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Manos: The Hands of Fate [Blu-ray]
(Harold P. Warren, 1966)
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: Synapse Films
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 48,851,679,805 bytes
Feature Size: 21,468,959,424 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.79 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 13th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1838 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1838 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
English, Spanish, None
• Audio Commentary with Jackey Raye Neyman-Jones and Tom
DVD of the film
Description: Mike (Harold P. Warren) and Maggie (Diane Mahree), on a road trip with their daughter and family dog, take a wrong turn in Texas and become trapped at a weird lodge inhabited by a polygamous pagan cult. They soon find themselves in the middle of a power struggle between caretaker Torgo (John Reynolds), cult leader The Master (Tom Neyman), and two warring factions of the Master's wives. As the family tries to escape, the worshipers of Manos decide their fate...
I've seen the reviews for this one already, but I never did
grasp the phenomenon that is "Manos: the Hands of Fate" until I actually
watched it. This film is the worst I have EVER seen, and I have seen "Plan
9 From Outer Space."
I have mixed feelings about Manos. Yes, it is truly bad and one of the worst films of all time. It’s a lot of fun and the stories behind it are the best of any movie but in recent years it has come to be accepted as THE worst movie of all time in some circles. Removing the long standing “Plan 9 From Outer Space” from this illustrious position. I find this disturbing because I feel that it is mainly the result of the stories behind the movie rather than the content of the film itself. The movie got its start when writer/director Harold P. Warren, a fertilizer salesman, made a bet he could produce a hit movie with an extremely modest budget. The man had a bit of an ego and clearly was not a gifted filmmaker. The entire movie was shot using a handheld camera that could only record thirty-two seconds of footage at a time. John Reynolds, who plays the satyr Torgo in the film, killed himself the same year the film came out while addicted to pain killers he got hooked on because of the prosthetics he wore for the film permanently damaged his knees. The saddest thing about that is the fact that nowhere in the movie is it demonstrated that Torgo is a satyr.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Manos: The Hands of Fate gets a 1080P transfer from a 'New 2K Restoration'. While 16mm - it is probably as good as it's going to look on Blu-ray. It's dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. The textures are thick and consistent - appearing very appealing to this reviewer. Colors are rich and thick. There are still some less noticeable damage marks but you can see how superior this looks to the included 'Grindhouse version' that is unrestored (but offers the same technical transfer.) The Blu-ray treatment may seem inappropriate for this film but I, personally, love to see lesser-caliber work have their visuals brought to the 'max' and really showcasing the power of the format. Because of the richness of the presentation, I was very keen on my viewing.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Synapse use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1838 kbps and it retains the film's modest audio production qualities. It always sounds a little odd - over-dubbed - but that can be part of its lower-production charm. The score is by a Robert Smith Jr. + Russ Huddleston (both, their only IMDb credit) which includes the unusual but strangely appealing "Torgo's Theme' that tends to grow on you as you view. Flute, vocals... it can actually be downloaded as a ringtone now with the film cult status. There are optional English and Spanish subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
One again Synapse are prepared to support their release with some keen supplements. We get an audio commentary with Jackey Raye Neyman-Jones (Debbie in the film) and Tom Neyman ('Master') reminiscing about the production - very informative and garners some appreciation. There are three features - Hands: The Fate of MANOS runs 1/2 an hour and delves deeper into the film than you might have presumed possible (its very good!), Restoring the Hands of Fate is a scant 6.5 minutes on the process used to restore the 16mm film for the Blu-ray release and FELT: The Puppet Hands of Fate is only 4-minutes long. The notable extra is the unrestored, 1 hour 10-minute, 'Grindhouse Edition' of the film that was a great idea to include so you can see how much improved the restored version actually is. You can see it's in pretty rough shape comparatively but is given a similarly robust technical transfer as the 'restored'. The package also contains a DVD of the film (no Grindhouse version though).
October 5th, 2015
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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