Mystery Science Theater 3000 Presents "Manos: The Hands of Fate"
Published Aug 22, 2011Easily one of the most popular of the cinematic disasters revived by Mystery Science Theater 3000, the abominable Manos: The Hands of Fate is a truly terrible film. Illogical, incompetent and totally insane, Manos was made on the thinnest of shoestring budgets by a Texas fertilizer magnate (who also stars in the film) in an attempt to win a bet that anyone could make a crappy horror movie. Its bizarre bits are punctuated by long, dull stretches where either nothing happens or the same thing happens repeatedly. This kind of entropy has made it the perfect fodder for the wisecracking space robots of MST3K and their human companions (in this case, creator Joel Hodgson, making his final appearance on the show). Manos, which aired in 1993 as the last episode of the fourth season, was one of the titles that helped launch MST3K beyond cult status and it must be seen to be believed. The truly adventurous have the option with this new set to watch the original film by itself, but it's a testament to the MST3K charm that watching it with and without robot commentary are two vastly different experiences. MST3K's greatest strength was that they could always make fun of the films without sounding too snarky or snobbish; they made fun to have fun. Manos is so extraordinarily ridiculous, incompetent and nonsensical that it seems otherworldly. It's less entertainingly bad than a complete curiosity. In a truly bizarre twist of fate, MST3K has rescued a film destined to turn to celluloid dust and rehabilitated it. This generous DVD package explores the Manos mythos. On the first of two discs, the original infamous episode is packaged with a great panel discussion with the show's creators (called "Group Therapy") about the film's odd appeal, and some hilarious buffer spots for the "Mystery Science Theatre Hour" with Michael J. Nelson aping A&E Biography host Jack Perkins. Disc two includes the original, unexpurgated Manos: The Hands of Fate in its fully zoned-out glory, a making-of documentary, called Hotel Torgo, the complete, ludicrous industrial short that preceded Manos about car salesmen (Hired) and a hilarious documentary about training film pioneer Jam Handy. Hours and hours of wacky entertainment await! (Shout! Factory)