Pop culture is so strange. Things catch on and end up in places that couldn’t have been foreseen at the time of creation or release. Think of Ed Wood’s career, gleefully cherished by film buffs, then turned into an object of derision in movies like It Came From Hollywood but THEN transformed into an occasion for authentic poignancy by Tim Burton.
Or consider MANOS: The Hands of Fate, a schlocky occult/horror movie from 1966 that hardly made any waves when it came out (it failed to recoup its $19,000 budget).
It was directed by Harold P. Warren, an insurance and fertilizer salesman from El Paso, Texas. He starred in it as well. It played only at the Capri Theater in El Paso and a few drive-ins in West Texas and New Mexico.
In the movie, a vacationing family loses their way on a road trip and ends up trapped at a lodge in which a polygamous pagan cult has taken up residence. It’s worth reading Wikipedia’s account of the movie’s demerits: “The film is infamous for its technical deficiencies, especially its significant editing and continuity flaws; its soundtrack and visuals not being synchronized; tedious pacing; abysmal acting; and several scenes that are seemingly inexplicable or disconnected from the overall plot, such as a couple making out in a car or The Master’s wives breaking out in catfights.”
In 1993 Mystery Science Theater 3000 ran an episode about MANOS, and it’s become one of their most popular episodes: On this vote taken on a MST3K message board, the episode in which the gang riffs on MANOS clocked in as the second-best MST3K episode of all time, behind only the deliriously funny Space Mutiny episode.
In 2012 FreakZone Games released a Nintendo-ish adaptation of the game—it’s in the familiar Mario Bros. style and uses set pieces from the movie. It’s not every schlocky horror movie that gets transformed into a video game FIFTY years later, but if you get lucky, even weird things like that can happen. This year saw the release of MANOS: The Hands of Fate—Director’s Cut, an improved version of the game with cut screens—you can buy it here.
Here’s some gameplay from the 2012 version:
The full movie of MANOS: The Hands of Fate:
And the MST3K treatment of MANOS:
via Kill Screen