YMMV / "Manos" The Hands of Fate

The film

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Did Torgo legitimately want to help the family escape or was he just going to do it to spite the Master? He did try to warn them when they first arrived...
  • 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.
  • Awesome Music: "Forgetting You"
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The entire subplot of the couple who keep getting harassed by the cops as they make out, which never comes close to having a point. It was put in purely to appease the actress, who was going to play one of the Master's wives until she broke her leg.
  • But Not Too Evil: Audiences who accepted the Master as evil still objected to Debbie showing up in his harem at the end, apparently believing that the depiction of implied pedophilia was beyond the pale of acceptable entertainment.
  • Complete Monster: The Master is an undead occultist worshipping the evil god Manos who happily performs human sacrifices for his deity. He keeps a harem of wives which he disposes of as he sees fit, burning one alive after growing bored of her to appease Manos. When a small family is lured into his keep by his servant Torgo, he first kills the family dog. He tries to kill Torgo for touching his wives in their sleep, hacking off Torgo's hand in the process. He does this not because what Torgo did disgusts him, but because he considers them his alone. Then he forces both Michael's wife Margaret and his little daughter Debbie to become his new brides. He finally turns Michael himself into another brainless servant like Torgo before him to lure in more victims.
  • Crazy Awesome: It's hard not to like Torgo.
  • Cult Classic
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: You know things are bad when the closest thing to a hero the movie has is a creep like Torgo.
  • Designated Hero: Mike, who never does anything to make you sympathize with him. He orders Torgo around, ignores his wife's constant pleas, and continuously calls Debbie "my baby" like Margaret had nothing to do with her.
  • Ear Worm:
    • The only truly disturbing thing about this movie except maybe the ending is how thoroughly the haunting '"Torgo's Theme'" gets stuck in your head.
    • The ending theme "Forgetting You" is surprisingly catchy.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Torgo
  • Epic Fail: The movie was largely made with a camera that could only record thirty seconds at a time. Somehow, they also managed to include several of the most jaw-dropping Leave the Camera Running moments you will ever see.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One reviewer suggests that the film be repackaged or dubbed into becoming a "foreign art film". Warren himself is said to have remarked that it would make a great comedy if dubbed.
    • That same El Paso Herald-Post review snarkily referred to Torgo being apparently "massaged to death". 27 years later MST3K used almost the exact same joke ("they're Rolfing him to death!").
    • A creepy cult leader and his multiple wives live on a remote West Texas compound...the Warren Jeffs saga had some interesting similarities to the movie.
    • The kissing woman in the car (named Sally) bears a striking resemblance to Scout's Ma.
  • I Liked It Better When It Sucked: How some fans feel about the restoration.
  • Memetic Mutation: evErYtHinG ToRgo saYS
  • Narm: Everything. As such, it works better as a comedy than a horror film; in fact, Quentin Tarantino has said that this is one of his favorite comedies of all time.
  • Nausea Fuel: Debbie shown as one of the Master's wives. Even more so when you find out that the actress who plays Debbie is the daughter of the actor who plays the Master.
  • Padding: Plenty. The long driving shots of nothing, the camera lingering on plot points far too long (like the Valley Lodge sign). Then there's the repetitive arguments between the Master's wives. About 10 minutes of information are stretched into 70.
  • Snark Bait: Its popularity is a clear case of this. It usually ranks high among the worst movies featured on MST3K. The RiffTrax remake of it was very highly anticipated; apparently, Manos was one of the most common requests for riffing.
  • Special Effect Failure: Torgo's is supposed to have backwards goat legs, but he ends up just looking like he's got giant knees. The non-professional actor made the leg prostheses himself and worked for free, so you get what you pay for.
  • Squick: Specifically pedophilia and Torgo's creepy attempts to hit on Margaret. And that couch in the Master's living room, which the restoration showed was actually quite filthy and stained.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Manos could have been really disturbing, if you look at the core plot or the idea behind them. You're lost in the desert, and the only person willing to take you and your family for the night is twitchy yet well-meaning, except when he randomly begs you to leave. It gets worse from there.
  • Uncanny Valley: Debbie was dubbed over by someone who clearly wasn't a little girl. It's rumored that the little girl playing her cried when she first watched the dub, and one can hardly blame her.
  • Vindicated by Cable: According to the Trivia, Manos actress Jackey Neyman herself couldn't track down a copy of it anywhere before MST3K aired the famous episode in 1993. Is it fair to say that Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the only reason the film is known today? Yes, it certainly is.
  • What an Idiot: Yes Mike, it's a good idea for you and your family to stay with the creepy bearded guy in the creepy lodge in the middle of nowhere. That'll definitely work out for you.
  • The Woobie:
    • Due to his speech problems, hobbling gait, and the way Michael and The Master treat him like crap, Torgo manages to fall into this. He counts as a Jerkass Woobie as well, since he's a bit of a groper and a pervert towards Margaret.
    • The Master's Wives are halfway there, with the implication being they are held against their will as the Master's sex slaves and there are hints that Torgo molests them during their hibernations. However, they appear to be extremely jealous and petty of each other and the new guests. Not to mention, killing Mike was their idea, not the Master's.
    • Even though it could be argued that the adults around her are Too Dumb to Live and thus bring their fates on themselves, poor Debbie didn't do anything to deserve what she goes through.

The game