MST3K: Manos The Hands of Fate Restoration Project

I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but I do associate it with the old Turkey Day marathons that Mystery Science Theatre used to run, and I still enjoy MST3K episodes.

So I was very excited to read about this man who basically bought a pig-inna-poke box(es) of old public domain films from a former distributer, and discovered among the reels the working copy (16mm print) of Manos (or, going by its working title, Finggrs of Fate)

You can read about it here at this thread on Something Awful

which includes amazing photographs of how clean the original copy looks, unlike the copy of a copy of a 35mm print used for the show (‘Every frame looks like someone’s last known photograph!’ and ‘Joel, this is gonna be a snuff film, isn’t it :(’ )

Anyway, as a Mistie going all the way back to the original run of the show when it aired locally, and I lived in Minneapolis one year (and I still have all my Info Club bulletins!), I think it’s pretty neat! Enjoy.

OK, that is so cool. Yippee!

“Can Sassy eat this silverfish?”

Although the picture quality improvement is amazing a huge problem with this film is the soundtrack. As I recall from MST3K the entire thing is looped.

The original soundtrack was unusable so a few of the actors (maybe even only one male & one female) dubbed in all the dialogue. Alas, Torgo is not voiced by Torgo!

And as obscured by Joel & the 'Bots, Torgo is actually a goat-legged satyr.

Pepe is the dog in Manos; Sassy is one of the dogs from Mark Trail.

Oh, God, why do I know these things. :stuck_out_tongue:

I sifted through the SA article, and the guy restoring the film agrees the soundtrack is a mess; he’s looking at it as a silent film restoration project. It’s not made clear if he’d keep the soundtrack or, since the whole thing is looped, he’d redo the whole thing.

Shame, as the haunting Torgo theme really makes the piece.

The girl, now woman, who played the little girl is all on board for this; I read somewhere she was horrified as a kid to discover her voice had been dubbed over.

“Ahhh! The dog is sharp again, Mommy!!” :smiley:

Well, he’s using the audio of the original in some capacity:

The original post says the film was shot in 16mm on reversal film and that what he has is a workprint. So is this the actual film stock that ran through the camera when then the movie was shot?

I think “saving” is probably the wrong word here, but it’s very interesting and I admire the guy’s obvious love of film. But the MST3K version of Manos is pretty hard to watch and there’s no way I would watch even a restored movie on its own. I hope he’s able to complete the project, though.

The camera couldn’t record sound, or couldn’t record sound and video at the same time. And yes, the voices were all redubbed by a few people and that makes the movie sound as muddy and monotonous as it looks, as least in its current form. Re-recording the voices with experienced voice actors might also improve it, although I’m sure they won’t do that since it’s less authentic and the final product would still be pretty terrible.

It’s better than Castle of Fu Manchu.

And from what I remember, Monster A Go-Go looks even worse than Manos. It’s in black and white and very badly washed out.

This is for real.

Can Attack of the The Eye Creatures be far behind?

While we wait for the experiment to start, here’s my personal favorite of the “Stinky Shorts:”

OMG, a documentary on Manos:

I’m afraid I don’t know – I’m not a film expert, so some of the stuff is over my head. Thanks, tubadiva for that other link! I’m sure he explains it better than I can there.

Manos is admittedly a ‘difficult’ film to watch, but I have a bit of affection for it; the first time I saw the MST3K treatment I was ill with some awful flu and at that point where it was a real toss up if living or dying was the better option. I remember being sat there like a lump watching it until Tom Servo desperately decided to fill in a lot of dialogue (nattering on and on about his five year plan), and I ended up laughing myself practically into a seizure. So maybe one needs a high fever fully to appreciate the director’s vision!

Also, the riffs provides me with a quote I have adapted for my own use, more or less,‘Would someone in this film please demonstrate some basic competency!’

According to this page, yes.

A lot of the “Golden Age” porn was shot in the same way. All of the Mitchell Brothers films were. If you didn’t have anyone holding a boom mic, things went a lot quicker.

Sadly, Mr. B Natural joined the Great Band in the Sky earlier this year.

A fever isn’t NECESSARY, I suppose, but I can’t see how it hurts. :smiley:
I had a similar experience with the flu and "The Holy Grail. " I was miserable and looking for something to fill my time besides my awareness of how miserable I was. Switching channels, I tuned into the local PBS affiliate, and saw what looked like a historical drama. “Oh, King Arthur, I guess I’ll watch this. Look, that Black Knight won’t let him pass. Maybe there will be a sword fight.”

I once tried to introduce a friend to MST3K with “Manos”. We ended up turning it off and watching “Mitchell” instead. Manos is not for the unprepared.

I do agree – my partner (who lives in the UK) knew vaguely about the show, and was interested in it, but when he went to investigate, he said the only one he kept hearing about was Manos. He likes bad movies, and since so much of the writing about *Manos *touted it as the worst film ever, he thought it’d be fun.

I told him ‘Stop!’ and we went through more accessible stuff like Riding With Death, Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, whatsit with Beef McHardCheese, and a few others plus a lot of shorts** so that he could get a feel for it – then we screened Manos. He agreed: it’s not for beginners.

It’s been a couple years,* though, and I think he’s ready for Coleman Francis – coffee and light planes, who needs anything else?

*At the moment I only get to see him on my school breaks. There are so many others to screen this Christmas break! I love Teenager Strangler and High School Big Shot, but I think he might enjoy the crazy Russian films.

**Started with Mr B, of course, but he loves the Gumby short as well as the safety films, the one about shop class, and the one about phones (Design for Dreaming, I think it’s called.) He bakes his own bread, and has frequent mishaps with his own bready experiments, so I like to tell him, ‘You, my friend, have a specialty bread.’ (He also says that since he’s started to watch the show, suddenly a hell of a lot of the goofy things I say to him make more sense.)

Space Mutiny, which is great. That one and Overdrawn and Cave Dwellers are some of the very best. And no, I’d never show Manos to an MST3K newbie. They might think the show is boring. Even the MST3K version is tough because there’s so little to talk about at some junctures.