Mystery Science Theater 3000: Manos: The Hands of Fate

Manos: The Hands of Fate

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Manos: The Hands of Fate (1993)

Widely regarded as the worst film ever made, Joel, Crow and Tom Servo find themselves subjected to a film about a family stranded in the desert with a mysterious farmhand, an evil master and a cult of zombie women.

While driving through the Texas desert, Michael, Margaret and little Debbie lose their way and become stranded at an old farmhouse tended by the mysterious Torgo.  Unable to start their car, they reluctantly stay despite Torgo’s admonishments that “The Master” won’t approve.  Later, Torgo reveals that Margaret is fated to become another of the Master’s wives, but that Torgo will keep her for himself.  As the Master and his wives descend on the family, Torgo receives his punishment and the family attempts to flee into the night, before being forced to return and face the Master.

This film is so bad that even the evil scientists who subject the MST3K cast to awful films feel the need to apologize.  This film was literally filmed on a dare and it shows, as none of it good or correctly done by anyone who knew how to make a film.  Setting aside such technical details as continuity, editing, extraneous shots or set design, the pacing, dialog and acting are all truly awful.  The plot – what there is of it – comes and goes and seems to contradict itself at times.  It’s never clear what the relationship between the Master and his wives is and the highlight of the film is probably a poorly executed and ill-conceived catfight in the desert between the wives while the Master is away.  The finale attempts to be dark and foreboding, but by then everything else has failed so spectacularly that it comes off as laughable.

Can a film ever be TOO bad for MST3K?  This one comes close as it is so distractingly bad that it takes away from the constant mockery of Joel and the bots.  They manage to keep things moving for the film’s mercifully short 74 minute runtime, but the experience is still akin to hearing someone tell truly funny stories as you drive past a traffic accident.


Stars: 2.5/5


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