If you do plan to watch a lot of MST3k episodes, then this episode is actually a required episode as some of the characters are mentioned and shown in other episodes (in fact Torgo might be the most called back character). But please be prepared to be underwhelemed by the hype that has somehow surrounded this episode.

Other: The opening is the conclusion of the "Hired!" short. The riffing is hilarious and this is one of the better shorts.
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