I had heard about how Manos: The Hands Of Fate was supposedly the worst movie ever made. So I decided I would see how bad this movie really is and maybe do a review of it and WOW!!! What I had pictured in my head was nowhere near as horrible as what I got! Good God, if you took the combined awfulness of Leprechaun: In the Hood and Super Mario Bros. (the two movies as of now that I gave 1s), you wouldn’t be quite the disgrace to cinema that director/star Hal Warren is.
Where did Warren come from? Turns out he was a Hollywood outsider who made a bet that he could make a movie with a friend, then raised money to make a movie. That movie was Manos, which played in few theaters and fell into obscurity. That is until Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffed it. It has since developed a cult “following.” But I’m sorry to say that I watched the purest version of the film, and I need Tylenol. Bad.
Manos is a mid-20th century horror movie about a man named Michael and his wife and daughter who get lost and wander into a haunted house. And is it scary! But not scary because of the monsters and spooky timing. No, scary because Warren was no director and had no idea what he was doing. There is not one aspect of this movie that is not a major league train wreck!
What you’re getting yourself into becomes clear in the opening minutes of the film when you see Michael’s view of his car driving. This goes on for an entire minute. Warren greases things up with jump cuts to show the landscape changing, letting us know that this is taking awhile. A couple of these shots appear to show driving that should cause an accident but apparently doesn’t. Mind you, this begins roughly five minutes into the damn thing!
Unfortunately, the acting is significantly less well-polished than the filming. Every performance is absolutely atrocious! The worst would be John Reynolds as Torgo, He often pauses before he’s supposed to speak for no apparent reason, can’t maintain an even flow of voice, and sometimes says something that contradicts something else that he just said. This is where Warren’s inexperience stops being an excuse. Didn’t it occur to him to re-shoot these scenes? On the other hand, maybe these are the improvements.
Torgo serves The Master, who has to be the most unconvincing horror villain ever. They do a huge build-up that made me believe I was going to see a way-cool villain, or more accurately, what was intended to be a way-cool villain.
The Master proves to be no Darth Vader. He’s not even Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze. He acts in a very cliche and unconvincing way. Not Torgo unconvincing, but certainly below the bottom of the ordinary barrel
Following some pointless and frankly nonsensical bickering between The Master and his wives, he decides to make a new wife out of Margaret. This leads to a bunch of horror cliches and nonsense. The movie ends in an incredibly unsatisfactory, ergo, fitting, way. Michael is shooting at The Master with his pistol when we cut to morning. We soon see who won the fight that we didn’t actually get to see. You know, I feel no need to elaborate on what’s wrong with that.
After having sat through the Chinese water torture that is this movie, I realize the dangers of morbid curiosity. I actually doubted what some said of Manos. But it’s no wonder everybody loves to hate this movie. A lot of “worst movie ever” picks on the Internet (like Highlander 2: the Quickening and Catwoman) cannot begin to compare to this movie. It is truly in its own realm of suckiness.
Overall: – 7 out of 10