One of our readers randomly mentioned on our Facebook feed a movie that intrigued us here at Three Nerds and a Movie quite a bit. The movie is called Manos: The Hands Of Fate, and our reader states that she believes that this film is the worst movie ever made.
Now, we try to keep things positive here and don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about movies that we didn’t like, but we had to admit being intrigued. “Worst movie ever made” is quite a distinction.
A little research was in order. . . Written and directed by Harold P. Warren, Manos: The Hands of Fate was released in 1966. The movie itself stars Tom Neyman and John Reynolds as “The Master” and “Torgo”, respectively, and concerns an underground devil-worshiping cult that is accidentally stumbled-upon by a family lost while traveling. This appears to be the only movie that Harold P. Warren was ever involved in.
Consensus would agree that if this is not the worst movie ever made, then it is up there pretty close near the top. IMDB users rate the movie at a measly 1.9 out of 10. The Rotten Tomatoes aggregate critics’ score rates the movie at a 7%. This does, indeed, sound awful. But is it really “this isn’t even worth watching” awful, or is it one of those “awful movies” that is still pretty fun to watch? A lot of horror movies, especially in the 1960’s, fall into this latter category.
It should be noted, before we proceed, that Manos: The Hands Of Fate, despite its apparent awfulness, has achieved enough of a cult status to be made into a platform video game for iOS platforms, including Android phones. Here’s a screenshot:
Can it really be that bad if they honored it with a video game adaptation? As we said, we’re kind of intrigued by this movie and may have to draw straws soon to see which one of us is “lucky enough” to get to watch this movie and give it a full review!
Okay. Bonus content this week from our team Q and A: Aaron answers a question from Greg. Karen and Greg answer an overly-complicated question from Aaron.
Aaron first. Greg’s original question: Since you’re such a huge reader, I’d suppose you dip your pen in ink once and again. If I’m wrong, this is a short answer to my question. But if I am right, what types of things do you write about? Ever tackle a screenplay?
“I told a teacher in third grade that when I grew up, I wanted to be ‘an author.’ Not a writer. An author (I was a mildly-pretentious little shit even then). I still have notebooks filled with the short stories I used to write in study halls. When I went to college, I knew that I wanted to do something related to writing. Or literature. Or English. There was never any doubt in anyone’s mind about that.
In creative-writing classes my freshman year of college, I discovered that I had a considerable knack for writing dialogue (more so than I did for long descriptions of what the trees looked like in autumn when the thunderstorms struck). Naturally, I gravitated to the theatre program, with an emphasis on playwrighting.
Skip a few years in there (I’m kind of embarrassed about some of the choices I made), but in 2001, I managed to secure a grant from a young playwright’s foundation. This required a lot of traveling (to workshop the plays I wrote in college theatre programs across the country) and a guarantee that I would submit a brand new play for grant-renewal consideration every October. I was 25 years old when I started this gig, and I managed to maintain it until early 2005, when I was offered a job as a script consultant for a major television network. The job required little writing (mostly editing other people’s scripts and whatnot) and I could do it from home via e-mail while I worked on stage plays. In 2006, I was offered the opportunity to create my own television series. I did. The situation went sourly south and I ‘retired from writing professionally’ in early 2007. So…from 2000 (when I started writing the play that would eventually secure the grant) until I retired, I worked solely as a writer, supplementing my income (a young writer needs comic books and beer after all) with part-time jobs when I needed them (including a stint as the manager of a single-screen arthouse movie theater, which may be the hardest job I have ever had in my life).
Typically, I write comedy. Usually kind of dark. I think my best works, though (such as the television series I created) are, at their heart, dramatic works, but the audience is laughing too hard to realize it.
Yes. I have attempted screenplays. I finished one in 1997 (a hitman comedy called Disarmed), but I lost the computer I typed it on in a divorce. I have a full screenplay adaptation of the novel Smoke (by John Ed Bradley) that I wrote for a class in college and have never done anything with because I cannot afford to purchase the rights to the original novel. I have seven episodes of a second television series I created, a project that got abandoned for reasons too complicated to get into.
Presently, I am too unfocused to finish full screenplays. But I have some ideas stored on my laptop that have been floating around for years. Short scenes. Snippets. Treatments. Things I’ve tinkered with over the last ten years. You and Karen have inspired me to start writing again. So, we’ll see. We’ll let time tell if I ever jump back on that horse again.
That horse bucked me off. And it hurt.”
Before we get to Greg and Karen’s question, it should be explained that the intention of the original question was to get Greg and Karen to namecheck a few movies in one example. More movies, more discussion, right? But Greg pointed out that this actually means that they had to answer eight questions instead of five. Aaron would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to them for making them do more work.
The original question, divided into four distinct parts:
Pick a movie for each of the following (and, briefly, explain): A) a movie that you really like that everyone else seems to dislike
Greg: Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2!!! Really, folks, I didn’t pick two. . . together, they make one movie. Also, it took a ridiculously small amount of time to come up with that answer. Those SNL guys each did some fun things on their own, but for my money, they were always at their best when they were together. I don’t really care how juvenile the humor (I own every single episode and movie and half-movie of the Jackass series, people…I’m not kidding), or how bad the acting, or how hard Kevin James tried to emulate Chris Farley in a role that was clearly meant for Matt Foley himself. Love both of ‘em and would watch ‘em anytime you wanna throw ‘em in the DVD player.
Karen: Jupiter Ascending. I love the Wachowskis. They’re great at world building and they paint with a sci-fi palette. Jupiter Ascending offers really pretty sci-fi with Eddie Redmayne in the creepiest role of his career, Mila Kunis with her biggest eyes on screen, and Channing Tatum as a dog-human with an accent. What’s not to enjoy?
B) a movie that everyone else seems to like that you didn’t particularly care for
Greg: Guardians of the Galaxy. I hate it. And since I prefer to write about things that make me and (hopefully) others happy, I will end the discussion here.
Karen: Get Out. I appreciated the talent, the message, the writing, and Jordan Peele blowing the lid off a genre. The movie just fell flat for me.
C) a movie that you love because you can completely relate to the protagonist
Greg: This is a good question. I recently re-watched Chef with Jon Favreau. I really enjoy that film. SO much so that I actually kinda wish I’d have included it in the Top 100. In fact, I’ve just given myself an idea to maybe write an ‘Honorable Mentions’ list someday. But anyway, Chef is a total feel-good-like-Ferris–Bueller’s–Day–Off-makes-you-feel-good type of movie. There really isn’t a bad vibe about this one at all, even when things aren’t going so well for our protagonist. Favreau finds a way to draw inspiration from dream-crushing heartache using well-written and uber-realistic dialogue, an excellent soundtrack, and food…my God, the food!
How do I relate? I’ve no grand vision of becoming a chef, though I think that would be fun to try and tackle someday. Instead, I like the idear of chasing down that dream of doing exactly what it is that makes you happy. I found that in my career, which makes me one lucky SOB. Now I get to write again as well (not that anything or anyone other than myself was stopping me from doing so). Also, Chef illustrated how important it is to have that strong support network by delivering his audience a shiny platter of well-prepared characters with an equal propensity to spread cheer and hope to our down-and-out dream chaser. Anyway, Chef. Loved it. Can relate to it. Makes me feel good.
Karen: Ten Things I Hate About You. “What is it, Asshole Day?”
and D) a movie that you watched once, really liked, but haven’t been compelled to watch again.
Greg: I suppose the best answer here would be a flick that, once the twist ending has been revealed, it kinda takes the fun out of seeing it again, right? Trouble is, even with those types of movies (The Usual Suspects comes to mind), you still wanna go back and check ‘er out once more at least to pick up on all the shit you missed the first go-‘round. Plus, in my case, I like to use obscure movie quotes to dazzle and impress the ladies (it doesn’t work, by the way) and I don’t learn those quotes by watching movies just once. And so. . . I figure the answer to this question is something a bit more vague, like TV-movie miniseries, for instance. Like, I can remember seeing The Stand once or twice in the early 90’s, but I don’t go running for it. I also remember really enjoying Pierce Brosnan in TV’s Around the World in 80 Days, but have seen it only the once. I don’t know, I guess I don’t have the best answer for this question. Most of the things I watch I give at least a second day in court before throwing them to the curb.
Karen: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Ultimately one of the most moving stories on screen, expertly acted and directed. But I can’t put myself through that again. If you’ve seen it, you understand what I mean.
Wow. We might have set a record this week for the number of movies we can mention in one entry, so we’re going to sign off for today. But we’ve left you with plenty to discuss: Have you seen Manos: The Hands of Fate? Is it really as bad as we think it is? What should Aaron write a screenplay about? Did Greg really make you want to sit down and finally watch Chef? Is Karen right about Jupiter Ascending?
Drop us a line in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
And be sure to check back in on Friday, when the 3 Nerds will spend some time discussing the first movies that they ever remember seeing!
Karen, Aaron, and Greg