There is a problem with your movie if the title translates to “Hands: Hands of Fate”.
Confession: I had to cheat just a little bit on this one. Netflix doesn’t offer the regular version of Manos: The Hands of Fate, so I had to “settle” for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version. All in all, I’m sure it saved me a lot more grief than normal, but even with the MST3K overlay, Manos: The Hands of Fate is just a wretched, lumbering monstrosity.
It’s widely believed to be one of the worst movies of all time, a fact which I cannot repudiate. It is one of the worst of the worst. In fact, the only movie that I’ve seen that edges out Manos is Ax ‘Em, but that’s mainly because of the technical screw-ups (like no sound, for example) in Ax ‘Em. They’re both equally sophisticated in their storytelling.
HANDS: The Hands of Fate begins with a family traveling to some vacation spot. Before they really can kick the movie into gear, you’re treated to fifteen minutes of repetitive scenery.
It’s strikingly clear from the first minute of the movie that the person who directed this had no idea what in God’s name they were doing and refused any sort of help, psychiatric or otherwise. It should be noted, friends, that this is essentially the best part of the movie.
To properly describe how nonsensical this mess of a movie is, these two lovebirds pop up continuously during the movie, usually with the law enforcement officer instructing them to “move it along”. All they do is make out. They don’t advance the plot at all. They don’t do anything besides suck face. The only thing that changes is their outfits. They are useless. It makes you wonder if even though this is a small town, if there isn’t a 7-Eleven or a Wal-Mart they can go to where they can also grope each other inappropriately. For some reason, three or four scenes are devoted to these twits, for no reason whatsoever.
After what appears to be an eternity, the husband and wife arrive at a ramshackle ranch, dragging their daughter in tow, who appears to have had an extra-strong dose of Haldol dropped in her juice box by Mommy and Daddy. (She kind of totters around mumbling for the entire film.) It is at this ranch that we meet Torgo, who is without a doubt the trainwreck highlight of this cinematic masterpiece. Torgo warns the couple that they could stay, but “The Master” will be unhappy.
Torgo is something that really has to be seen to be believed. He looks like a homeless carny and walks with his knees together. His voice reminds me of someone doing a Steven Hawking impression on a rollercoaster. He likes to freakishly make odd hand gestures at people. He does a semi-decent Katherine Hepburn impersonation throughout the entire movie. He is bewildering and entertaining throughout the entire movie.
Husband and wife (wife moreso than husband) are understandably leery of this place, but decide to stay, even though the house itself looks like a reused set from the local high school’s production of Our Town and that portrait Torgo has of The Master is sorta really bizarre.
From here the movie rapidly goes into a cuckoo descent. The family dog disappears and honestly, I can’t make heads or tails of what happens next. The husband and wife take turns running out in the scrub around the ranch and then these psycho dolls pop up.
They are THE BRIDES! OF THE MASTER!
And they faux-fight one another! Apparently they want to kill the couple’s kid! But wait, the Master has arrived…
Aside from raiding Dorothy Sbornak’s clothing donations to Goodwill, the Master is kind of boring. He grimaces a lot and makes idle threats. I suspect he spends an awful lot of his free time touching up that complexion with some Max Factor Uber Ghostly White and talking to his pet Dobermann.
In the end, though, the couple must confront the Master. It’s only until two lost women stumble back upon the ranch that we realize… (gasp!)
The couple has become servants of THE MASTER.
Manos: The Hands of Fate was made by a director and crew with little to no experience. This is what someone’s raging ego of mediocrity and stupidity looks like put to film. The plot at times makes no sense; the actors should all be (and probably were) rightly embarrassed to be in HANDS: Hands of Fate. The direction in particular is awkward and humiliating for me to watch. (I theorize I could do better, myself, but there’s no absolute guarantee to that.)
This movie is so awful that even the MST3K guys ran out of stuff to mock. At points, they just repeat, “Manos: The Hands of Fate,” in different inflections to carry the commentary since nothing is going on in the movie.
City and County of El Paso, Texas, you have my condolences and apologies.