Actor-Inspired Element: Tom Neyman was going through a phase of hand motifs in his art, so when he did the set design, he incorporated some of the sculpted hands he'd been working on, which led to the hand fixation of The Master and his cult.
Author Existence Failure: The planned sequel has managed to get back almost all of the original cast, but the death of John Reynolds means that either Torgo will be left out or will have to be recast.
The Cast Showoff: Tom Neyman contributed the various "hand" sculptures and the Master's portrait and robe.
Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: A film review from shortly after the premiere lists Torgo as the film's "hero", though granted he's the closest thing to one. Curiously, the reviewer also focuses in on Torgo's "beautiful set of teeth" as his most prominent feature.
Fan Nickname: The film was often referred to as Mangos: The Cans of Fruit by the more frustrated cast members.
Incestuous Casting: Tom Neyman (The Master) and Jackie Neyman (Debbie) are father and daughter. Debbie ends up becoming one of the Master's wives.
The film had no editing. At all. Instead, the film was edited in-camera. One shot shows Hal saying "Cut!", and then realized he didn't need to, because there was no way to stop the camera. The actress playing the girl making out with her boyfriend twice looked at the camera as if wondering when the shot would end. It also explains all of the endless shots of the car parking, and the reason why the film ran for several seconds before the Master's dog barked.
John Reynolds even had to make the leg braces he wears in the film himself. The only actors who were compensated were Jackey Neyman (who received a bicycle) and the dog playing the hellhound (50 pounds of food).
The actors who play the Master and Debbie are father and daughter.
The Master's evil dog was their dog, which is why (despite the dubbed-in barking) it's very friendly.
Peppi the poodle was the Warren family's dog.
Talking to Himself: Everyone is dubbed by five actors, including Warren himself. When the sheriff points out Mike's burned-out taillight, it becomes an odd Dada experiment in alternate reality.
Troubled Production: The was made when fertilizer salesman Hal Warren befriended and later made a bet with famous screenwriter Stirling Silliphant that he could make a horror film with a low budget. And it shows. The problems included:
The camera they used was a 16mm Bell and Howell that not only didn't record sound, but only could record 32 seconds of film. The sound was later dubbed in in post-production by four members of the crew, Hal included. This explains a number of things, including the bad editing, the long pauses and why a few characters, such as Torgo and the little girl, sound horrible.
The crew found themselves bemused by how amateur Hal was that they mocked the title of the movie (which was once called "Lodge of Sins") as Mangos: The Cans of Fruit.
Tom Neyman created a special rigging to give Torgo the illusion that he was a satyr. However, the actor, John Reynolds, set it up wrong and it damaged his knees so badly that he was reportedly taking medication that would lead to an addiction and later suicide.
Instead of the technique of shooting "day for night", Hal opted to film night scenes at night. Thanks to poor lighting, it gave the accidental illusion of the cops getting out of their car to investigate a gunshot, but decide otherwise.
The modeling agency that loaned Hal the women to be the Master's wives proved to be a bit of a prima donna, refusing to let the women to be "too skimpy" (that red sash they wear? They were supposed to be tails) and when one of the women broke her leg, Hal was forced to recast her as the other half of the makeout couple that has no real effect to the plot!
Years later, the HD restoration of the film hit a major snag when Hal's son Joe, feeling incredibly slighted for not being a part of this, attempted to sue Ben Solovey, the man spearheading the restoration, in an attempt to assert copyright, only to find out that his old man never secured the copyright for the film.
What Could Have Been: Harold Warren apparently talked a well-known Hollywood actressnote It's not known exactly who it was, but there's some circumstantial evidence to suggest that it might have been Suzanne Pleshette into flying to El Paso to play Margaret, but after realizing what an amateurish production it was (and that Warren wouldn't pay any money up front), she immediately quit.
The pillars where the Master and his wives sleep is a real location.
The Master's "Lodge Of Sins" was actually the ranch of then El Paso County Judge, Colbert Coldwell. Sadly, the house where Manos was filmed burnt down. Hotel Torgo filmed the then abandoned house before it burnt down.
The scene at the beginning where the family pulls into a scenic overlook and talks about putting the top down was filmed on Scenic Drive in El Paso. It looks the same to this day. The city in the background that Joel calls "Beautiful Ground Zero" is Ciudad Juarez.note Given the reputation that Ciudad Juarez has today, that riff becomes all that much more Hilarious in Hindsight.
According to the daughter of Hal P. Warren, his Halloween tradition was putting on the Master robe when he gave candy out. After her father died, her brother continued the tradition.
John Reynolds, who played Torgo, was usually high while filming, according to Jackey Neyman. He committed suicide about a month before the film was supposed to premiere.
Jackey Neyman said in an interview that she had spent some time as a teenager and young adult looking for a copy of Manos in libraries and such, but never could find a copy.note Too bad she never checked the Video Watchdog catalog, which sold copies of it for years before the MST3K airing. Then, one weekend in 1993, she received a call from her father. Apparently, he had settled in to snooze in front of the TV with Comedy Central on, and heard some familiar music during a certain episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Elated, Jackey called Comedy Central in New York, told them that she'd been in this movie that they'd shown, and requested that she get a copy. The person on the other end was absolutely floored when Jackey identified what movie.