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Episode Guide: 424- ‘Manos’ The Hands of Fate (with short: ‘Hired!’–Part 2)

Short: (1941) In the conclusion of a two-part short, our sales manager hero gets advice from his handkerchief-wearin’ dad.
Movie: (1966) A hapless family on a car trip in rural Texas takes refuge at a “lodge” that turns out to be the home of a deadly cult.

First shown: 1/30/93
Opening: Joel has programed the bots to agree with everything he says
Invention exchange: The Mads present the chocolate bunny guillotine; J&tB show off the cartuner
Host segment 1: J&tB’s car trip sketch is ruined by Manos footage, Frank apologizes
Host segment 2: J&tB discuss the physical attributes that would make them a monster
Host segment 3: Joel dons a Manos cape, Dr. F. apologizes
End: The bots reenact the lady wrestling scene, Torgo’s pizza arrives
Stinger: “Why don’t you guys leave us alone?”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (348 votes, average: 4.82 out of 5)

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• Whatever else they study, every Civil War buff has an opinion about Gettysburg. Whatever else they grow, every gardener has an opinion about tomatoes. No matter which team they root for, every baseball fan has an opinion about the Yankees. And every MSTie has an opinion about “‘Manos’ The Hands of Fate.” So much has been written about this awful, awful movie, and this justly famous episode, that it’s hard to make a fresh observation, but here are a few thoughts.
• This episode was issued by Rhino as a single, and also as part of the “Essentials” set.
References
• This is one of two or three episodes that I practically have memorized. I can pretty much do all the riffs right along with J&tB.
• There’s been a lot of “Manos” news, including the sequel (featuring cast members from the original movie) that now seems to have sputtered out, the work to restore the movie and create a high-definition version, and the re-riff by RiffTrax. A fascinating recent article in Playboy investigated the bitter legal battle for the rights to the movie.
• Paul Chaplin once noted that many MST3K movies are “made by oily guys who elect to direct the camera largely on themselves.” He was talking about TISCWSLABMUZ, but this is another perfect example.
• At several MSTie parties I have attended where this episode was screened, people handed out napkins, which people unfolded and put on their heads at the moment ol’ Dad in the short does so. Has anybody else done this, or do I just hang out with weird people?
• The opening bit is great, and I suspect every fan of Joel has felt a little like the programmed bots at one time or another. You see this butt? Kick this butt.
• There’s a funny clank as chocolate bunny guillotine falls. I’m guessing it’s the weight that held the blade up falling to the floor somewhere off camera?
• The last issuance of The Cartuner isn’t really that strange: It sounds pretty much like something Gary Larson would have actually done (if he wasn’t afraid of getting sued by the Bil Keane empire). God, I miss The Far Side…
• Joel seems a little touchy when Crow suggests this might be a snuff film! Does Joel really know the limit of the sort of evil the Mads might try?
• Stuff about the movie you may already know: The movie was shot with a camera that could only shoot a small amount of film at a time, making long, continuous takes impossible. Hence the “dissolving to the same scene” Crow observes early on. Also, the long pointless driving scene was supposed to have credits supered on it, but Hal forgot.
• I had the opportunity, a few years ago, to exchange emails with Hal Warren’s daughter, who told me that her brother wore the Master costume on several Halloweens and that the painting of the Master adorned a wall of her home for many years.
• Joel’s looks of disgust and horror in segment two are great.
• As I was watching segment 3, my wife wandered through and said, “You should have worn THAT to the costume party at one of the conventions. I could have made that.” I had to break it to her that about 20 guys were wearing versions of the Master cape.
• Joel mentions Mentos, commercials for which were being seen regularly on MST3K.
• Then topical: “The Tasters Choice saga.” Remember when people cared about THAT nonsense? Also, I’m betting fewer and fewer people remember who Marilyn Quayle is.
• That’s Mike, of course, in the first of several appearances as Torgo. Let me just get your complementary crazy bread…
• There is no cast and crew roundup for this movie.
• Creditswatch: Host segments directed by Joel Hodgson. This was intern Curtis Anderson’s last show.
• Callback: “Torgo, you’re the laziest man on Mars.” (Santa Claus Conquers the Martians). “He tampered in God’s domain” (Bride of the Monster).
• Fave riff from the short: “Gah! Flying elves are back!” Honorable mention: “Seein’ as how we’re salesmen and all.”
• Fave riff from the movie: “And now the Manos Women’s Guild will re-enact the Battle of Pearl Harbor.” Honorable mention: “Yeah, here I go! Vroom!”

Next week we will do the MST3K Scrapbook and we’ll start Season 5 the following week.

262 Replies to “Episode Guide: 424- ‘Manos’ The Hands of Fate (with short: ‘Hired!’–Part 2)”

  1. Sean74 says:

    Many of you guys have repeated all the things that I’ve felt about “Manos”, so I won’t be redundant and repeat them. However, I’d like to mention about the topic of whether or not to use “Manos” as an introductory episode to a newbie. I agree with most, you should wait until at least as a third episode; give the newcomer some exposure before throwing this unbeatable classic at them to absorb. I started with a pair of ’50’s movies, “The Beatniks” and “The Killer Shrews”. (The latter moreso because my friends were all Dukes of Hazzard fans, so I knew they’d like seeing Rosco before he was Rosco!) “Manos”, however, was always the clincher, and it made my friends keep asking for more episodes to watch.

    I remember afew years ago, the mag Entertainment Weekly actually had a story about “Manos”, complete with a striking visual of the characters in the movie on one picture, along with a background story of the making of the movie. I remember laughing hysterically when it was revealed that the only one paid was the dog, with two 40-pound bags of food. I hadn’t heard about the legend of Debbie’s actual mom beating on Hal Warren, but it sounds totally possible.

    “Hired! 2: Electric Bugaloo” is as good as any short they’ve done. Granted, the advice in it is good, the presentation however is just way too corny.

    “And Fourth…live at home until you’re forty!”

       2 likes

  2. jlp1 says:

    The line that always cracks me up is “Arise my wives…and iron my work shirt.”

       3 likes

  3. Fred P says:

    Mano’s is an all time classic, one of the worst piece of crap movies ever but a great movie to riff. All the Torgo riffs are superb. “What kind of talk is that? Filthy, oily talk Ma’am”. I always watch it a few times a year.

       0 likes

  4. Diamond Joe says:

    I love this episode but there is one thing I’ve never understood. At the very end of the episode, the Mads take a bite of pizza and Frank comments that it’s been two hours but it’s still very warm. The Mads then realize something and spit it out. Torgo then says, “They always do that.” Is there something I’m missing?

    I think they’re referring to the previous episode (“Bride of the Monster”), where Tor Johnson apparently kept the girl’s fuzzy hat in his pants. Note how Torgo mentions that he forgot the Crazy Bread, then reaches for his waistband until the Mads stop him. So I’m pretty sure the joke is that Torgo kept the pizza warm by having it down his pants, too.

       1 likes

  5. daltysmilth says:

    My favorite line demonstrates the guys’ ability to add hilarious subplots where none exist. It’s the scene where they first get out of the car and Torgo is there, and Crow just says “Okay, we brought the kid. Now give us the negatives!” Second favorite: “You think we should try some o’that kissin’, Burt?”

       4 likes

  6. R.A. Roth says:

    You know a film is exceptionally bad when continuity errors are the least of its problems, like the wife’s disappearing babushka. When she goes outside poof! it’s gone! Back inside poof! it’s back!

    The highpoint of the movie is the haunting Torgo’s theme. It’s like a pant load of complimentary warm crazy bread for the soul.

    Randy

       4 likes

  7. digital_trucker says:

    I’m going to say it, and I’m not ashamed to say it; Manos would be an excellent candidate for a remake, with a bit of script rewriting and a little thing called production values. If you look at the barebones plot, it’s actually not all that bad. It has the potential to be far superior to the vast majority of other horror films.

    It could be great with a budget and a director with a bit of skill.

       4 likes

  8. Imhere says:

    Yeah I could see George Clooney and Julia Roberts as the leads, Tom Cruise as Torgo and I’m thinking maybe Daniel Day-Lewis as the Master. Then you get Spielberg to direct and you got yourself a hit.

       2 likes

  9. digital_trucker says:

    lessee, 2nd-tier Playboy Bunnies for the harem…..now who we gonna get to be the little girl?

       0 likes

  10. fireballil says:

    Dakota Fanning, maybe? Also, kind of off-topic, but Sampo, when are we going to see season four’s comments on the episode guide?

       0 likes

  11. Bob says:

    >> “A point on the ‘never show Manos to MST newbies’ point: If that was the case, then why was Manos pulled as a standalone DVD and put with Santa Claus Conquers the Martians in The Essentials DVD set? After all, putting it in an ‘Essentials’ set implies that this is one you WOULD want to show to newcomers.”

    No it doesn’t, it implies that every MSTie would find it essential to own it. Someone who’s never seen the show before won’t find any particular episode essential and if you show them something that painful to watch to start with, as stated by many people here, it turns them off to the show.

       2 likes

  12. ty reid says:

    i was JUST talking about a manos remake last night!

    my casting would be hugh jackman as mike, halle berry as the wife, steve buscemi as torgo and daniel day lewis as the master. not sure about the kid.

    i’d have the cops played by robert deniro and joe pesci (in beefed up roles of course). the make out couple as brandon routh and jessica alba.

       0 likes

  13. norgavue says:

    I call this the one that hurts. But that hurt is in a good way. The fact that it is what it is makes it easy to slam it and make fun of the characters. Torgo is my hero (and by that I mean that he is the best worst character in a motion picture) and I loved that fact that they brought him back. I’ll give it to hal warren that he is an ego filled oily guy. Still I would like to think that if I made an independant film it would be better than that. Still my favorite quote would be crows “crew they did not have a crew” to which joel replies “alright everyone pick someone you want to punch”

       2 likes

  14. GizmonicTemp says:

    fireballil – Yes, definitely Dakota Fanning, mainly because her mere presense on the screen makes be want to slam my hand in a car door and I wouldn’t mind at all if she ended up in a Satanic (or Manos-ic) cult.

       0 likes

  15. Snackula says:

    I think Torgo the White should have his own HBO mini-series. It would cost around $200 miliion dollars, most of that going to knee and beard maintenance.

    Jack Nicholson as Torgo, and Vin Diesel and Ian McKellan as the voices of Torgo’s knees, in an “Odd Couple” pairing, as they constantly bicker and insult each other. Maybe a guest appearance by Flavor Flav as the voice of an as-yet-unheard-of third knee.

       1 likes

  16. crowschmo says:

    The ep I would show to a newbie would be “Tormented”. That was one of the first I had seen, and I was cracking up. Or, maybe a Gamera episode.

       0 likes

  17. The Bolem says:

    Closed?

       0 likes

  18. The Bolem says:

    Sorry, just checking.

    I didn’t see this one until Rhino’s second 3-pack, when the ACEG had already built the legend up in my mind so what can I really say?

    This movie always makes me nostalgic for that trip my family took out to Yellowstone when I was 9, so I like to watch it every summer.

    When I showed Manos to a group of college friends, the 2 female members developed a strong aversion to Torgo, and would demand anyone around them who was doing an impression of him immediately stop, even someone chatting in Torgoish text. So maybe this is only a good newbie ep for guys? I think men recognize the inner strength of Torgo, symbolizing a part of human nature that is ever resilient, even if we’d all just as soon see it crushed. I mean, we’ve all acted like that on occasion, right?

    One fav riff I think went unmentioned was when the cop pulls them over: “Alright buddy, yer’ not filmin’ Manos: The Hands of Fate in THIS town…” Actually gets funnier with repeat viewings, and extensive knowledge of the film.

    The aforementioned “EverReady/Flashlight” riff is also one of my favorite one-riff-tangents, if that’s actually a concept.

    I’ve also always though that the actress who played Debbie would have been the ultimate guest to have scored for one of the conventions. Can’t you just picture her panel, with all those repressed memories coming back into focus? “I remember holding the dog a lot, and, um…there was a man who had something wrong with his pants…”

       4 likes

  19. The Bolem says:

    Oh, and to the guy who mentioned “Conquest”: Only my 4th fav Fulci Film after “City of the Living Dead”, “The Beyond”, and “New York Ripper” (That last one is unbelievably theraputic if you’re having a week that’s making you hate all humanity).

    CT should seriously try to get their hands on Conquest. Of all the movies I’ve tried riffing with friends, only Al Adamson’s “Dracula vs. Frankenstein” evoked a better performance, so I’m sure Joel etc. could have enough fun with it. You have to respect Okron’s dog-soldiers as the most competent evil minions in the history of fantasy film.

    Sorry ’bout the triple post.

       1 likes

  20. Lz423 says:

    The remake of Manos is in the works, no joke.

       1 likes

  21. Darthdemona says:

    According to IMDb, all the female characters’ lines were dubbed by one woman. If that is true, I humbly advance the opinion that that woman is actually a pretty talented voice actor. I think she does a good job of differentiating the various characters.

    As for favorite riffs, I’ve narrowed it down to two:
    “Wow, I’m really torn: Torgo? .. my wife? … Hmmm…”
    and “Ambiguity is scary!”

       1 likes

  22. losingmydignity says:

    So much has already been said about this ep, what can I add? Let’s see…

    It is my #1 favorite. Saw it on video after returning from living abroad (I missed almost the entire show’s run) and had no idea of its popularity the first time I watched it. True greatness from “Hired” to the eyebrow raising stinger.

    Maybe there is a reason I love this one so much beyond the laugh factor and, yes, this time it may just have something to do with the movie.
    Anyone like me who is old enough to have grown up watching the late late creature feature midnight picture show will probably remember a time when they came across something like Manos. I mean, waited up all night expectantly for a Universal classic and instead got something so off-kilter, so bad, so dismal in its prodution values, logic, and intelligence that it fairly freaked you out. Bad horror films struck me as nightmarishly surreal as a kid. So surreal that when I look at the actual surrealists (Hello Dali, Man Wray, that kind of thing) they don’t even compare. The Larry Buchanans and fertilizer salesman of the world are the true surrealists.
    I wish I could have seen Manos as a kid. That’s how weird I am. I would have loved it.
    A+

       5 likes

  23. Ernest Brown says:

    The Bolem,

    “I’ve also always though that the actress who played Debbie would have been the ultimate guest to have scored for one of the conventions. Can’t you just picture her panel, with all those repressed memories coming back into focus? “I remember holding the dog a lot, and, um…there was a man who had something wrong with his pants…””

    There’s no need to imagine it:

    http://jophan.org/mimosa/m30/brandt.htm

       2 likes

  24. Feyd Rautha says:

    Ok, I know this topic is dead but I have had my two cents rolling around since this post first came up and didn’t have the guts to express them until now:

    This was my first Joel/host and Trace/Crow episode, and after all the hype I had heard about Manos I really was not impressed.

    It was hard to get used to Joel’s dry, stoner-esque humor versus Mike’s more casual, observational approach to hosting/riffing.
    I personally have never had an inclination to bite the head off of a chocolate bunny, and so I thought that the Mads’ invention felt a little forced. I thought it was a bit awkward how J&TB didn’t express any real animosity toward the movie until the first host segment after the movie began, where all of a sudden the bots are crying and quoting Bill Paxton from “Aliens”. Maybe that would of come off better had they moped more during the movie itself.
    Also, like a few others have said here, this movie just isn’t all that bad. It does have a (horribly slow, but followable) plot. Also, I don’t see the stride offense in making Debbie one of Manos’ brides. That opens up another problem I have with the Joel era- every time a man strikes a woman, the three boo the movie. Was this a remnant of the arch-politically-correct climate of the late 80’s and early 90’s? That’s how it feels to me.

    A final point- Let me reiterate that this movie just isn’t that bad compared to the other tripe (can you say, “Mighty Jack”?) they’ve withstood. Seriously, if Salvador Dali had made this exact movie in the 1930’s (which he basically did), it would be required viewing for freshmen film students, and the pretentious coffee house crowd would endlessly discuss its finer nuances.

    I have since fallen in love with the Joel era (it’s only fair since he came up with this fantastic show) but stand by my contention that this is by no means the worst movie they had seen up to this point.

    There. I said it. I’d say it again if I had to…

       0 likes

  25. shinragod says:

    I have to say this…while the riffing is good I don’t really consider this my all time favorite Mystery Science theater 3000 episode. In fact I officially dub this THE worst movie they ever did; it’s worse than ‘Monster A Go-Go’ and ‘Creeping Terror’.

    It’s only famous cause of it’s sheer awfullness.

       1 likes

  26. jessie says:

    I actualy watched this movie on youtube’
    It was a car accident.I couldnt look away.This is the episode everyoe hates to love.We may gripe and complain,but we all love this episode.The ending,with little girl as a wife,while icky,doesnt bother me.I never take any thing in any movie mst3k riffs seriously.I remember just being speechless after watching this,and very very tired.It was just so…
    And am i the only one who is freaked out by the master?
    I like mike as torgo,if they make a remake mike should definitely be torgo :lol:

    Fav riff-I love when tom is doing the ongoing monlogue at the end,all the jokes about the little dog”The torgo townswomen guild presents the battle of pearl harbor”and whever they get creeped out by togo.The ohotograph riff is good too
    Im not to keen on the short.i dont know why,im just not.and ive enver been to an mstie party so you might be weird hehe.
    This is not a movie i’d show a newbie.Maybe the second movie,and maybe the first,but id probably show them a sword and sandal movie first.

    Manos i think took five years off my life lol
    John 3:16

       0 likes

  27. Uranium - 235 says:

    Hahaha I love how the short has one of the dirtiest riffs in all of MST history. I think there’s a couple dirtier, but not many!

    “… one of the first things Harry drilled into me…” Crow: “Was ‘Harry’!”

    Also during the short, the greasy manager says he wants the guy to come back year after year, and that he hopes he buys his “next ten cars” from them. Did people back then really buy cars like that? What’d they do, just throw them in the trash when they got some dirt on them?

    Favorite riffs? I enjoy the “Laziest man on mars” remark, and the way Crow yells “Freddy Mercury!” when the window opens to show the Master peering in just gets me every time.

    There also another Fawlty Towers reference, as the Master yells ‘Kill! Kill!’ Tom says: “Yes dear, I’m doing it dear!”

    Oh and something to note – the clank during the guillotine scene was indeed the scroll hitting the ground. First, it’s made of wood dowels. Second, you can actually just barely see it (or the shadow of it) bouncing off the ground and rolling just barely off camera.

    And about the film: I was a little surprised nobody said anything about the infamous ‘clapboard’ part (seen just before Tom remarks “good thing they have a roll bar” about the make-out couple).

       0 likes

  28. Spector says:

    Kevin Murphy once said they’d see worse movies than “Manos”. If so I’m glad they never riffed those, because anything worse than Manos is truly, truly awful.

    This one’s one of my all-time favorites and I enjoy watching it now, but the first time I saw this (a taped copy from a friend) it took me an entire afternoon to watch it. I had to stop after 20 minutes and just take a break for a few minutes. My wife found she had to do the same thing when I convinced her that to be a full-fledged MSTie she had to watch “Manos”.

    This is a tough one the first time around. Joel and the bots get some great mileage out of this, especially with Torgo, and it is genuinely funny after watching it again a second and third time, but man oh man it’s a tough slog the first time around. When even the Mads end up apologizing for this movie you know it’s rough!

    I don’t ever show this one first to someone I want to become a fan of the show. I usually wait until they’ve seen several episodes and even then I forewarn them.

    This is hands-down the worst movie they ever did. The fact it’s a classic is a tribute to the Brains comic efforts. A helluva finish to one of the best seasons of the show.

       1 likes

  29. Samsara says:

    Okay, I’m really late on this, I know.

    This was my first MST3k episode. I’ve shown it to a lot of people as their first, and those people have been showing it to other people as their first, and not once have I seen a reaction other than “This is the best thing I’ve ever seen”.

    It works a lot better if you know about the show in advance, and if you’re showing it to other people who’ve never heard of MST3k, you have to explain the premise of the show, else they’ll focus more on the movie itself.

    I don’t think it’s the worst movie they ever did. It’s definitely down there, but it’s not the worst. I’d say Hobgoblins is the worst. I’ve watched it a few times and I still can’t get through it in one sitting.

    And, to follow a trend: Favorite riffs.

    From Hired:
    “We’re gonna have leadership the way my old man told me! You, put a handkerchief on your head! You, swat at imaginary elves! You, rock on the porch all night!”

    “And never forget…” “I love you!”

    From Manos:
    The POV driving:
    “You are the driver. What would you do if this happened to you?”
    “Gotta keep an eye on my widow’s peak in the mirror, there.”

    The scenes with the cops:
    “Cover me, Ron!”
    “Think we should try some of that kissin’, Bert?”

       2 likes

  30. R.A. Roth says:

    I would dub this the Rocky Horror Picture Show of MST3K. It’s so universally recognized as the quintessential episode, you could stage parties around it complete with props. A kit bag should include a napkin for a hankie (the dad in the short), the same prop for the disappearing babushka scenes, and some dog poop to throw at your friends who will appreciate the break from watching MANOS: the Hands of Fate! (trailing sobs).

    Randy

       0 likes

  31. bobhoncho says:

    Love Tom’s reference to “Smoke On The Water.” Still one of my favorite songs.
    As for you, Warren, I just have three words to say to you, “YOU SICK PIG!!!”

       1 likes

  32. bobhoncho says:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to lash out. Now on with the rest of my fellow Misties comments.

       0 likes

  33. WWWoBW Boy says:

    Good bad movie…Mangoes the cans of fruit.

    I like manos in small doses…

    A more vile movie is the John Cassavetes movie from the mid 1980’s called “The Incubus” where he is a doctor/detective. Creepy vile.

    Favorite scene in The Incubus : John Cassavetes visits the dying girl who has been brutally raped by the incubus and says “Hang in there tough guy”. This may be cut from some prints … was there in the theatrical release.

    I lost it….

       1 likes

  34. Dan in WI says:

    A couple weeks ago I mentioned that Monster A-Go-Go had moved right to the top of my all time favorite episode list. Well it didn’t hold the spot long. Behold the new champion: Manos the Hands of Fate. That is a title it would never ever relinquish. This episode is the perfect finale to the definitive season. It also includes a top three all time short for me in Hired! Part 2.
    In fact I love how Monster a Go-Go gets referenced when Joel points out they survived Monster a Go-Go so they can survive this movie.

    It’s been often said this episode should not be shown to a newbie. I did show it to a friend once. I’m not sure it was his first episode but at the most it was his third. It went over very well. But that could well be the situation, which is the exception that proves the rule.

    How much do I like this episode? I remember my first taped copy came from a broadcast that was very nearly unwatchable for the fist 45 minutes. It was a very snowy picture and very hard to see much. At least the sound was fine. And despite this that tape got watched over and over.

    The opening segment is cute. Kind of takes the Cheers theme song (where everybody knows your name) to an unhealthy level.

    As great as this episode is, it isn’t quite a complete episode. The invention exchange falls in the good but not great category. The Mads definitely have the stronger of the two inventions. It makes me think of Easter time Sally Forth comic strips and I love Frank’s muscular chest costume.

    I’ll say this second part of Hired just blows away part one. Part one was just the set up. This is the payoff.

    It’s really amazing how well a creditless credit sequence can be filled by just repeating “Manos the hands of fate”

    Notice during the driving sequence host segment that the footage on the screen is going in the opposite direction as Joel and the Bots are “driving.”

    Frank and Dr. Forrester individually apologizing for this film really puts this over the top.

    Joel’s reactions to the alternate exaggerated physical attributes in the middle host segment are priceless.

    I was waiting a long time for a riff noticing the Master’s resemblance to Freddy Mercury. That was the first thing I thought of.

    This episode has the highest ever content of favorite riffs by Joel. For whatever reason he usually has the fewest riffs I like. He made up for it this week.

    During the wives wrestling scene Crow remarks that this movie needs Marc Singer. What does the star of V have to do with this? I don’t get this one.

    I’ve always loved how Joel’s cloak had feet instead of hands.

    If the driving scene can be explained by credits that never were inserted, what is the explanation of the long driving scene by the two women at the end? But I love Tom’s attempt to fill that void. See Ward E for the transcript. http://www.mst3kinfo.com/ward_e/bit424c.html

    The best part of all the Shout! Factory special features was the Joel interview in the Hired! section of disc 2. It’s been said many times by him that the Lou Reed SOL album was one of the biggest inspirations of the show. Here Joel watching these shorts as a school age kid says this too was an inspiration. He claims he was one of the good kids that stayed quiet but since these shorts are laughable as soon as they are released and then immediately begin aging poorly created much fodder for his classmates. I can see this would be the germ of an idea.

    Favorite Riffs:

    About the old guy:
    Tom “He’s having an episode.”
    Joel “Ah flying elves are back.”

    Old guy “I remember one of the firs things Harry drilled into me” Crow “Was Harry.”

    At the sales meeting:
    Joel “We’re going to have leadership the way my old man told me. You put a handkerchief on your head. You swat at imaginary elves. You rock on the porch all night.”

    Crow “But he bought the flipping car.”

    Debbie “Mommy I’m cold.” Crow “My core temperature’s dropped.”
    Crow “you can have the top up or a birthday present. It’s your choice hunny.”

    Couple kissing in car and another car passes by. Crow says imitating a Doppler Effect: “Way to go Steeeeve.”

    Joel “Every frame of this film looks like someone’s last known photograph.”

    Mike to Debbie “See you’re feeling better already.” Joel “Rolling in filth will do that for you.”

    Debbie “Pepe?” Joel “Yeah listen you never had a dog. I want you to stop this foolishness about a dog.”

    Torgo makes his pass at Maggie and she cries out for Mike. “Hey why don’t you visit with Torgo for a while. I’ll be right in dear.”

    Mike “Maggie the damn car won’t start.” Crow as Debbie “Yeah it’s a real bitch Daddy.”

    Torgo tells the Master’s first wife he’s no longer interested. Joel “Ah Torgo don’t burn any bridges.”

    The Master wakes up. Joel: “Oh man I don’t mind telling you my bladder has hit critical mass.”

    Crow as one cop to the other “Think we should try some of that kissin’ Burt?”

    The Master proclaims Torgo must die. Crow as Torgo “I’m going to have to ask for my last paycheck now.”

    Tom “You know, there are certain flaws in this film.”

    Crow as dog “Can you hold that cue card up. What’s that say? Oh yeah, Arf.”

    Joel during closing credits “Okay everyone pick out someone you want to punch.”

       4 likes

  35. ServoTron3000 says:

    The “Citizen Kane” of MST3k episodes!

       2 likes

  36. Sitting Duck says:

    Feyd Rautha #124: I thought it was a bit awkward how J&TB didn’t express any real animosity toward the movie until the first host segment after the movie began, where all of a sudden the bots are crying and quoting Bill Paxton from “Aliens”. Maybe that would of come off better had they moped more during the movie itself.

    The way I see it they had been keeping a stiff upper lip up to that point, at which they finally cracked.

    Anyone notice how the narrative structure for the Cartuner Invention Exchange is pretty much identical to that of the Microwave Faith Popcorn from the previous week?

       2 likes

  37. Smoothie of Great Power says:

    I think one single riff summarizes both the movie and why this episode is so great.

    Courtesy of Joel, “DO SOMETHING!”

       3 likes

  38. Tom Carberry says:

    Wow, what can I say about this little gem that hasn’t already been said? After about five viewings (over 20 years), I still find it difficult to sit through despite Joel and the Bots and their valiant effort. This episode has a deserved reputation that embodies the expression, “the worst ever made”. Quentin Tarantino owns one of the only 35mm copies of the film left in existence. He claims this is his favorite “comedy” of all time—‘nuff said.

    Favorite lines (Hired! Part II, 1941):

    No employees were killed during the making of this film.
    “He worked that hard with every man he ever hired.” He got sent to jail for it.
    “I remember one of the first things Harry drilled into me was…” Harry.
    Are you now, or have you ever been a Ford owner?
    Live at home until you’re forty.
    It’s Dr. Giggles.

    Favorite lines (Manos, 1966):

    This is the slowest car chase scene I’ve ever seen.
    Visit beautiful Ground Zero.
    Tonight, Manos gets caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
    So, what are we about a half hour into this movie?
    Joel, this is going to turn into a snuff film.
    [cops stop couple in car] No, you’ve got it all wrong, love should be musty and hurtful.
    Tom Cruise is Dr. John.
    [of Torgo’s thighs] Ah, that’s not how you wear you’re your Depends, Torgo. Been hitting the Thighmaster Torgo? It’s like having Joe Cocker as your bellhop.
    Finally, my chance to get rid of that damn dog.
    Sounds like he’s got a humpback whale under the hood.
    “Wants me…what kind of talk is that?” Why it’s oily, sleazy talk.
    [Torgo makes a play for Margaret] When carny’s flirt. Torgo, you’re coming dangerously close to crossing the line. Kind of a clumsy pass.
    Torgo wobbles but he won’t fall down, he could fill out jodhpurs like regular pants.
    I’m Tom Bodett and we’ll leave a pyre on for you.
    Marilyn Quayle in “Baby Doll.”
    Next on ESPN, full contact nightgown wrestling.
    I’m guessing this is the whole reason this movie was made.
    Now, wait a minute, did this movie just lap itself?
    Oh, Joel there’s a buffet of loathsomeness in this movie.

    Final Thought: Ouch. I give this one 2 out of 5 stars.

       1 likes

  39. klisch says:

    When the Mother and Father realized that the little girl is missing the Dad asks Torgo to help find her, that’s when Joel says, “Torgo, will you page her for us.” That line had me laughing for a few minutes afterwards. It was just so spot on for the situation.

       0 likes

  40. Stressfactor says:

    The riffing is great really. I again got into it much better this time rather than when I tried it early on in trying to get into the show. Your actual mileage may vary, however.

    Even with the riffing though this is still one of those movies where I feel like a need a shower after watching it because you just feel greasy and tacky.

    Still, what I find really funny is how MST3K put this movie on the map for being one of the worst things ever and yet people have flocked to it due to the badness.

    It’s a warped, twisted world we live in, ain’t it?

       1 likes

  41. Creeping-Death says:

    A classic episode and the third episode I saw with Joel. The short and the movie are both very good, not the best episode, but a very good one.

    Favorite lines:
    Joel [as Joseph McCarthy?]: Are you now, or have you ever been, a Ford owner?

    Joel: Ah… that’s not how you wear your Depends, Torgo.
    Crow: Been hitting the Thighmaster, Torgo?

    Servo: And now, the Manos Women’s Guild will reenact the Battle of Pearl Harbor.

    Servo: So, I told Gary that I was *going* on this vacation. So he goes, “Well, then, I’m going hunting with Jeff next weekend.” Well, that’s when we were at knives. And [???] sang ‘Fernando,’ and then Gary–oh, he sang so good–Oh, you should meet Jeff some time. Do you like Barry Manilow songs? I know the farmers need rain, but when it’s damp like this, my hair just explodes–just ex-*plo*-des! Ooo, ooo…feeling kinda gassy–McNuggets, you know, they make me so gassy–all that grease and all. It really helps if you drink eight to ten glasses of water a day. Did you know that? Sometimes I drink five, sometimes I drink nine just to make up for the other three I didn’t drink. Coffee and diet drinks don’t count either. You know, this is pretty country, isn’t it? You know, it’s really kind of a blessing in disguise that I didn’t get accepted to college. You know, I’m going to have to revise my 20-year plan, but–oh, did I tell you about my 20-year plan? Okay, well, okay, listen here–in year one, this is the year when I’m going to take off those extra seven pounds–you know, that’s equal to seven pounds of butter, so it’s like I’m *wearing* seven pounds of butter! Uh…oh, where was I? Oh, oh, yeah. So my aunt and uncle here, they celebrated their 20th anniversary, and my uncle wanted to sing ‘Sunrise, Sunset’–he wanted *me* to sing that, and I haven’t sung that since Cindy’s wedding, and, well, she never thanked me for that, well, I’m still–she’s probably really busy and all…

       3 likes

  42. Matt D says:

    I think we need to give some kinds of props to digital_trucker at #107 for talking about how Manos could be remade. Now while that isn’t happening, they are making a sequel and trying to restore the original. You could say that they are trying to reinvent the concept from Manos. So well done sir.

    Hired part two is way better than Hired part one, although the Hired: The Musical host segment is better than any host segment from Manos. This is why the totality of the Hired short(s) ranks as one of the top three or five shorts in the history of MST.

       3 likes

  43. dsman71 says:

    What more can be said, the most famous MST3K title with a tremendous short. Reviews, comments all over the place. I remember Joel wearing a fruit strip shirt underneath his jumpsuit.
    Observation – Joels haircut, if you watch Warrior of the Lost World, notice that this episode as well as Swamp Diamonds, Hercules all seemed to be shot after Manos because you can see Joel’s hair grow out with the same part. For some reason Im under the impression that the episodes shot for the following season were filmed after the end of the current season. Maybe it was to get ahead while they went on a vacation.
    That being said Season 5 is coming which means we will reflect once again on Mitchell and Joel Leaving (sad day)
    Joels Hair, Joels Knees, Joel leaving
    Crows Hair,
    Ziggy had Garfield neutered
    “Manos!”
    “Therapy” :-) :chic: 8-) :rainbow: :soccer: :film: :cloudy:

       4 likes

  44. Blast Hardcheese says:

    What a difference two years make–who knew, when this episode last came up for discussion, that a sequel and a restoration would be in the works? I’m not sure when the sequel will be done, but I’m expecting my restored “Manos” boo-ray disc by August. What hath MST wrought?

    There’s been some talk here about whether “Manos” should or shouldn’t be viewed as a first-time episode. I’d like to go a bit further, and suggest that “Manos” is probably the episode that determines whether or not you “get” MST. It’s the episode that separates the casual fan from the dedicated MSTie. “Manos” is not the worst movie they ever riffed: I still say that honour goes to “Monster A Go-Go.” But MAGG is basically just an average sci-fi monster movie marred by total cinematic incompetence. In the right hands, it probably still would have been just a generic sci-fi monster pic, and maybe even still would have ended up on MST, only far less memorable. The episode is not the funniest episode: a lot of the jokes (apart from those in “Hired,” which are among their best) are average, and some of the time they seem to be struggling for a good riff, especially in the many places where nothing is happening (Joel’s “Do something!” is a pretty sincere cry of frustration). The host segments are good, but not spectacular (as Matt D points out, the “Hired–The Musical” skit is pure gold, and better than any of the host segments here). There aren’t even a lot of callbacks or in-jokes that might qualify this as a “graduate level” episode, as per the discussion a couple of weeks ago.

    So why is this the episode that, if you get, makes you a lifelong MSTie? I think it has to do with the film itself. The more times I watch “Manos” (and, thanks to Shout!, I’ve watched both the MST version and the original several times), the more I’m impressed that the Brains were able to wring any comedy out of this at all, and the more genuinely horrified I am by the actual movie. Unlike “Monster A Go-Go,” the plot and premise of “Manos” come literally out of nowhere; there is probably nothing quite like it in cinema. Its jerky, handmade quality and its technical incompetence only add to what is, essentially, a fever-dream spawned from Hal Warren’s own psyche. Because it is so genuinely artless, its strangeness hits you even more fully. Crow’s fear that it will turn out to be a snuff film, and Joel’s comment about every frame looking like someone’s last known photograph, are dead on: it has the look and feel of a found artefact, maybe even taken from a crime scene, and that alone makes it more genuinely horrifying than any Hollywood horror flick. It’s what “The Blair Witch Project” wanted to be, but couldn’t be, because even it was too carefully contrived. That’s why I would suggest a remake, with a real budget and real actors, would totally ruin the experience. You can’t separate the story of “Manos” from the way it’s told–you can’t take Hal Warren out of the picture.

    Sitting through “Manos” with Joel and the Bots is a unique experience: the riffs are there, as Joel has said, to act as a friendly guide through some very disturbing territory. The laughter is not the gleeful hilarity you experience from watching them tear apart a movie like “Werewolf,” but a kind of nervous laughter that is a reassurance that there’s still some friendly faces in this bizarre world. It doesn’t matter, then, if the riffs are hilarious–as long as they can act as your lifeline to reality (and they do), that’s fine. If you make it through all the way with Joel and the Bots, you can fully appreciate what MST is all about. That may be possible for a first-timer, but it’s rare–but whenever you experience “Manos,” you’ve signed on full-time to the SOL. If you don’t walk away from these guys during “Manos,” you won’t ever walk away from them.

       17 likes

  45. Brandon says:

    At Emerald City Comicon, I met this one woman who was a fan of MST3K. We were discussing our favorite episodes, and then I brought up Manos, she immediately was like, “Ugh, if I hear any more about that episode I’m gonna freak out!” She found the episode VERY overrated.

    I will admit though that I do not think this is the WORST movie they ever did, not the funniest riffing ever done, but I’d say it is the STRANGEST film ever.

    The movie’s just so weird, that I think it’s a film I could watch without the riffing. It at least has a “plot” unlike Monster A-Go Go, or Incredibly Strange Creatures.

       1 likes

  46. Lisa says:

    Oh dear. Stirring conclusion to Hired, great invention exchange, strong riffing, but a movie that’s marginally more watchable than Monster a Go-Go.

    I can actually get to about the half way point before I get bored with it. Also, the husband is such an idiot, it makes it hard to watch. I will say the ending is quite chilling.

    Torgo is my favorite incarnation of Mike.

    Favorite lines
    Hired
    Good salesman. Bad salesman. Inkadinkadoo.
    But he bough the flipping car!
    Are you going to hurt me?

    Manos
    Sure, they fade into the same scene.
    Did you see how you were framing back there?
    Way to go Steve!
    Vroom. Here I go.
    You’re getting funnier and cuter and I’m liking you more and more.
    Every frame of this movie looks like someone’s last known photo!

       1 likes

  47. Dan in WI says:

    Blast #144> You’ve watched Manos several times un MiSTied? The closest I’ve ever come to that feat is watching it with Elvira a year ago. Since that show show has maybe a half dozen cut-ins tops, that is essentially the same thing as unriffed. The only reason I made it to the end that way was pure resolve and determination. It was the toughest slog in my personal history of watching moving pictures. I can’t imagine anyone watching this more than once without riffing.

       1 likes

  48. Jeff says:

    This was the second Mystery Science thing I ever saw, after The Movie. I had found The Movie on tape at my local Blockbuster when I was about nine or ten, and though the robots looked funny, so I got my dad to rent it for me. I think I made him rent it somewhere north of fifteen times after that, and I think that’s why he doesn’t like MST3K very much anymore.

    Anyway, after seeing the movie, I rented every MST3K tape they had. That included this, Mitchell, Cave Dwellers, and Pod People.

    Most of my sense of humor comes from this show (and Far Side), I’ve seen every episode, bought the DVDs…so I wouldn’t say that newbies shouldn’t see Manos. I’d say that only certain kinds of newbie should see Manos, meaning people who already have warped senses of humor.

    Personally, my introductory episode is usually either Space Mutiny or Final Sacrifice.

    By the way, I had absolutely no idea what was going on in Manos when I first saw it, so that might have something to do with it, too.

    Edit: Blast Hardcheese just said what I wanted to say, but he said it way more eloquently.

       2 likes

  49. schippers says:

    What more can be said about Manos: The Hands of Fate? Well, I will boldly state that I like the songs with vocals in this movie (with one exception: the second song, male vocalist, don’t like that one).

    Uh.

    As to the long driving sequence involving the two young women, and what purpose it serves, I think it’s the equivalent of a few narrative “beats” prior to the shocking conclusion (so as to leave the audience in some suspense after the gun battle that concluded the main portion of the story). We’re supposed to be on the edge of our seats while we watch these two women, thinking to ourselves, “Yes, but WHAT HAPPENED TO HAL P. WARREN, HIS WIFE, AND HIS KID!!?!?!?!?”

    Unfortunately, as is so often the case with the oleaginous gentlemen who really had no business dabbling in cinema, the beat is held too long. It gets boring.

    That’s my take on it, anyway.

       3 likes

  50. Dropo221 says:

    This was intern Curtis Anderson’s last show. And this was the last time “Ammendment” was misspelled in the credits.

    So are you saying it was Curtis Anderson’s fault that Amendment was misspelled in the credits previously??

       3 likes

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