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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.29%
Worth A Look: 2.44%
Average: 1.22%
Pretty Bad: 3.66%
Total Crap74.39%

1 review, 76 user ratings

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Manos, The Hands of Fate
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by EricDSnider

"It's not 'so bad, it's good.' It's 'so bad, it's unbearable.'"
1 stars

Before "Mystery Science Theater 3000" made it legendary, "Manos: The Hands of Fate" had deservedly been forgotten by history. It was not a cult-classic bad film like "Plan 9 from Outer Space," nor had it been a big-name or big-budget disaster like "Waterworld" or "Ishtar." I doubt it ever played anywhere outside its native El Paso, Texas, where a fertilizer magnate financed, wrote, directed and starred in it. It was a non-entity.

Then "MST3K," that mixed blessing of a brilliant television show, brought it to our consciousness. The makers of that show declared it the worst film they'd ever watched, which made it more notable than other offerings on the series, and now it is something we all must reckon with.

People unfamiliar with how "MST3K" works may feel that the worse a movie is, the more enjoyable it is to watch when your intent is to heckle it. This is not the case with "Manos." "Manos" is virtually unwatchable without the aid of Joel and the 'bots and their merciless mocking. The cast members of that show have described their own horror at having to view the film several times; indeed, writer Mary Jo Pehl observed, "There were many times during the writing process when we simply couldn't make comments, so caught up in the wretchedness of this movie were we."

Did you catch that? These are people who made a living at commenting on wretched movies, yet THIS one was SO wretched, they often were at a loss for words. I do not advise anyone to watch "Manos: The Hands of Fate" unassisted. It's not "so bad it's good"; it's just bad.

The plot is as follows: Michael (Hal Warren, also director/producer/etc.) and Margaret (Diane Mahree) are going for a weekend trip with their little girl, Debbie (Stephanie Nielson), when a wrong turn takes them to a weird little lodge in the middle of the desert. It's run by The Master (Tom Neyman), and assisted by Torgo (John Reynolds), a dim, lubricious, other-worldly man who immediately starts hitting on Margaret and creeping everyone out.

What is The Master the master of, you ask? Good question. We know he has a bevy of semi-dead wives out in the backyard, and that they do weird cult stuff and summon "Manos," whoever that may be; jokes about the Mormons should be kept to yourself, thank you. We also know The Master is not a very good boss, occasionally abusing Torgo and at one point burning his hand off.

Anyway, Michael can't even get his car started, much less make his shrill wife or daughter shut up, and for as much evil and repulsiveness as the film contains, it's actually quite dull.

What makes "Manos: The Hands of Fate" noteworthy is that every aspect of it is badly done. Writing, directing, acting, cinematography, sound, lighting, sets, costumes, music, plot, character -- it's all inept and worthless. With most bad movies, at least you can tell professionals were making it. For example, "Freddy Got Fingered" may be an awful film, but at least everything is framed properly in the picture. And "Armageddon" is really stupid, but at least you can hear people when they talk.

I'll tell you who should see this movie without the "MST3K" hecklings: film students. They need to see what evil can be unleashed when they are careless, lazy, or on cocaine. Just as "Citizen Kane" is a textbook example of how to make a quality film, "Manos: The Hands of Fate" is exemplary in showing us, step-by-step, how to make a bad one.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 06/25/01 09:46:43
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/12/18 rk viewd twice, non MST, great story and atmosphere. watch star wars 7 for garbage 5 stars
5/26/11 chris c The devil made a movie to torture all his sinners 1 stars
4/30/11 man worst movie ever 1 stars
3/25/11 mr.mike Actually I have seen worse. 2 stars
12/31/10 Dave This film makes Ed Wood's work look good 1 stars
4/27/10 Sugarfoot An awful film, best left to the professionals (MST3K)as It's just tragically unwatchable 1 stars
1/25/07 Ryan_A Unrelentingly horrible. 1 stars
7/25/06 David Cohen Some schlock has it, this one don't, slow and ponderous, flabbergasts instead of amuses 1 stars
10/14/05 Georgie Best Fucking Hell! 1 stars
10/04/05 Chris This truly is the worst film ever made, it's almost impossible to watch. 1 stars
8/26/05 Gregorew The best subliminal illogical comedy out there, better than Xtro 5 stars
7/24/05 Duffyboy666 Worse than your mind will physically allow you to imagine 1 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma Damn, it's that bad? 2 stars
6/03/05 Indrid Cold Fuck "Plan 9"; this is the ultimate bad movie. Ineffably, hilariously bad in every way. 1 stars
5/09/05 Colin How did this not win the Oscar? Even the master liked it, and he is hard to please! A+. 5 stars
2/24/05 Kati Hilariously awful, but only good for a few viewings. 1 stars
2/22/05 Dr. Martin The best movie of all trime!!!!! 5 stars
2/03/05 Tim B there are movies that are so bad that they're enjoyable. this is worse than all of them. 1 stars
10/29/04 armo ogodogodogodogodnononononooooo 1 stars
6/20/04 Spiderfan50 Gayos and the Gay Hands of Gayte! 1 stars
6/16/04 franknutz man torgo is great he needs a sequel with good directing and story otherwise crap 1 stars
6/15/04 Owen Easily the worst movie ever made. MST3K version is great though. 1 stars
6/09/04 Jen After I watched this I sat with my mouth open... For three hours!!! 1 stars
5/16/04 Tim This movie is SO BAD, its FUNNY! I mean.. The camera re-plays frames all the time! 4 stars
4/25/04 Lesterwink23 It's really as bad as you've heard...and worse. 1 stars
4/09/04 Mistie42 NOTES:Don't film w/a soundless camera that films 32 sec./time & LOOK OUT FOR MOTHS! 1 stars
1/13/04 Chris So bad, there are no words. 1 stars
1/01/04 Nate MST3K version is awesome. However, this movie is beneath "Total Crap" 1 stars
11/19/03 tjf Beyond bad. But Diane Mahree is hot, especially dressed in her slip. 1 stars
3/26/03 Monster W. Kung Excruciatingly boring and inept. 1 stars
3/25/03 Cory Allen The haunting Torgo theme... still haunts me to this day. 1 stars
3/18/03 Slade Evil, evil movie; even MST3K couldn't make it good! You need a lower rating. 1 stars
11/20/02 Torgo I take care of the place while the master is away 1 stars
7/25/02 Kyle Who can honestly enjoy this movie without drugs? 1 stars
4/30/02 Angie Oh God! This was a terrible movie! The only redeeming quality was Torgo! All hail Torgo! 1 stars
4/30/02 sara Vidervol This is the best bad movie ever! Everything about it sucks. I love Torgo! 5 stars
3/18/02 Jo Marsh Painful to watch even with MST3K! 1 stars
3/07/02 Alan Smithee All hail Torgo!!!! 5 stars
3/03/02 Jerry Anyone who rates this piece of shit higher than "Total Crap" is a pothead! 1 stars
2/24/02 Katie it's so awful, you can't help but love it. 5 stars
2/09/02 squirrel The poor, pathetic (and highly laughable) Torgo is the only good thing in this film. 1 stars
1/28/02 Ray Masterson The written word fails me. I cannot articulate the amount of "yucky" embodied in this film 1 stars
1/24/02 kevin hanson MST3K is the only thing that saves it 1 stars
1/10/02 Andrew Horton Drivel, pure drivel. Satan had his hands on this one. Oh the humanity! 1 stars
12/18/01 Donna Frese MST3K saves this film; otherwise, don't watch it without their guidance. 1 stars
12/05/01 Jordan Tomter This is the greatest movie of all time, you should buy it just for Torgo! 5 stars
11/30/01 phonzarelli this movie was awesome...torgo is the man! 5 stars
11/18/01 Jerry Worse movie ever. Even with MST3K guys there, it's hard to watch. 1 stars
11/09/01 Torgo I take care of the place while the master is away.... 3 stars
10/29/01 MikeyB I cant stress this enough; THIS MOVIE IS THE WORST FILM EVER MADE! 1 stars
10/08/01 vE I saw this on the bigscreen sans MST3K. I was stoned. It was great. Reviewer is a wuss. 5 stars
9/28/01 :P I is smorter nuw! 5 stars
9/21/01 Hal Warren screw all you people, it was my only work give me a break! 5 stars
9/16/01 Dan Summers The End? I sure hope so! 2 stars
8/25/01 Jason Ragucci When is Part 2 going to come out? 4 stars
8/18/01 Niff Layton Saw it a few years ago. My therapist says I'll be okay eventually. 1 stars
8/16/01 Brian Spiegel The crappiest movie ever made, It makes me glad i was watching it on MST3k 1 stars
8/13/01 Jeff Stone Mind-Shatteringly Awful...So Bad It Transcends Itself 1 stars
8/12/01 Thoughtmachine This is what the Dadists worked so hard to create, and failed. 1 stars
8/09/01 Scab Scum To hell with the lot of you, Manos rules!!! 5 stars
8/08/01 Edward K Lankford The horror...must be watched with a joint. 1 stars
8/06/01 Manos Hater Absolute suck beginning to end. 1 stars
8/04/01 Consularus So it was produced by a guy who makes fertilizer? NOW I understand !!! 1 stars
8/02/01 alejandro galligaro aka ninjaxx this movie rocks all those other cult films to hell. it's truly a bitchin adrenaline ride! 5 stars
8/01/01 Keyser Soze It couldn't be any worse 1 stars
7/30/01 Amanda Makes "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" look like "Lawrence of Arabia." A truly awful film. 1 stars
7/30/01 AKB Worst film ever, hands down 1 stars
7/21/01 gus just trying to defend the ratings- i haven't actually seen it... 5 stars
7/20/01 david gipson MSTied ver. brings it 10 spots to a 1-star 1 stars
7/02/01 Dustin What Crap 1 stars
5/26/01 J Actually its not one of THE worst films just pretty close. 1 stars
4/17/01 Thomas Kaufmann Was There Even a script to this movie? Why does it look like torgo wore his depends to low? 1 stars
3/04/01 Rael Slow, inert, idiotic, amatuerish: Perfect MST3K fodder! 1 stars
9/17/00 Jed This is known as one of MST3K's worst films. You have been warned. 1 stars
10/25/99 Bueller This is a better horror film than "The Blair Witch Project." Not that that's hard to do. 1 stars
9/28/99 JED The worst film ever made but one of the best on MST3K 1 stars
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  01-Jan-1966 (NR)

  01-Jan-1966 (U)


Directed by
  Hal Warren

Written by
  Hal Warren

  Diane Mahree
  Joyce Molleur
  Jackey Neyman
  Tom Neyman

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