Mystery Science Theater 3000: Manos/Hands Of Fate

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Manos/Hands Of Fate (1993)
Cast: Joel Hodgson, Tom Servo, Crow
Extras: “Poopie” Outtake Reel

Despite the fact that new episodes are no longer being made, ’Mystery Science Theater 3000’ is still one of the most influential and clever television shows ever. The true beauty of the show lies in its simplicity. We’ve all talked back to the screen during a movie, especially if it’s a bad movie. Here, Joel Hodgson, and his two robot buddies Crow and Tom Servo are forced to watch bad movies by the evil Dr. Forrester, and the guys have a blast yelling insults at the screen. (Of course, fans know that Joel was replaced with Mike Nelson for the later episodes of the show.) When Joel and the robots are watching a crappy flick, they amuse themselves by creating bizarre inventions and performing skits, spoofing the featured film.

The DVD release of the ’Manos: Hands of Fate’ episode of ’Mystery Science Theater 3000’ offers a glimpse of the program at its finest. ’Manos’ is a mind-numbingly bad movie, which doesn’t really need anyone to point out its flaws. But, the jokes which the gang make about this film are so bizarre and creative, it only adds to the fun. In ’Manos’ a vacationing family gets lost in the desert and finds themselves at a strange motel (which is simply a two-room building), which appears to be an entrance to hell… or something. A weird man named Torgo, who has enormous thighs, greets them, and the film constantly focuses on a portrait, which Torgo refers to as ’The Master’. From there, things just get stranger, as women in nightgowns wrestle for no apparent reason and Torgo makes a pass at the vacationing wife. This all adds up to a film, which Joel classifies as: ’Every frame of this movie looks like someone’s last known photograph.’ I found myself laughing uncontrollably at times during ’Manos’ (especially when they talk like Torgo) and the proceedings never get dull. The skits in which Joel dresses as ’The Master’ are very funny as well.

This ’Mystery Science Theater 3000’ DVD from Rhino Home Video closely resembles a TV broadcast of the show. The sections featuring Joel and the robots on the ’Satellite of Love’, which were shot on video, are very sharp and clear, showing no defects. The print of ’Manos’ used for the spoofing section is old and riddled with defects, but that has nothing at all to do with the quality of this DVD. Being a TV show, the images here are presented full-frame. The Dolby Surround audio provides nice rear channel effects during the intermission breaks, but during ’Manos’, most all of the dialogue is focused on the rear speaker.

This DVD contains a bonus feature, ’Poopie!’. This 30-minute gag reel shows many outtakes and goofs from the set of ’MST3K’. Yes, most of them involve Tom Servo’s head falling off, but let’s face it, that’s funny. This extra makes the ’Manos’ DVD a must for ’Mystery Science Theater 3000’ fans.