A family gets lost on the road and stumbles upon a hidden, underground, devil-worshiping cult led by the fearsome Master and his servant Torgo.A family gets lost on the road and stumbles upon a hidden, underground, devil-worshiping cult led by the fearsome Master and his servant Torgo.A family gets lost on the road and stumbles upon a hidden, underground, devil-worshiping cult led by the fearsome Master and his servant Torgo.
There really is no sense in beating this poor film into the ground any more than it already has been. What I find sort of amusing is that after a third or fourth viewing (yes, I admit it, I'm a masochist), is that it's sort of grown on me a bit. Like a fungus!
Manos is about a small family of yankees who get lost in the southwestern US and end up in a place from which nobody can leave, in an Inn overseen by a twitching human-goat hybrid named Torgo (who steals the show) and owned by the enigmatic "Master" - a worshipper of Manos who collects wives through trapping them at his inn. I guess you can figure the rest of the film out pretty easily. This ends up being a horror film with virtually no horror, an action film with the most poorly shot action sequences I've ever seen, and an artsy jazz vehicle with such poor acoustic sound quality that it would have been much better with just the groovy soundtrack and no dialog.
The biggest problem with Manos is what we call "Production values". To cut to the chase, there are none.
There is too much wrong with this film to list it all out, so instead I will list what's right with it. The acting is not entirely awful - but the sound, editing, pacing and camera work are so bad that the actors all look totally ridiculous at all times. The script is not the worst I've seen, but it is lost in the jerks and irks of the pace (dramamine recommended), and finally, the plot is no worse than some of the recent Hollywood horror catastrophes I have seen, but it to is swept up in the maelstrom of maleficence emanating from the director's chair.
The result would make a great object example for a film production class in "what not to do". Most people will find this film tedious, idiotic, and unwatchable. The average person, I think will turn it off after the first 5 minutes of countryside pans during the opening driving scenes.
Some would argue that my rating of 2 is too high. I won't argue that point but I will explain that I reserve "1" for those truly aggravating films which do more harm then good, serve no purpose, and do nothing to expand the boundaries of contemporary film-makers' and cinema-goers imaginations. Most of these are commercial Hollywood romantic and sex comedies and horror films. Manos, at least, occupies an important place in film-making history, and should really be seen by would-be film-makers and participants. At least it didn't cost much to make, and at least it does no real long lasting harm. Can't say the same for, for example, "American Pie". For these reasons, I reserve the rating "1" for such truly harmful films. The distinction is best made through an analogy. If you buy a refrigerator for $3000, and it breaks down immediately upon the expiration of the warranty, that refrigerator has done you some harm. If you buy one for $300, and it does the same, you should count yourself lucky.
- Apr 21, 2005