Thursday, February 27, 2014

Manos - The Hands of Faith (1966)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils movie Manos - The Hands of Faith (1966)

If I had cent every time I heard "It is bad, but it is not Manos", I would have almost ten cents. Movie is not well known to general public, but for bad movie reviewers, it is benchmark of a bad movie. I wanted to check it for some time. It is easy, since it is public domain film and you can find it from Youtube. I have always forgotten it, when I have had time to watch movies. Then someone mentions it again and I remember, that I should check it. Now I have Bad Movie February and someone happened to mention it, when I was planning, what movies I should do.

I don't want to go too hard on this movie. It is amateur work. First and last movie of its director Harold P. Warren. It was obscure film until Mystery Science Theater 3000 had it on one episode. It is still obscure film, but now it has become benchmark bad movie. For general public Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space it worst movie ever. They haven't seen this. There are many movies between Plan 9 and this one. I wouldn't say this is the worst movie. This just has that reputation. Yes, it is really bad. But I think there can be worse movies. We just haven't seen them.

What makes Manos so bad? It has bad acting, bad dialog and bad editing. It never goes over the top crazy. It stays serious. It doesn't become so bad it is good. It is just does bad choices. There is a scene, where caretaker attacks father from behind. We see father walking for second before caretaker attacks. I had to watch that scene again to see what actually happened. Movie is full of that kind of cuts. Then it stays in some shots long after we have understood, what it tries to tell long time ago. Characters doesn't seem to understand what others say. I don't think it is because movie's deeper message is, you should listen what others say or you will get hurt. It is because bad writing.

Movie is story of Mother, Father and daughter getting lost. They go to house, where Master worships Manos. Caretaker tries to send them away, but father insist, they stay there over night. During night Master and his wifes wake up. This is horror movie, you can guess, what happens next. Movie is only little over hour, but feels much longer. Everything happens so slowly. There is nothing interesting. You could almost say, watching pain dry is more interesting. Supporting cast includes two polices and two teens making out. We see them doing same scene twice. Addition to that teens do make out scene without police twice. Polices and teen doesn't bring anything more than few minutes to length of movie.

Obviously this movie has to have something, which lifts it from the mass. It is Tom Neyman's costume and performance as Master. This is his only movie, which is shame, because he was such great as crazy cult leader. Great as bad movie standards go. His performance was only so-bad-it-is-good thing in this movie.

Should you watch this movie? I think you should watch it, if you like bad movies or want to see benchmark of bad movies. It is not as painfully bad as some say and it is not the worst movie ever.


  1. Kaveri järjesti joskus illanvieton tätä varten ja ennakkohypen jälkeenkin kokemus oli hämmentävä :). Ei ollut kuitenkaan sellainen elokuva, että tekisi mieli vaivautua uudelleen...

  2. Mä katsoin sen kaksi kertaa kahden päivän sisään. Eka itse elokuvan ja sitten MST3K:n jakson. MST3K:ssa ne pyysi anteeksi, kun elokuva oli liian huono huonoja elokuvia näyttävään ohjelmaan. Voisi sen vielä joskus tulevaisuudessa katsoa uudestaan. Ei ehkä ihan heti.