Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)

Well here is a motion picture experience like none other. I had of course been aware of the movie and its infamous reputation as one of the worst movies ever made for years, so I admit that I got all tingly as I pressed play and started the journey to the beyond that is Manos: The Hands of Fate experience. And let me tell you, every minute of it was its own special reward. My goodness gracious, in the years I have watched bad B-movies I have never experienced anything that comes even close to Manos.

It has positively earned its reputation multifold and then some. Words simply fail me. First of all, I completely understand the appeal. There is a clear and distinct reason why the movie has exploded in popularity since the wider public became aware of it through Mystery Science Theater 3000 over twenty years ago. It really has this irresistible, one might call mesmerizing, B-movie charm that you cannot fight. There are so much things wrong with it that make no sense what so ever and the sheer maddening confusion that is the story forms such a magnificent mess that it’s like witnessing a trainwreck that you cannot look away from, you’re too mesmerized. This is a prime text book example of what makes true bad movies fun to watch. You simply cannot reproduce this type of  “it’s so bad it’s good” effect if you intentionally set out to make a bad movie like Sharknado (seriously, two sequels and counting?) and say it’s meant to be bad ironically, it just doesn’t work. The filmmakers have to have been genuinely trying to make a good movie and miserably fail in order for it to work, or it just comes out fake.

The movie simply is endearing its badness, everything from the ridiculous fake knees on Torgo to the nonsensical scenes of the couple making out in the desert and repeatedly being interrupted by the local cops, all on its own they’re absolutely terrible, but mixed together, as if by accident, they create an unforgettable concoction of humorous incompetent filmmaking that has you laughing for ages. The one genuinely good thing in the movie is actually the music, and it truly is amazing. It actually salvages much of the senseless scenes thanks to the otherwordly vibe it produces, you could even a form an argument that the enigmatic music is the one and only support beam that redeems the movie to its awful B-movie glory.

Manos: The Hands of Fate is a movie every B-movie fan needs to experience at least once, as well have it decorate one’s movie shelf in physical form. I’m so enthralled by this movie that despite already owning a DVD copy of it, I have seriously been thinking about getting the newly restored 2K print Bluray once that becomes commercially available later this year.


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