Friday, April 20, 2007
THE BRAINIAC VS. MANOS, THE HANDS OF FATE
If you have an hour or so to kill and feel like going insane, I highly recommend The Brainiac, a 1961 Mexican horror film about a warlock from the Middle Ages who is burned at the stake but comes back to life hundreds of years later as a brain-eating fiend to wreak vengeance on the ancestors of those who condemned him. Seriously, you've never seen anything like it. You have no idea.
Posted by torgosdrivein. This cat's from Iceland and he posts full-length trash films with vintage cartoons, drive-in ads, trailers and etcetera, so you'll hafta wade through ten minutes worth of extras before the main feature. Check out his MySpace page for even more films ... including the equally-astounding Manos, the Hands of Fate.
MANOS, The Hands Of Fate 1966
So how good is Manos? Do you need me to tell you? Well, Manos, the Hands of Fate was the sole production of Hal P. Warren, an El Paso fertilizer salesman who wrote, directed, and starred in this peculiar low-budget horror story. A stuttering, staggering sort of film, Manos stupefies the viewer with an odd, timeless pace thanks to innumerable continuity gaps and awkward editing. While a painfully amateur production all the way, the damaged technical aspects are matched with an illogical and confusing story that lends a sort of dreamlike frisson that only sublimely wretched films can provide. What might have been just one more curiosity in the junk room of cinema history is given life by John Reynolds, whose performance as the bizarre caretaker "Torgo" is so eccentric that he's worth recommending on his own. Reynolds twitches, sways, and fidgets so incessantly that his movements appear choreographed, like an extended pantomime piece. His enormous knees and clumsy gait are never explained, but his glassy eyes, paranoid demeanor, and overall itchiness make him stand out amongst an otherwise indifferent cast. This addled obscurity actually earned a few play dates back in the day but was generally met with derision by audiences, and misfortune followed in its wake (including Reynolds' suicide). After sitting on the shelf for decades, it was resuscitated by the snarky comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000, which roasted Manos, the Hands of Fate in a popular episode. As a result, video and DVD copies have kept this charming little epic in circulation far greater than the rural Texas drive-ins for which it was meant. Seek out the original, non-ironic version first for an utterly unique cinematic experience.