Kian Bergstrom reviews “Manos: Hands of Fate” playing at the Music Box for Cine-File

subtext-eyeThe sadness that washed over me the first time, many years ago, that I ever saw an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 remains a bitter ache that, like a cut inside your mouth, seems to reopen and refresh itself every time you notice it. Lovely, idiosyncratic, intensely felt, and deeply strange films were unearthed on that show, movies that in their inimitable misunderstandings of classic Hollywood idioms and troubled relationships with narrative were like mysterious blind alleys branching off the tedious main thoroughfares of cinema. Delirious, visionary, and transformative, movies like BRIDE OF THE MONSTER, THE INDUSTRUCTIBLE MAN, THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN, and NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST, movies that I treasure, movies that are among the greatest of their times, were made into mere setups for cruel mockery on the part of comedians whose interest in cinema was apparently limited to finding hilariously wanting anything that didn’t look like the anonymous productions of well-paid professionals. In January, 1993, Mystery Science Theater 3000 aired one of its most notorious episodes when the cast set up to piss all over a largely-forgotten horror film from 1966, made by a cast and crew who were almost all complete amateurs and produced by an insurance salesman merely so as to win a bet. It was MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE, directed, produced, written by, and starring Harold P. Warren.


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