Joel and the Bots face up to one of the worst movies made: Manos: The Hands of Fate, and a legendary episode was born.
|424 - Manos: The Hands of Fate|
|Air Date||January 30, 1993|
|Running Time||92 min|
|AKA||The Lodge of Sins, "Mangos, cans of fruit", "Fingers of Fate" (workprint title)|
|Movie Director||Harold P. Warren|
|Cast||Tom Neyman, John Reynolds, Diane Mahree, Harold P. Warren|
|Preceded by||423 - Bride of the Monster|
|Followed by||501 - Warrior of the Lost World|
Hired! Part 2 (1940)
Continuing from the first part, Fat doughy managing salesman is inspired by his creepy father on how to motivate and instruct his young, clueless car salesman on how to close. It is considerably less intense than Glengarry Glen Ross, but still unnerving.
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 (Jackie Neyman) and their dog, 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), with the assistance of 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. We also know The Master is not a very pleasant boss, occasionally abusing Torgo and at one point pulling his hand off and burning it.
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 -- you name it, it's all inept and worthless. With most bad movies, at least you can tell professionals were making it. 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 and lazy. 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. 
- Manos: The Hands of Fate is a film written, directed, and produced by American fertilizer salesman Harold P. Warren in 1966 as a result of a bet he made with scriptwriter Stirling Silliphant in a bar. He intended to make a successful horror film on a shoestring budget. The result, filmed entirely on location in El Paso, Texas, was a movie considered among the worst films ever made. After a failed debut, the film remained in almost complete obscurity until 1992 when it was featured in an episode of the television comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000.
- Tom Neyman built metal riggings as leg braces for actor John Reynolds, on the bottom of which were cloven hooves. Torgo was half-man, half-goat! Unfortunately, the silhouettes of Joel, Tom, and Crow obscured the few shots where we might have been able to see Torgo’s goat feet. Additionally Reynolds wore the braces backwards, causing him a great deal of pain which resulted in an addiction to painkillers.
- All of the sound was done in post-production. Hal Warren, his wife, Tom Neyman, and Diane Mahree recorded the voice tracks in a sound studio. Everyone else’s dialogue – including Torgo’s – was dubbed by other people.
- The camera on which Warren shot the film could only record takes of a maximum of 32 seconds.
- The film's title is itself redundant, since "manos" is the Spanish word for "hands", thus one could call it "Hands: The Hands of fate".
- The movie was originally called 'The Lodge of Sins.' In production, Warren, for some unknown reason, changed the title to 'Manos'. As time wore on and tempers frayed, the crew began jokingly referring to the project as, 'Mangos: Cans of Fruit.' 
- In 2011, the original 16 mm Ektachrome camera workprint of Manos: The Hands of Fate was discovered in a collection of 16 mm films by Ben Solovey, a Florida State film school grad. Solovey has announced his intention to preserve and restore Manos for a High Definition Blu-ray release. Click here for more information.
- According to killerfilm.com, there is a sequal coming called "Manos: The Search for Valley Lodge". In which “A woman battling mental illness regains her memory and heads into the deserts of El Paso, Texas to confront her inner demons and discover her mysterious past.” Some of the original cast members will be back. The film is presumed for a 2011 shooting schedule for a 2013 release.
Prologue: Joel has installed a chip in the Bots that makes everything he does seem brilliant, but it quickly gets on his nerves.
Segment One (Invention Exchange): The Bots are disgruntled over the chip. In Deep 13, the Mads invent the Chocolate Bunny Guillotine (which Frank despises), while on the SOL Joel introduces the Cartuner to combine two boring comic strips into one funny strip.
Segment Two: Joel and the Bots recreate the opening driving scene from the movie when they are pulled over by Officer Gypsy, but Cambot's failure to stop the blue screen footage pushes them over the edge. Frank apologizes for the movie.
Segment Three: Joel and the Bots discuss exaggerated features that make for a horrifying monster, but can’t agree if Torgo counts as one. They propose scarier looking monsters based on exaggurated or missing body parts.
Segment Five: The Bots reenact the wive's wrestling game from the movie to cheer Joel up (though he is not quite pleased over this). In Deep 13, Frank ordered from Torgo’s Pizza over two hours ago. Torgo finally shows up, but accidently leaves their pop in the car. Frank disturbingly notes the pizza is still pretty warm.
Stinger: Girl in car saying "Why don’t you guys leave us alone?"
- Torgo: Michael J. Nelson
- Unusual credits: Torgo's theme music plays instead of "Mighty Science Theater" (which due to it's shorter length loops several times).
- Goofs: At the end of the movie, when the thank you credits pop up for El Paso, TX if you look at Joel's face as they exit the theater you'll notice he has his glasses on. This is because in real life Joel did indeed wear glasses but most likely wore contacts on the show. They helped him see the screen that was on the ground during taping.
Quotes & References
- "Hired 2: Electric Boogaloo."
- The 1984 film Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo was a follow-up to the original Breakin', also, strangely, a 1984 film. This cheese-fest attempted to cash in on the breakdancing craze that was sweeping the world at that point, and starred people with names like Boogaloo Shrimp and Shabba-Doo as character living in a world where breakdancing solved all problems. As pointed out on the IMDb, "The phrase 'Electric Boogaloo' has passed into common usage as the sub-title for any facetious sequel." The big 1996 official MST3K convention was called "ConventionCon Expo-Fest-A-Rama 2: Electric Boogaloo."
*"Jam Handy to the rescue!"
- "Jim Dandy to the rescue..." is a lyric from the song "Jim Dandy," first performed by R&B singer LaVerne Baker on her 1957 self-titled album. The song was a hit again in 1973 with the rock band Black Oak Arkansas.
- "I may be wonderful, but I think you're wrong."
- Quote from the Marx Brothers' 1930 comedy Animal Crackers, spoken by Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding to Chico Marx as Ravelli.
- "Give 'em hell, Harry!"
- Rally cry of supporters of Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States. During the 1948 Presidential campaign, Truman public appearances attracted enthusiastic crowd, who often cried out, "Give 'em hell, Harry!"
- "Take his prospects for example." "Please!"
- Comedian Henny Youngman was the original king of the one-liners. While many of his jokes are now overused, when Youngman did them for the first time, they were fresh and hysterical. One of his most popular gags, now used by uncountable would-be funny guys, is the classic, "For example, take my wife. Please!"
- "I wonder." "I wa-wa-wa-wa-wonder!"
- Singer Del Shannon's 1961 debut single, "Runaway," features this combination of lines.
- "Meanwhile, Eliot Ness and his Untouchables head for a speak-easy in Berwyn!"
- This shot, with a group of men in period clothing in the old-fashioned car, looks like it could be right out of "The Untouchables" television series (1959-63). The show was vaguely based on the adventures of real-life federal agent Eliot Ness (played by Robert Stack) and his men, dubbed the Untouchables, as they fight crime (especially the mob) in 1930s Chicago. The line delivered by Tom is typical of the program's narration, supplied by Walter Winchell.
- "Meeting with Floyd the Barber." "Ooo, the car is so wonderful... ooo..."
- The customer here does resemble Floyd Lawson (played by Howard McNear), the town barber on "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960-8). Floyd was an enthusiastic fellow, speaking in pretty much the voice Crow uses, going "Oooo..." a lot.
- "Are you now or have you ever been a Ford owner?"
- In the United States during the height of the 1950s "Red Scare," the House Un-American Activities Committee, went on something of a witch-hunt, attempting to root out Communists, owing to a belief that Communist agents had infiltrated the government and the entertainment industry. Each witness called during the HUAC's investigations had to start by answering the question "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist party?"
- "Adlai Stevenson buys a car."
- Adlai Stevenson (1900-65) was one of America's great "lost causes" as a national political leader. Stevenson ran for President twice, but, despite being well liked, especially by liberals, was beat both times by Dwight Eisenhower.
- "Inka dinka doo!"
- With his big nose, the character here resembles comedian Jimmy Durante (nicknamed the Schnoz). The song "Inka Dinka Doo" became one of Durante's trademarks after he performed it in the 1934 film Palooka.
- "Like father, like son. Think about it, won't you?"
- From an anti-smoking public service announcement of the 1960s. The ad showed sons imitating their fathers (playing sports, etc.), and ended with the sons smoking, just like their dads.
- "Poodle bites, poodle chews."
- Spoken by Tom Servo as the family sits at the vista point at the beginning of the movie. This is a line from the song 'Dirty Love ' by Frank Zappa .
- "Cousin Itt!"
:Cousin Itt is a recurring guest character from the various incarnations of "The Addams Family." Itt was nothing more that a giant walking mound of hair, with no visible face. He also had a high squeaky voice the audience could never understand and sometimes wore a hat. In the original series (1964-6), Itt was played by Felix Silla (body) and Tony Magro (voice); in the 1991 and 1993 motion pictures, by John Franklin; and in "The New Addams Family" (1998-9) by David Mylrea (body) and Paul Dobson (voice).
- "Let's sing something from Pearl Jam!"
- Formed in 1990 (built on the remains of a few other bands), Pearl Jam became one of the leading bands of the grunge movement. Their debut album was titled Ten (1991) and featured their first big hit, "Jeremy." Other albums include Vs. (1993), Yield (1998) and Binaural (2000).
- "Row, row, row your boat. Sing, dammit, sing!"
- Late in the classic Clint Eastwood cop film Dirty Harry (1971), psycho-killer Scorpio (Andrew Robinson) kidnaps a busload of children, holding them at gunpoint. At one point, he demands that the children keep singing songs like "Old MacDonald" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," shrieking out "Sing, dammit, sing!"
- "Pigs, lies and videotape."
- The 1989 film Sex, Lies, and Videotape starred Andie MacDowell and Peter Gallagher as a married couple, Laura San Giacoma as the woman Gallagher has an affair with and James Spader as the man who enters their lives, turning those lives on their head. Spader likes to videotape people and things become complicated. I figure this gets mentioned here because pigs appear in the field and the whole of the film comes across as someone's very poorly filmed home movies.
*"Let's just pretend we're watching Trip to Bountiful."
- The Trip to Bountiful told the story of Carrie Watts, a woman in her twilight years, who just wants to escape the clutches of her controlling off-spring and make one more visit to Bountiful, Texas, the town she grew up in. It was first made as a 1953 TV movie, with Lillian Gish in the lead role, then a 1985 theatrical film starring Geraldine Page.
- "...they picked up Shirley Bassey hitch-hiking."
- Welsh singing artist Shirley Bassey (1937- ) has had many hits on the United Kingdom charts over the years, but it best known to North American audiences for her performances of three James Bond film theme songs: Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), Moonraker (1979). Like the woman on the "Manos" score, Shirley could really belt out a tune. Only Shirley could do it well.
- "It's Robin Stone, the Love Machine."
- John Phillip Law (yep, Diabolik himself) starred in a mostly forgotten 1971 film called The Love Machine, based on the Jacqueline Susann novel of the same name. Law played Robin Stone ("the Love Machine"), an ambitious TV newscaster who has an affair with the wife (Dyan Cannon) of a network executive (Robert Ryan) to get a promotion. I'm not entirely certain why the film is mentioned here, but I suspect it's a reference to its theme song, "The Love Machine," sung by Dionne Warwick.
- "Go, Speed Racer!"
- The line "Go, Speed Racer!" is sung in the theme song of the animated series Speed Racer.
- "Yes, it's Hawaiian Tropic, for that savage buzz."
- Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion (which comes in bottles that look like the one the girl drinks out of here) has been around since 1969. Some of its ads referred to the "savage tan" you can get using it.
- "Yuk, it sounds like Jerry Reed."
- Jerry Reed (1937-2008; born Jerry Reed Hubbard) has earned the nickname "The Guitar Man" due to his guitar work over the years. He has played for such performers as Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins and Elvis Presely. His hits include "When You're Hot, You're Hot" (1971), "Lord, Mr. Ford" (1973) and "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)" (1982). He was a regular performer on "The Glen Campbell Good Time Hour" (1969-72), had his own short-lived music program, "The Jerry Reed When You're Hot You're Hot Hour" (1972) and has done some acting, appearing in films like the Smokey and the Bandit series (1977, 1980, 1983) and The Waterboy (1998).
- "Tastes like cherry Robitussin!"
- Robitussin brand cough syrup, made by Wyeth Consumer Heathcare, comes in many varieties and flavours, including cherry.\
- "Maybe it's Brigadoon."
In the musical Brigadoon , the titular Scottish village appears for one day every hundred years.
- "Can we drop off Tim Weisberg now?"
- Flautist Tim Weisberg (1943- ) recorded a couple of albums with Dan Fogelberg (Twin Sons of Different Mothers (1978) and No Resemblance Whatsoever (1995)), as well as a few albums of his own, including Naked Eyes (1996) and Undercover (1997).
- "It's Dr. Giggles!"
- Dr. Giggles was a 1992 horror movie, and probably worthy of an MST3K riffing itself.
- "Joel, I think they sent us a snuff film!"
- A snuff film is a movie that shows someone being raped and/or murdered in real life. This is a riff on the graininess and extremely low-budget film quality of Manos, as well as the viewer's pervading sense of dread in anticipation of the rest of the movie. Though not for the reasons intended.
- [The song Joel sings under his breath as Mike walks into the motel hell]
- "Someone left a cake out in the rain!"
A line from the song 'MacArthur Park' by Jimmy Webb.
- "Ooh, I hope she doesn't make like Jenny Fields!"
Jenny Fields is the mother of T.S. Garp, from the novel The World According To Garp . Fields, a nurse, purposely impregnates herself via the state of perpetual arousal of a brain-damaged bomber ball-turret gunner. *"This movie has kind of a Ken Russell feel to it..." Director Ken Russell 's films were often accused of having a sexually obsessive nature to them: not really pornographic, but the character behaviors would be driven by sexual impulse, with other traits in the background.
- "Ah, I used to go out with all these women and now they're all here... Kodachrome."
- This line refers to the lyrics in Paul Simon's 1973 hit song, "Kodachrome." In one part of the song, Simon imagines what would happen if he took all the girls he knew when he was single and brought them all together for one night.
- "They're rolfing him to death!"
- Rolfing is a type of deep tissue massage promoted as "alternative medicine". It is intense, even painful.
- "The new pope has not been chosen"
- Black smoke from the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is the signal that the conclave of cardinals has not selected a new pope.
- "It's like they're walking into a John Waters film."
- John Waters is a filmmaker who first made a name for himself with intentionally offensive movies such as Pink Flamingos.
- "I ain't gonna play Sun City!"
- "This is a bughunt, game over man game over!"
- This is a reference to Private Hudson's hysterical breakdown in Aliens.
- "I have my answer, I'm walking on air"
A quote from Michael Caine in the Woody Allen film "Hannah and Her Sisters".
- Commerically released on VHS by Rhino Entertainment in Feburary 1998, it was later released as part of a three-pack along with Gunslinger and the Poopie! tape in March 1999.
- Commerically released on DVD by Rhino in November 2001, the DVD includes the entire contents of the Poopie! video as an extra.
- The Manos DVD was re-released unchanged as part of MST3K: The Essentials, a double-disc set which featured this episode and newly released Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. As a limited time special offer, if ordered off a specially created Rhino website, a bonus disc of Shorts Vol 3 was also included with the set.
- Shout Factory re-issued Manos as a 2-disc "Special Edition" on September 13, 2011. Disc 1 features the episode and a featurette, "Group Therapy", in which Joel, Trace, Frank, and Mary Jo discuss the episode; disc 2 features the original, unriffed movie; the documentary Hotel Torgo; the new featurette "Jam Handy To The Rescue!: A Ballyhoo Production", where Joel discusses the shorts used on MST3K; and Hired!: Parts 1 and 2, presented back-to-back for the first time in one volume.
2. A list of cultural references in the Mystery Science Theater cut.
- Manos: The Hands of Fate at Mystery Science Rater 3000
- Hired! - Part 2 at Mystery Science Rater 3000
- Interview with Jackie Neyman ("Debbie") at Jophan.org
|preceded by: Season 3||MST3K Season 4||followed by: Season 5|
|1992 - 1993|
|401||Space Travelers||1992-06-06||409||The Indestructible Man||1992-08-15||417||Crash of Moons||1992-11-28|
|402||The Giant Gila Monster||1992-06-13||410||Hercules Against the Moon Men||1992-08-22||418||Attack of the the Eye Creatures||1992-12-05|
|403||City Limits||1992-06-20||411||The Magic Sword||1992-08-29||419||The Rebel Set||1992-12-12|
|404||Teenagers from Outer Space||1992-06-27||412||Hercules and the Captive Women||1992-09-12||420||The Human Duplicators||1992-12-26|
|405||Being from Another Planet||1992-07-24||413||Manhunt in Space||1992-09-19||421||Monster A-Go Go||1993-01-09|
|406||Attack of the Giant Leeches||1992-07-18||414||Tormented||1992-09-26||422||The Day the Earth Froze||1993-01-16|
|407||The Killer Shrews||1992-07-25||415||The Beatniks||1992-11-25||423||Bride of the Monster||1993-01-23|
|408||Hercules Unchained||1992-08-01||416||Fire Maidens of Outer Space||1992-11-16||424||Manos: The Hands of Fate||1993-01-30|