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Fate Saves Workprint of Manos: The Hands of Fate 94

SEWilco writes "One of the worst horror movies, Manos: The Hands of Fate, has come back from the grave. The work print was rediscovered during a move, and an attempt has begun to transfer it to digital HD medium." If you've never had the joy of watching MST3K's treatment of Manos: The Hands of Fate you're missing out on 90 mins of magic.
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Fate Saves Workprint of Manos: The Hands of Fate

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  • yay! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @06:44AM (#38224576) Homepage Journal

    This film is the only movie ever to make me physically ill (except maybe ones that cause motion sickness).

    It was literally made by a manure salesman.

    It was made with a wind-up camera that could only take a shot for about 60 sec. or so (which is why there is constant jump cuts).

    Several people involved with the shoot (including the guy who played Torgo) later committed suicide.

    You can go on and on. It's a bit of cinematic history.

    (I think Tarantino owns one of the prints of this, however...)

    • Re:yay! (Score:5, Informative)

      by hag3r ( 770359 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @07:35AM (#38224744)

      Several people involved with the shoot (including the guy who played Torgo) later committed suicide.

      AFAIK, the only one from the cast who committed suicide was John Reynolds (Torgo). It is speculated that the things he wore on his legs permanently injured his knees during the shoot, and that the pain later on drove him to commit suicide.

      That anyone else involved in the shoot killed themselves afterwards is most likely just a myth.

      • Re:yay! (Score:5, Informative)

        by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @08:33AM (#38224996) Homepage Journal

        I've read [jophan.org] that poor John Reynolds was a troubled person to being with. It's a shame he committed suicide.

        Also, according to the same article the camera could only shoot 32 seconds of film at once, which is a pretty amazing limitation to deal with.

        Yes, "Manos" is a terrible, boring and disturbing film, but it is not entirely without merit. For one thing, the music is pretty decent, even if repeated too much. The whole thing is a weird story and this new discovery of a workprint is an equally weird coda.

        • Re:yay! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by uigrad_2000 ( 398500 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @11:58AM (#38226562) Homepage Journal

          Also, most people have only seen this film through the edits made by MST3K.

          I normally love all MST3K stuff, but in this case, they complain about how the whole movie just doesn't make sense. The reason it doesn't make sense is that a lot of the important scenes were cut out, to make room for all the MST3K content. They chose to cut out plot-important scenes so that they could be sure to preserve all the "driving in silence" scenes at the beginning of the movie.

          Essentially, MST3K edited it horribly, and then proceeded to make fun of how badly it was edited.

          • "Space Mutiny" suffered a similar fate. Yes, it's an awful movie and yes, the writing was pathetic, but again, some key plot exposition got cut for MST3K and the movie definitely makes more sense when viewed uncut.

            But let's face it, I've probably watched the MST3K episode of "Manos" a dozen times, but the uncut/unriffed movie only once. I'm pretty certain I would never have seen it, and probably not even heard of it, if it weren't for Joel and the Bots.

            • by buback ( 144189 )

              A couple more scenes of plot wouldn't have made Space Mutiny any better. The mst3k riff track, on the other hand made me watch the "whole" thing.

              The only problem i have with cutting scenes is that they also probably cut out some good riffs.

            • by OldBus ( 596183 )

              Totally agree.

              I've seen the MST3K and the original version of both these and while there is some plot cut, in no way does it come close to saving these turkeys. They are both bad films and MST3K makes for a fun evening.

          • I don't think the inclusion of any amount of deleted scenes would help this pile of cow-flop make any sense ever. Although the director is plenty intimate with cow flop from a fertilizer standpoint, so at least he shot what he knew.
        • by DCheesi ( 150068 )

          For one thing, the music is pretty decent, even if repeated too much.

          Ah, yes, the haunting "Torgo Theme"...

    • by Alsee ( 515537 )

      I hear the assistant director's name was Clippy.


    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by enemorales ( 1172133 )
      The title already gives a hint of the creativity involved in the film: "Manos" = "Hands" in spanish. So the title is like "Hands: The hands of Fate".
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Joel: So, it's Manos...
        Crow T. Robot: ...the Hands of Fate?
        Joel: Yes.

        MST3k is one of the few things in college that was worth remembering.

      • Similarly to the way Bono counts "1,2,3,14!" gives you a hint about his intelligence...

        Nah I'm kidding. Any of his lyrics could have told you that.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The camera only allowing 60 second shots by itself isn't necessarily a big problem. Next time you watch a movie, count the number of seconds between clips. Films usually only use 7 second clips. Micheal Bay is even worse, he has so many clips that are 1 second long last movie I checked. The bigger problem is a director and film crew that doesn't know how to use equipment to their advantage.

      • Ah, but those clips are often from several cameras at different angles. The director, as such, was not so good at his, um, cinematography.

    • by ubrgeek ( 679399 )
      Sounds like Crimson Orgy [amazon.com] - a novel about a low-budget movie with all kinds of similar events.
    • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060666/ [imdb.com]

      "If people were giving Manos 10s just so that some rival could snatch the #1 worst movie title then that is truly sad. Manos is morally the true winner here in that respect."

      So apparently it makes a lot of people feel ill but not quite in the same way.

    • This film is the only movie ever to make me physically ill (except maybe ones that cause motion sickness).

      I've heard people say the same about Human Centipede. I haven't seen it yet (and don't really plan to).

  • Heritage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mattie_p ( 2512046 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @06:58AM (#38224600)
    Not that this movie is any good, but such works SHOULD be transferred to digital/HD media before they are lost forever. How many classic silents are lost forever? If only the studios hadn't lost their copies... Anyway, continuing a trend to digitize movie archives? Nothing to see here, move along.
    • If I film myself taking a shit on a toilet, should this work be transferred to digital/HD media before it is lost forever? Not everything is worthy of preservation.

      • It isn't the same for Hollywood movies. For example, I don't think anyone would argue that the movie Gigli is worthy of preservation. But 100 years from now, historians may look back on Internet archives to see how everyone is calling Gigli an awful piece-of-shit movie that uses minutes of their life that they can never get back, but they would not be able to view the movie themselves to appreciate it. Wouldn't that be a loss?

      • SOME people claim everything was better in the old days. For art this is even more true because the stuff that is kept is the good stuff. We all know the great artists of previous centuries and even millenia. But where are the fart jokes from Roman times? The renaissance Full House?

        When people claim Hollywood makes nothing but trash now, they forget the great movies made today and the crap like this made decades ago.

        Archeologist's claim that the finding of shards in Egypt from ordinary workers told them mor

  • The original thread (Score:5, Informative)

    by ConaxConax ( 1886430 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @07:13AM (#38224662)
    The Manos find was documented on the Something Awful forums, here is a link to the original thread if anyone is interested, it is an interested work. May be NSFW. http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3450845 [somethingawful.com]
  • If you want to see this legendary awful film, you can already buy the Mystery Science Theatre 3000's DVD set [amazon.com] which contains the film alone on one disc, and MST3K's great comedic treatment on another.

    No doubt some will wish to treat Manos on its own, in its uncommented bad-cinema purity, but I imagine a lot people would find the MST3K a better way to approach the film.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Have you even looked at the quality comparison between the DVD release and the current work?

    • The MST3K DVD boxsets used to come with flip discs, with the un-MST3K'd version on one side and the MST3K version on the other...

    • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:02AM (#38225126)

      If you look at TFWebsite, you'll see that part of the reason for doing this transfer to HD is that the original theater print was made by taking the original 16mm print, making a 35mm negative from that, and then making positives from that for theatrical distribution. In essence, the footage seen in theaters and on MST3K was two copies away from the original, and they skimped on the transfers, resulting in horrible film quality.

      But the guy doing the restoration found an original 16mm work print, and he's doing the HD transfer from that.

      In terms of cinematic quality, this will be a huge improvement. On the other hand, in terms of entertainment quality, this movie was so god-awful that Joel and the Bots were only barely able to salvage it. What I'd love to see happen is for someone to transfer the silhouettes, audio, and sketches from the old MST3K version into the new HD release of this movie, so we could all enjoy (or run screaming from) both versions in HD glory.

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        Or they could just RiffTrax it.

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

        the footage seen in theaters and on MST3K was two copies away from the original, and they skimped on the transfers, resulting in horrible film quality.

        Now if only they could fix the horrible acting, directing, writing, and editing...

        • by tepples ( 727027 )
          Once the 2K scan becomes available, re-editing is easy, and better writing and (voice) acting can hopefully be ADR'd in.
        • I'd love to see a team of geeks with too much time on their hands try to do a George Lucas on it. CGI all over.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Having worked as an assistant editor on a number of feature films, I really doubt the work print is necessarily going to be of any better quality than the release prints. Work prints are handled by so many people cutting, splicing, re-cutting, re-splicing, running the film through the Steenbeck back and forth hundreds of times a week before the final cut is established, they are often so scratched up by the time the picture is locked, even good films are painful to watch if you screen the workprint version.

        • Just go to TFA and look at the comparison pictures yourself. He's scanned a few frames in, and they are obviously far superior to the DVD images.
    • If you want to see this legendary awful film, you can already buy the Mystery Science Theatre 3000's

      Even as much as I love MST3K...that movie is SO bad...I have a hard time even making it through the MST3K version.

      • by Creepy ( 93888 )

        you haven't seen bad movies then...

        Try a marathon of
        Vampires vs Zombies
        Sorority House Vampires from Hell
        Zombies Gone Wild (which is the worst movie I've ever seen I think - and this plotless disaster had a huge budget compared to the next one, which is better...)
        O.C. Babes and the Slasher of Zombietown

        if you haven't gouged your eyes out, gone insane, or drank yourself unconscious by that point, throw in "best worst movie" Troll 2 or Biker Zombies from Detroit, which are bad on their own, but maste

  • Is because I know where to get a non-MST3K copy of Manos!
  • Here are some coupons. The Master said you could have them, but I'm giving them to you!

  • by Dripdry ( 1062282 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @09:37AM (#38225298) Journal
    As a collector and aficionado (of sorts) of B-movies, Manos seems to have merely been in the right place at the right time with MST3K.
    There are many movies that could be lumped in with "worst of all time". Some are awful, some are hilariously fun, but there are definitely other contenders (mst3k hardly scratches the surface).

    Try Guru The Mad Monk, Mama Dracula, War of the Robots, or anything shown at B-Fest [b-fest.com] in the last 30 years (manos was finally shown last year).
    • The thing is, while there are lots of bad movies out there, there's nothing I'm aware of that's quite so staggeringly bad. There's no redeeming quality whatsoever - little to no plot, nothing resembling acting, a pathetic attempt at musical score, directing and cinematography that's makes Ed Wood look like Ang Lee by comparison, a 'fight' scene that involves people getting massaged to death, and costuming that attempts to make people look menacing while wearing a nightgown.

      • Manos has a certain ineluctable quality to it, too. They were actually reluctant to do it on MST3K at first, thinking it unworkable. They show their reaction to this in various ways, like how Tom remarks "So, what, are we about half an hour into this movie?" after the initial 3 minutes of non-sequitor shots taken from a moving car. You feel a bit warped watching it, somehow, with the bad print, the lack of long duration shots, the sleaze, the fever dream feel of it all, the repellent aspects.

        To be sure ther

      • Well, try War of the Robots. It was supposed to be a "Star Wars killer". It might just kill you instead :)
    • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
      True. A claim of worst movie is just marketing. There are people all over the world making worse movies than Manos. They are so bad that they would not even be considered for a B movie film fest. They are so bad that many would argue that they are not even movies.
  • http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDcQtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fvideo.google.com%2Fvideoplay%3Fdocid%3D7601757759632230570&ei=IIfXTuHeJoitgQfv1qn8Dg&usg=AFQjCNFqSmbhwWgtxCr9Kx4j2CAE3GVBGQ&sig2=6lPYhztN94W34BKPb9ykyQ
  • Please tell me someone is going to encode the audio from MST3K and overlay it onto the pertinent HD parts...

  • I posted a question on his page, but just because a roll of 16mm has perfs down both sides of the frame doesn't necessarily mean its a "workprint," which would imply that it's the actual film Warren physically edited. It could just be a dupe or a lab intermediate, which is possible considering it was "Property of Emerson" -- distributors aren't supposed to take possession of original production materials.

    If he can find the actual tape splices in the print, or even better, he can find camera logs or lab repo

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oLto_YZIDw [youtube.com]

    The haunting Torgo theme with a techno remix. Better than DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS. For reals.

  • Torgo took care of the print while the Master was away?

  • Now all we need is an original copy of the Jim Theis classic "The Eye of Argon", complete with illustrations and the missing final chapter, and our collection will be complete.
  • Thank goodness we still have Manos Hands of Fate instead of this garbage [npr.org]
  • I'm not sure if we should be doing this; ThE MAstER mAY nOT appROVe

  • I'll just point out something I read on the somethingawful thread - the original (unadulterated) Manos and the Hands of Fate is actually available on archive.org, http://www.archive.org/details/manos_the_hands_of_fate [archive.org]

    I wish I knew that was there earlier, I tried sitting through the MST3k version and I just couldn't stand the annoying narration. It will be interesting to see the high definition copy from the workprint, the stills in the article look really nice.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"