Shot in 1965 and released in 1966 MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE has earned its place among on the list of movies so bad you have to see them. Inept in just about every way possible it was pretty much the TROLL 2 of its time. Fifty years later writer/director David Roy set out to recreate the madness with MANOS: THE RISE OF TORGO. Not an easy task considering most deliberate attempts at “so bad it’s good” films are just plain bad. How did he do?
Filmed in the same post-dubbed style as the original, MANOS: THE RISE OF TORGO tells the tale of how it all came to be. The Master (Danny McCarty) is chosen to be the agent of Manos (Jackey Neyman Jones MANOS: THE HAND OF FATE, PRIMAL RAGE). With the help of his harem of wives he recruits the massive, Mama (Elizabeth Redpath DOLL FACTORY, PICKAXE) dominated Torgo (Matt Rogers). There’s even a post-credits trailer for MANOS: THE REVENGE OF TORGO featuring comic artist Bob Wiacek.
Obviously, a sincere attempt to continue the Manos story and not a cynical, ironic cash in, MANOS: THE RISE OF TORGO does an excellent job of recreating the feel of the original. There is a newscaster is played by the son of the original’s director and the dubbed voice of the sheriff is provided by the son of the first film’s sheriff. Of course, casting Debbie from the original as Manos was a move of pure genius.
Apart from the nostalgia, there are some wonderfully offbeat touches such as the young Torgo played by a boy with an obviously fake beard. Or the two old ladies who do everything in sync. MANOS: THE RISE OF TORGO really does capture the spirit of the original. And for those that find that a good thing, this will be just what they were hoping for. I know I’m hoping MANOS: THE REVENGE OF TORGO happens as well.
MANOS: THE RISE OF TORGO is playing scattered theatrical dates and there’s mention of DVDs on the film’s Facebook page. Check there for further updates on release dates and showings.