Dec 16, 2019
"Manos" The Hands of Fate (1966) (part 1 of 7)
You will hear the term “worst movie ever made” bandied about by many different people to describe many different movies. For a long period of time, it was fashionable to say that Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space was the “worst movie ever made”. And so it seemed to many, until a program called Mystery Science Theater 3000 took to the airwaves (or, rather, the coaxial cable-ways) in the early 90’s and rendered that designation wholly irrelevant. Bad movie connoisseurs quickly realized just how competently directed Plan 9 really was in comparison to the work of cinematic criminals like Coleman Francis, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Bill Rebane, or Arch Hall, Sr. However, there is one director featured on MST3k whose name would come to epitomize torture caught on celluloid far more than any of those mentioned above.
That name, of course, is Harold “Hal” Warren. In 1966, Warren (up until then a fertilizer salesman in El Paso) wrote, directed, and starred in “Manos” The Hands of Fate, a film that would come to be the yardstick by which all bad movies are measured. This feat becomes all the more astonishing when one learns that it was his first (and only) directorial effort. The sheer incompetence of this film, coupled with the ninety minutes of glory that Joel and the ‘Bots would ultimately visit upon it on MST3k was more than enough to forever wrest the title of “worst movie ever made” from anything in the Ed Wood oeuvre.
(To clear up a minor point: There exists some confusion out there as to what the title of this movie really is. Some will call it Manos, the Hands of Fate, Manos: the Hands of Fate, or even Manos: Hands of Fate, but upon careful examination of the title frame captured above, I can now say with complete certainty that this movie is in fact titled “Manos” The Hands of Fate, complete with nonsensical quotation marks. So, do those mean the film is only about “Manos” in a sarcastic sense?)