I’m not quite sure how to approach reviewing something like “Manos: The Hands of Fate”. In a way, I suppose you could call this a film. Someone wrote and produced it, there was a director and actors, the whole thing was captured on film and it was distributed in theaters and through home video. But then again, there’s all these other things you’d expect to see in a film that are missing. Important things, like a plot and a reason for existing. For the sake of argument however, let’s just go with the assumption that “Manos” is actually a film regardless of how debatable that statement may be. If you choose to accept that, one thing is immediately clear. “Manos: The Hands of Fate” is absolutely, 100% beyond a shadow of the doubt, the worst film ever made. End of discussion.
Honestly, I’m impressed. I’ve often heard that “Manos” was one of the worst films ever made. It holds the dubious honor of having a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The creaters of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and “Rifftrax” still to this day claim that “Manos” was the worst thing they’ve ever sat through. But, really, that’s a bold claim. We live in a world where Lil Bow Wow has a film, Rob Zombie is considered a successful director and “Battleship” is being adapted into a film with Liam Neeson. If “Manos” really is the worst film ever made, it has to be worse than films like “Alone in the Dark”, “Phat Girlz” and “Battlefield Earth”. And you know what? It is. It absolutely is.
If you had to sum up what the film-makers had to be thinking while making this film, the first phrase that comes to mind is “eh, fuck it”. There’s goofs and errors everywhere in this film. The editing is so bad, there are numerous times where you’ll see a character stop mid-sentence, look up at the camera with a look of bewilderment, raise their arms in that classic “the fuck am I supposed to be doing” look and then the film will cut back to the beginning of the same line of dialogue, the obvious second take. Why bother actually taking two minutes to make sure you’ve cut the film to where only completed, full takes are included, when you can just throw together a mess of shit and go get drunk? Oh yeah, most film-makers actually take some pride in their work. Not here.
The “plot” is another perfect example. The film starts with a family driving. Where? Who knows, it’s never really explained. While they’re driving (which is a solid fifteen minutes), we’re introduced to a couple making out in their car that keeps getting busted by the cops. Why? Fuck if I know. Despite this happening three separate times in the film, it’s never tied into the story. The story goes that the actress playing the girl broke her leg and couldn’t play her original role and couldn’t be cut from the film due to contract issues. Despite the fact that she could have easily been written into a few other parts that didn’t really require much movement (and were even costumed to wear really large, cast-disguising dresses), this was the film-makers “eh, fuck it” solution. Why not have three random, time-consuming scenes where some teenagers get harassed by cock-blocking cops? Oh yeah, because it’s really stupid, lazy and sloppy.
But back to the “plot”. We’ve got this family driving. They drive around for a while and finally stop at this house being watched over by a guy with hilariously over-sized knees named Torgo. Yes, his name is Torgo. Oh yeah, and the actor is hopped up on painkillers and LSD the entire time, so he can barely stammer out his lines, walk, or do anything that someone appearing in a film should be able to do. For some reason, whenever Torgo bumbles over to something, it’s accompanied by this hilariously bad midi sounding theme. On first thought, it’d probably be a bad idea to make your villain’s theme something laugh out loud funny, especially when it’s paired with him bumbling across the stage ripped out of his mind, but then again, no one involved in the creation of this film should be given any credit at all when it comes to noticing the obvious.
So yeah, they meet Torgo. They wind up deciding to stay the night and notice a picture of a dude and a dog on the mantle that Torgo keeps calling “the Master”. Their dog runs outside, they follow for about two steps because that’s as much lighting as the crew was able to scrape up (oh, and they also shot this scene at night so there’s moths everywhere), and then they discover that the dog is dead. Some bullshit happens, the Master returns, that couple keeps getting cock-blocked by the cops and then some harem of women start fighting. Oh, and there’s a flaming stick with a hand on it. And a random snake on a purple rug in the middle of the desert. Yes, you read that right, a purple rug. I can’t even begin to try to synopsize this film. It’s disjointed, filled with painfully slow lulls and never makes sense. The ending is also so mind-bogglingly stupid you’ll be scratching your head trying to figure out what happened, and then when you try to figure out why they thought leaving this film open to a sequel was a good idea.
Oh yeah, because a sequel is currently in the works for a release in 2013. Thanks Hollywood.
I could go on for three more pages about how horrible this movie is, but honestly, I don’t think it really deserves that much being written about it. If you’re anything like me, your curiosity will drive you to seek out this film at some point to see if it’s really that bad. You might even convince yourself that you might find some humor in it and that it’ll join the pantheon with “Troll 2”, “The Room” and other horrible films filled with hilarious moments. Don’t be fooled. Outside of a few scenes revolving around Torgo, this movie is pure agony. While it’s rare for a movie to live up to the hyperbole of being called the worst film ever made, this one actually succeeds. Problem is, it’s still the worst film ever made and that’s not a title you want to own.