"Manos" The Hands of Fate (1966) (part 6 of 7)
We get to watch for a minute or two as the wives (all dressed in translucent gowns and wearing your grandma’s underwear) start wrestling with each other on the sand. This goes on for quite a while, with the wives pulling each other’s hair and doing little other damage.
Inside the Unabomber Shack, Torgo is passed out [?] in a corner of the bedroom. I guess typing up that big manifesto really wore him out. Ten seconds later, the Master wanders into the shot and grabs Torgo’s hand-staff, poking him in the belly with it. Torgo slowly, very slowly pulls himself up, grabs his staff, and gets jiggy with it for a while before finally asking the Master what he’s doing there.
The Master, now with the top half of his face cut out of the frame, tells Torgo that he’s failed them. The Master also knows about his visits to “the tomb”, by which I guess he means the backyard. Torgo feigns ignorance, so the Master spells it out for him.
|The Master: The women have told me. They may not be able to say anything, or move when you’re there. But they remember everything you say to them. And everything you do to them.|
Okay, I don’t think I like Torgo anymore. I can more or less deal with him being a Peeping Tom, but quasi-necrophilia is where I draw the line. Torgo protests that since the Master has a whopping six wives, he should cut Torgo in on the action by giving him one. The Master explains that Torgo can’t have any of the wives because he’s “not one of us”, whatever that means, but Torgo insists that “this one”, i.e., Maggie, will be his.
“You have failed us, Torgo,” The Master repeats. “For this, you must die!” Torgo gets a gleeful look on his face and tells the Master, “You have failed yourselves!” He adds, “You never killed them! I’ll help them!” [?] I have no idea what Torgo’s talking about here, and apparently the Master doesn’t either, because he just reiterates the whole “fail and die” thing. He backs Torgo into a corner, takes his hand-staff, and begins shaking it in Torgo’s face. Torgo is rendered helpless before this senseless waving of a walking implement.
Eventually, Torgo falls unconscious, so I guess he’s been hypnotized. Or something. The Master turns towards the camera and his big Groucho moustache starts twitching. Finally, he breaks out into a Boisterous Evil Laugh™, then gets deadly serious, for it’s time to spread his arms and address the ceiling. He tells Manos, his “god of primal darkness”, that “the hands of fate have doomed this man!” Actually, if you ask me, lousy editing and poor dubbing were really his downfall.
Then we cut to our old pal Mike. Remember him? Well, he’s still out cold and tied to a tree. But, it’s hard to really notice the difference. Brunette Wife suddenly appears in her diaphanous garb. She kneels down next to Mike and starts kissing his neck and face [??]. What the—?!? I mean, is she really that desperate for some non-Zappa love? (By the way, what the hell did I miss? Who won the catfight?) Brunette Wife nuzzles around Mike’s lips for a while, until finally pulling away. Then in a extremely clumsy action (even for this movie), she smacks him back and forth five or six times. Then she makes a really over-done half-lunge at him, almost like she just wants to wail on him but something’s stopping her. No, please, don’t hold back on account of us.
Meanwhile, in the backyard, er, I mean, “the tomb”, the catfight rages on, with one wife forcing another to eat dirt. Brunette Wife, Torgo, and the Master all appear at once, and Brunette Wife yells out that “the women are fighting!” Well, duh. They rush forward, all except Torgo, who just kind of shimmies in. We watch more of the catfight, and it appears Short-Haired Wife is beating up on First Wife. I find this odd, considering the two seemed to be more or less in agreement about the whole “not killing a child” thing.
Then we cut to Maggie resting in bed in her slip, with Debbie beside her. She hears a howl [?] and starts awake. While I won’t describe exactly what she does here, you can rest assured that she still has the market cornered on freaking out and screaming for Mike. Speaking of whom, we get another shot of Mike still out cold and tied to a tree. Good to see you, Mike. We’ll have to do this more often.
Back at the catfight, one of the wives throws sand directly at the camera. Unfortunately, it doesn’t clog up the springs and break the damn thing, because the film keeps going. Next we see Maggie cradling Debbie, once again sobbing because Mike isn’t there to help them. Nothing quite like a liberated woman, is there?
Maggie jumps as the shades suddenly pop up, revealing the mustachioed visage of the Master. After another brief shot of unconscious Mike, we see the Master chaining his Doberman back to his favorite slab. Okay, that really made no sense. Are we really supposed to believe the Master came down to the tomb and saw the catfight, then ran up to peek into Maggie’s window, then came all the way back down here? Whatever. The Master walks out into the catfight and starts shoving his wives around. He then spreads out his arms so that they can all “talk to the hands”.
He tells them to stop this “foolishness” because “Manos must be served!” He motions for all of them to get into place, then sits down on his slab as Torgo waits in the wings. For no particular reason, we cut to the Master’s face shot through the “hand” sculpture that’s sitting in the fire. I guess this was supposed to be “artistic”, but instead it comes across mainly as “blurry”. The Master yells that he can tolerate “no further insolence!” First Wife and Short-Haired Wife, not noticing that the Clue Phone is loudly ringing, again start nattering on about how they can’t kill a child. Christ, are these two a broken record or what?
The Master stands and tells First Wife he’s had enough of her shenanigans. He says that once the Torgo situation is all cleaned up, she’s next on his shit list. First Wife brashly states that she has no fear, so the Master yells at the other wives to “prepare her for sacrifice!” At this, Brunette Wife and Short-Haired Wife grab First Wife and tie her to a nearby pillar. (Again, isn’t Short-Haired Wife supposed to be on the same side as First Wife here?)
The Master congratulates his wives on completing the complex “tying somebody up” maneuver, then turns his attention to Torgo. He points off-screen, then Brunette Wife and Short-Haired Wife drag Torgo in and pull him down on the Master’s slab. As you would expect, this is followed by a twenty second shot of Torgo resting comfortably on the slab. We even get a pointless zoom-in on his Ted Kaczynski beard.
“It is the will of Manos,” Master says, “That he be sacrificed!” Then Brunette Wife and Short-Haired Wife start doing an interpretive dance around the campfire that appears to be stolen from the “Love is a Battlefield” video. Eventually, they spin into place on opposite sides of the slab as the Master yells, “Kill! Kill! Kill! Manos has decreed it. Kill! Kill! KILL!!!” The two women then get down to business, rubbing Torgo down and slapping him. First Wife almost looks away in horror, but morbid curiosity gets the better of her. Then the two wives start to rub Torgo’s face and tug at his clothes.
We cut to Maggie cradling Debbie and still—still!—crying out for Mike to come and help them. First of all, what the hell is wrong? Second of all… Well, there is no second of all. Just take a pill, lie down, and call me in the morning. We cut to Mike, still unconscious. (Just think about how many times I’ve had to type that in this review.) This time, however, he starts coming around. Yay. He gets his arms free, finds his flashlight and gun, and runs off.
We cut back to Torgo, who is, as one El Paso film critic put it at the time, getting “massaged to death”. This goes on at some length, with the Master looking on in satisfaction, Torgo getting lightly smacked, and First Wife so horrified that she can’t stop watching. Meanwhile, Maggie’s in the bedroom, still sobbing. Still.
Mike storms back into the house and yells through the bedroom door for Maggie. For reasons left unexplained, Maggie doesn’t respond, forcing Mike to break down the door. [?] Meanwhile, the Master gets a smug look and proclaims that Torgo’s had enough, so Brunette Wife rolls Torgo off the slab and he falls to the ground. So I think he’s supposed to be dead now. Or something. Then the Master stands over Torgo and does some trademark hand waving. Eventually, this causes Torgo to come back to life (assuming he was dead) and shimmy back to his feet. Unfortunately, death and resurrection did absolutely nothing to cure his nervous tics.
The punishment isn’t over, however, because the Master then grabs hold of Torgo’s wrist and drags him towards the campfire. He takes Torgo’s hand, puts it directly above the fire and—whoooosh!—After a burst of magician’s flash powder, the Master is now holding a flaming wooden hand, while Torgo runs off with flames shooting out of his sleeve. First of all, WTF? Second of all, does this kill Torgo? I can only assume that it does, because he disappears from the rest of the movie. Poor Torgo. Killed for being an unwitting assistant in the worst magic trick ever.
The Master laughs evilly and walks over to First Wife with the hand candle. He screams that he’ll do her in “as soon as we have disposed of the others!” This sort of reminds him that he doesn’t know where the others are, so he immediately follows this up by yelling at his wives to “go find the others!”
We cut to Mike sitting on the bed with Maggie and Debbie. Maggie is pleading with Mike yet again to leave this place because she saw the Master in the window. Mike says, “We’ll hide in the desert! Someone will help!” Damn, Mike, you really are the “go to” guy in this kind of situation, aren’t you?