DIRECTED BY: Harold P. Warren
FEATURING: John Reynolds, Tom Neyman, Diane Mahree, Harold P. Warren
PLOT: Lost in the desert, a vacationing family seeks lodging from Torgo, who takes care of the place while the Master is away.
WHY IT MIGHT MAKE THE LIST: With The Horror of Spider Island and The Beast of Yucca Flats already certified weird, it’s hard to argue that any movie could be ruled off the List solely because it was “too bad.” But as painful as those movies can be to watch, the dreadfully dull and incompetent Manos is another kettle of stinky fish entirely. Spider Island and Yucca Flats developed slight cult followings on their own bizarre merits, but for decades 1966’s Manos had been completely resigned to the grindhouse dustbin, only gaining notice after being featured on the bad movie-mocking cult TV show “Mystery Science Theater 3000” in 1993. Like most misguided amateur efforts, Manos notches a few weird points from anti-naturalistic acting, incoherent editing and negligent continuity. In the case of Hal Warren’s sole feature, the staggering ineptitude magnifies the movie’s strange little bumps until they become looming mountains; the story takes place in some uncanny desert that’s somewhat similar to our own world, but permeated by a dreamlike offness. The question is, is that weird undercurrent enough to overcome Manos‘ dead air?
COMMENTS: Abraham pleaded with God to save the city of Sodom from eradication via brimstone, if he could find only a few good men inside the city limits; similarly, I won’t condemn Manos as a completely worthless endeavor if I can ferret out just a few good things about it. A brief recital of Manos‘ cinematic sins, however, makes the judgment look dire for this microbudget brainchild of a fertilizer salesman from El Paso, Texas. The issues begin with the film stock itself: Manos was shot with a hand-wound 16 mm camera that could only capture thirty seconds of footage at a time. The camera was probably intended to be used by families making silent vacation films, and the results look exactly like home movies from the 1960s, complete with barely adequate, dull coloration and hazy definition. Since the Continue reading LIST CANDIDATE: MANOS, THE HANDS OF FATE (1966)