Wednesday, September 19, 2012

RiffTrax Live - Manos: The Hands of Fate

RiffTrax Live - Manos: The Hands of Fate
I'm a big fan of the TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000. Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, three of the main riffers from that show, now do RiffTrax. RiffTrax is basically the same sort of riffing style from MST3K, but the material is a mix of new films along with the older low budget movies. While RiffTrax are usually bought and downloaded online, the guys also do RiffTrax Live in which they perform live and have the event simulcast across the nation. I've enjoyed MST3K since I was a kid and love the recent RiffTrax stuff, so when I heard Mike, "Servo," and the second Crow T. Robot were going to riff Manos: The Hands of Fate live and in theaters I couldn't resist!

It is common for movie theaters to play trivia before a film starts. This was parodying by RiffTrax Live with humorous trivia and jokes. Once we got started there was a brief introduction of our heroes who performed live from a theater in Nashville, Tennessee. The guys then told us that we would be getting a couple of shorts before the movie! There was a short seven minute film from the late 70s titled Welcome Back, Norman and another short from the 70s about kids making toys of out cylinders, both of which were great riffing material. Besides the two shorts we were also greeted with a prune juice commercial!
The main attraction was Manos: The Hands of Fate, a film that languished in obscurity until it was re-discovered by the MST3K crew. I've seen the Manos episode of MST3K more times than I thought humanly possible and practically know the jokes by heart. Mike, Kevin, and Bill brought their A-game to RiffTrax Live and scripted all new riffs to put on a show completely different than the classic MST3K version. The MST3K episode featured two different riffers: Trace Beaulieu as Crow and Joel. The MST3K version of Manos originally aired in 1993, so the RiffTrax Live version allowed for some updated references for 2012 to stuff like Twilight, Toddlers & Tiaras, and Michael Vick.
Obviously there were no silhouettes this time but instead we actually got to see the guys riffing which was pretty cool. The movie would cut back and forth from a full screen of the movie to a split screen showing the guys alongside Manos.
Mike, Kevin, and Bill still have it and are perhaps even better than ever! This was a fantastic experience and I would highly recommend it especially to any MST3K/RiffTrax fan or bad movie lover. The next movie the guys are doing for RiffTrax Live is Birdemic this October.

Just in case you were wondering my thoughts on Manos: The Hands of Fate, it is a truly terrible film created by people (mainly writer/director/producer/actor Harold P. Warren) who had no idea how to actually make a movie. But is it the worst movie ever made? I'd actually say no. It has a bizarre charm that enables it stand out and even though it can be boring at times, I have seen films that are even more boring (Red Zone Cuba, Creeping Terror, Snowbeast). Torgo is a memorable character, and there are plenty of movies that don't have one of those. Maybe I have just seen it too many times, but Manos does has a strange charm since that as bad as it is, I can't hate it. Right now my pick for "worst movie ever" would be Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, which I discovered thanks to the RiffTrax. The worst Hollywood movie I've ever seen would probably be Cool as Ice, which I reviewed on this blog, or perhaps Mac and Me.
RiffTrax Live Manos: 11/10
Manos: 2/10

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