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Top Ten TV Characters: Part 1 by Jamie
Top 10 Television Characters
Yes it’s time once again to delve into the world of cinema’s little brother, the greatest tool of communication know to mankind, until their youngest brother the internet was born, television. TV, as the kids call it, has been there for our species for some time now. It’s helped us to view man walking on the moon, the fall of the Berlin wall and an endless stream of outrageous acts carried out by morons on thousands upon thousands of reality TV shows.
TV has also delivered some of the greatest characters from fiction in modern times. The very nature of television means that we can become incredibly attached to those heroes and villains that inhabit  the flickering box, more so than movie characters simply because we spend so much time and, in some cases, so much of our lives with them.
Now for a rule that I decided to impose on myself. I’ve decided that I’m only allowed to choose one character from each series. If I didn’t then this list would probably be made up by far few shows than I should and that would be stupid. Also no animated characters. They’ll get their own list. So with that out of the way, let’s get onto the list.
10: Mike Nelson – Mystery Science Theater 3000
Mystery Science Theater 3000 is still a very little know show in the UK which I think is a damn shame. Too often in this country we accuse the Americans of having no sense of wit, that their comedies are often boorish and low brow, though the tide has definitely been changing. Still this could all have been avoided if we’d only had MST3K since it’s beginning. The story is a classic one: A working class guy gets blasted into space on the Satellite of Love as part of an experiment by an evil genius to force him to watch bad movies. He builds a few robot companions in order to stave off space insanity and help him endure the cinematic shit fest that he is forced to watch.
The role of the human aboard the Satellite of Love was originally played by Joel Hodgson who managed to escape about halfway through the shows run. His place was taken by Mike Nelson, a hapless temp who the evil Dr. Forrester and his assistant TV’s Frank decide to send to the satellite as a replacement.
Now, my choice of Mike as my favourite character may be controversial among some long time MST3K fans but there seems to be a general consensus that your favourite host is generally the first one that you see and we in the UK only got the shows after Joel’s departure. Now I’ve seen many Joel episodes since thanks to the DVDs but Mike was my first host and will always be my favourite.
There’s something undeniably likeable about Mike. He’s a likeable, if sometimes dim-witted and naive fellow, without the technical expertise of Joel. There’s no doubt that he certainly wouldn’t have been able to build the ‘bots had he been the first one sent up. He’s just more of a regular Joe who suddenly finds himself in this ridiculous situation and he just tries to go along with it. And that’s great.
9: Dave Lister – Red Dwarf
From one working class schmuck stuck in space to another. Curry and lager loving Liverpudlian Dave Lister finds himself as the universes sole surviving human being after a radiation leak on the mining ship Red Dwarf causes him to be kept in stasis for 3 million years. His companions are a hologram of his former bunkmate, the insufferable Arnold Judas Rimmer, an evolved cat known simply as The Cat, a mildly senile super computer named Holly and, eventually, a neurotic service droid by the name of Kryten. (And eventually Kristine Kochanski as well but for the purpose of this piece I’m gonna kinda overlook those episodes.)
Lister is interesting as a character mainly because he’s lazy, slobby and a bit of a dick but in general eminently likeable. You can’t help but feel sorry for him because he finds himself in a universe where all of his best friends are dead, the love of his life is dead and the only company he has are a cast of misfits who all have as deeply flawed personalities as himself. Despite this Lister tries to make the best of a bad situation, possibly the worst situation one can find themselves in, and he seems to remain cheerful and optimistic even when things look there worse. And I can’t finish this section without mentioning that Lister was part of one of the funniest conversations ever committed to film:
8: Victor Meldrew – One Foot In The Grave
Victor Meldrew was the voice of anyone who ever got annoyed at anything. The grumpiest man in Britain, Victor’s annoyance at the smallest of inconveniences only seemed to worsen the situation to such a degree that it would often spiral off into the superbly surreal which would, of course, merely make Victor angrier and angrier much to the chagrin of his long suffering wife Margaret.
Victor’s lot in life wasn’t helped by the people who surrounded him such as Margaret’s friend, the mildly insane Jean Warboys and the insufferably cheerful neighbour Nick Swainey. And so it was that Victor Meldrew could have been just another nasty, old bitter git.
But he wasn’t. What made Victor a truly great character was that people could emphasise with him. He generally tried to do the right thing only to have the situation rapidly decline on him. He genuinely cared for his wife Margaret and would seem quite upset whenever she lost her temper with him. In fact I think it says something about the two characters that Victor would always become frustrated with the situation but rarely his wife whereas Margaret would often become frustrated with her husband when she couldn’t take anymore of his complaining. And I think people did feel sorry for Victor whenever Margaret got pissed off with him. After all, it wasn’t his fault that he was that way, it just seemed as though the world transpired against him. Besides it’s not many TV characters that had flowers left for them at the location of the scene where they were killed. That certainly says something about the impact Victor had on the British public.
7:

Yes it’s time once again to delve into the world of cinema’s little brother, the greatest tool of communication known to mankind, until their youngest brother the internet was born, television. TV, as the kids call it, has been there for our species for some time now. It’s helped us to view man walking on the moon, the fall of the Berlin wall and an endless stream of outrageous acts carried out by morons on thousands upon thousands of reality TV shows.

TV has also delivered some of the greatest characters from fiction in modern times. The very nature of television means that we can become incredibly attached to those heroes and villains that inhabit  the flickering box, more so than movie characters simply because we spend so much time and, in some cases, so much of our lives with them.

Now for a rule that I decided to impose on myself. I’ve decided that I’m only allowed to choose one character from each series. If I didn’t then this list would probably be made up by far few shows than I should and that would be stupid. Also no animated characters. They’ll get their own list. So with that out of the way, let’s get onto the list.

10: Mike Nelson – Mystery Science Theater 3000

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is still a very little know show in the UK which I think is a damn shame. Too often in this country we accuse the Americans of having no sense of wit, that their comedies are often boorish and low brow, though the tide has definitely been changing. Still this could all have been avoided if we’d only had MST3K since it’s beginning. The story is a classic one: A working class guy gets blasted into space on the Satellite of Love as part of an experiment by an evil genius to force him to watch bad movies. He builds a few robot companions in order to stave off space insanity and help him endure the cinematic shit fest that he is forced to watch.

The role of the human aboard the Satellite of Love was originally played by Joel Hodgson who managed to escape about halfway through the shows run. His place was taken by Mike Nelson, a hapless temp who the evil Dr. Forrester and his assistant TV’s Frank decide to send to the satellite as a replacement.

Now, my choice of Mike as my favourite character may be controversial among some long time MST3K fans but there seems to be a general consensus that your favourite host is generally the first one that you see and we in the UK only got the shows after Joel’s departure. Now I’ve seen many Joel episodes since thanks to the DVDs but Mike was my first host and will always be my favourite.

There’s something undeniably likeable about Mike. He’s a likeable, if sometimes dim-witted and naive fellow, without the technical expertise of Joel. There’s no doubt that he certainly wouldn’t have been able to build the ‘bots had he been the first one sent up. He’s just more of a regular Joe who suddenly finds himself in this ridiculous situation and he just tries to go along with it. And that’s great.

9: Dave Lister – Red Dwarf

From one working class schmuck stuck in space to another. Curry and lager loving Liverpudlian Dave Lister finds himself as the universes sole surviving human being after a radiation leak on the mining ship Red Dwarf causes him to be kept in stasis for 3 million years. His companions are a hologram of his former bunkmate, the insufferable Arnold Judas Rimmer, an evolved cat known simply as The Cat, a mildly senile super computer named Holly and, eventually, a neurotic service droid by the name of Kryten. (And eventually Kristine Kochanski as well but for the purpose of this piece I’m gonna kinda overlook those episodes.)

Lister is interesting as a character mainly because he’s lazy, slobby and a bit of a dick but in general eminently likeable. You can’t help but feel sorry for him because he finds himself in a universe where all of his best friends are dead, the love of his life is dead and the only company he has are a cast of misfits who all have as deeply flawed personalities as himself. Despite this Lister tries to make the best of a bad situation, possibly the worst situation one can find themselves in, and he seems to remain cheerful and optimistic even when things look there worse. And I can’t finish this section without mentioning that Lister was part of one of the funniest conversations ever committed to film:

8: Victor Meldrew – One Foot In The Grave

Victor Meldrew was the voice of anyone who ever got annoyed at anything. The grumpiest man in Britain, Victor’s annoyance at the smallest of inconveniences only seemed to worsen the situation to such a degree that it would often spiral off into the superbly surreal which would, of course, merely make Victor angrier and angrier much to the chagrin of his long suffering wife Margaret.

Victor’s lot in life wasn’t helped by the people who surrounded him such as Margaret’s friend, the mildly insane Jean Warboys and the insufferably cheerful neighbour Nick Swainey. And so it was that Victor Meldrew could have been just another nasty, old bitter git.

But he wasn’t. What made Victor a truly great character was that people could emphasise with him. He generally tried to do the right thing only to have the situation rapidly decline on him. He genuinely cared for his wife Margaret and would seem quite upset whenever she lost her temper with him. In fact I think it says something about the two characters that Victor would always become frustrated with the situation but rarely his wife whereas Margaret would often become frustrated with her husband when she couldn’t take anymore of his complaining. And I think people did feel sorry for Victor whenever Margaret got pissed off with him. After all, it wasn’t his fault that he was that way, it just seemed as though the world transpired against him. Besides it’s not many TV characters that had flowers left for them at the location of the scene where they were killed. That certainly says something about the impact Victor had on the British public.

7: Father Ted Crilly – Father Ted

On the remote wasteland known as Craggy Island there live three Catholic priests and a tea obsessed housemaid. The oldest priest is Father Jack Hackett, a foul mouthed, violent alcoholic who rarely leaves his fetid chair. The youngest priest is Father Dougal McGuire, a man-child who professes to having no belief in the afterlife and claims to believe in Darth Vader more than he does in God. The third is Father Ted Crilly. Ted is a man who’s plans for fame and fortune are ruined by those around him and ultimately by himself.

Ted came to live on Craggy Island as punishment for some event in the past, something about some charity money that was ‘just resting in his account.’ Ted’s ultimate goal is to leave Craggy Island the troglodytes who inhabit far behind him and set up a parish somewhere like Las Vegas or Los Angeles. This never comes to pass, however, in part due to the immense disdain his immediate superior, Bishop Brennan has for him. Also, much like Victor Meldrew, Ted’s problems often start as something small and mundane but as the episode progresses these things tend to spin out of control until it all comes to an crescendo, generally leaving Ted worse of than he was when the episode started.

Like many on this list, Ted is likeable despite having a seriously flawed personality. He’s greedy, cynical, pessimistic and sometimes takes just a little too much delight in getting back at others, particularly when he wins a Golden Cleric resulting in a speech which last for hours and is full of distain for all those who have ‘fecked him over’ in the past. Ted’s likeability is probably increased by the fact that in the strange and surreal world of Craggy Island, he’s probably the most normal person there is, making him something of a reality anchor for the viewers.

6: Bernard Black – Black Books

Bernard Black is the epitome of characters who we like despite massive personal failings. He’s an alcoholic, pessimistic, argumentative misanthrope who isn’t happy unless he’s drinking wine or insulting someone. For some reason he owns a book shop despite his apparent loathing of everything to do with owning a shop. The only thing Bernard really likes about his shop is his books and the fact that, as his own boss, he can drink whenever he wants.

He’s abusive towards his assistant Manny Bianco, who’s biggest crime seems to be having  a cheery outlook on life, something Bernard apparently abhors. There’s also the fact that Manny tries to help Bernard around the shop, once selling every book which infuriated Bernard as it meant he had to deal with the distributor and order more books. Despite this it is shown that on the occasions Manny left Bernard to his own devices, either by quitting or running away, Bernard was reduced to even more of a mess than normal, barely able to function on a human level. The only other person in Bernard’s life is his best (and possibly only) friend, Fran Katzenjammer. The two share a number of similar characteristics which aids them in getting along, namely smoking and drinking.

Like all of the great arsehole characters in television, Bernard has a softer side which occasionally shines through. He has shown that he shy and awkward around women, he develops a certain jealousy and possessiveness whenever Manny finds other friends to hang out with, he’s certainly intelligent, though he generally seems to do nothing with his intelligence, and obviously loves reading and he genuinely seems to be scared or confused by the outside world, choosing instead to hide from it in a drunken haze inside his shop. It is also revealed that his general outlook on life may have been caused by an incident involving an old fiancée.

Well that’s it for now. Come back for more tomorrow. Laterz.



Great Scenes From Shit Films, Part 6: Pumaman by Jamie

Ok, I promise, tomorrow will not be a movie featured in MST3K. In fact, it’ll be a super awesome Halloween special edition of Great Scenes from Bad Films! Awesome. But Mari Nickl reminded of Pumaman and I just had to include it. It was another great Mike era episode and this film really deserved the MST3K treatment. Allow me to elaborate.

The film opens with a paragraph regaling us with the Aztec legend of a God descending from the heavens, fucking an Aztecette and fathering the first Pumaman. Next we see a giant sphere approaching Stonehenge… I think. I’m not entirely sure because I just don’t see how Stonehenge could possibly fit in to Aztec legend. Anyway it’s probably not important. The aliens bequeath a mask to mankind, declaring that the Pumaman will look after it and that. This is followed by the credits in which the film’s big name, Donald Pleasence, has his name spelt wrong as Donald Pleasance. Well done movie.

We then meet a blonde lady archaeologist, intensely studying the aforementioned golden mask in modern times. Donald Pleasence enters, looking for all the world like a hideous, bald dominatrix, and basically asks her “How’s shit?” She turns around and answers “Shit’s good but don’t desecrate this mask otherwise the Pumaman will fuck you up.” Donald decides not to heed this careful warning and uses the mask to take control of blonde lady archaeologist’s mind. Oh Donald, you funky, cheeky monkey.

Anyway, I guess my first major question arises here. Why the fuck did the aliens leave a mask that gave people the ability to control the minds of other people? And I thought that the Pumaman dynasty was supposed to guard it always. Why was it not passed down the Puma family line?

The next scene shows a man being tossed out of a window, a newspaper revealing it’s the fourth American to be killed in London that week. It turns out that the person behind these slayings is the hero of our story, Vadhino (I must interject here and point out that I’m not saying he’s the hero because he is ridding London of Americans. Hmmm, shouldn’t have used the word ridding there, just makes things sound worse. My point is no one should be killed in London. Except for Luxembourgers. You know what you did Luxembourg!) and his next target is the film’s side-kick character, palaeontologist Tony Farms.

Tony ‘senses’ danger whilst being yelled at by his boss when Vadhino appears, steals a bone and Tony gives chase. Vadhino suddenly grabs him and chucks him out the window. Way to sense danger there Tony! When Tony survives, Vadhino tells him he’s the Pumaman and runs away.

Tony then meets blone archaeologist lady, Jane, and they ‘flirt.’ She invites him to a party laid out by her father. Alas! She’s still being mind controlled by Donald! Gasp! It turns out he’s controlling Jane’s father as well!

As Tony’s getting ready for the party, Vadhino shows up again and gives Tony the lame plastic belt that allows him to access the powers of the Pumaman! Which confuses me as it’s already made clear that Tony can survive falls and see in the dark. We’re also lead to believe he can sense danger but… Anyway, Vadhino explains that he knows Tony’s father which also raises the question as to why he didn’t look up where Tony Farms was, rather than going around tossing Americans out of windows. Guess it’s a hobby or something.

At the party, Donald turns up with a few henchmen and begins to stir up trouble when they attack Tony. Tony beats a few up or dances violently with them, it’s hard to figure out exactly which. Vadhino shows up, tosses Tony the belt allowing him to fly through the air… like a puma. The belt also gives him the lamest superhero costume since Robin decided little green underwear was a great look.

And so Tony flies. The effects are astounding. You’ll gasp in wonderment as Tony flies at all manner of angles, especially apparent when he drops a henchman, You’ll scratch your head in amazement Tony glides through the air with all the grace of an Aardvark tossed out of a helicopter. It truly is a thing of beauty.

So Tony tries to find out where the mask is by entering a trance and walking through a wall… like a puma. Or at least he tries but fails. Because if there is one thing that you will learn about Pumaman it’s that he’s the living embodiment of epic fail.
Jesus this is going on for a while. Ok, to cut a long story short. Donald has an evil plan, Pumaman tries to stop it, fails but thankfully Vadhino saves the day by not being Pumaman. At the end of the film Vadhino, Pumaman and Jane go to Stonehenge, which seems to be in an area which is certainly not where Stonehenge actually is. Vadhino claims that the the protection of the Gods has not failed since the day is saved though I must heartily disagree. The day was nearly lost because the stupid fuckers left the mind control mask on Earth in the first place… Twats. Anyway, Jane and Pumaman kiss and it seems apparent that the patter of tiny puma paws can’t be too far away. Eww.

Ok, sorry about that synopsis. I was watching the MST3K version, trying to ignore the riffs and focus on the film and I just completely lost track and the will to live, so I guess I have to add the same warning that I added to the previous two MST3K-inspired entries, do not watch without Mike and the Bots. Seriously. I think my left arm is tingling and I’m certain I feel chest pains.

What’s left to be said about this film? Well, as mentioned the special effects are awesome, though not just the flying effects. When Donald is taking over someone’s mind, the film wobbles, like water being sucked into the mouth of a goldfish’s mouth. That’s an odd analogy and that’s how this film has effected me. I’m also not sure whether Pumaman can phase through walls or just break through them. The special effects are that ambiguous!

One last thing of note is the music. Pumaman’s theme is a touching little number that will cause many to hold their hand over their heart and shed a tear for the Aztec Puma man-God who came to Earth to save us all from the mask left here by the Aztec Puma God for some reason.

One last thing, Vadhino would later appear in the second ever episode of the A-Team and get pummelled by Mr T. Good on him.

Well I’m exhausted. Couldn’t actually find any clips from a pure copy of the movie so here is a compilation clip from the MST3K version. I’m doing you all a favour, really.



Great Scenes from Shit Films, Part 5: Hobgoblins by Jamie

As with yesterdays entry into the hallowed halls of shit cinema fame, this entry came to my attention through the stellar work of the crew at Mystery Science Theater 3000. This film was in what is possibly my favourite of the Mike era episodes, in fact it would probably be my favourite of all episodes if not for Manos. Everything about this episode is great, the riffs, the host segments with classics like Crow’s ‘In Search Of…’ style programme about women to the cardboard cut-outs of the crew singing about Hobgoblins. One particular scene of note is the ‘interview’ with director Rick Sloane during the films end credits.

Still, this isn’t supposed to be about MST3K, it’s supposed to be about the movie itself. It’s about a number of small beasts from space who can make peoples fantasies come true with TERRIFYING consequences.

The film begins with an elderly security guard and his young helper doing a check of the old movie studios where they work. They go their separate ways and the younger of the two gentlemen opens a vault. Inside he suddenly finds himself on a stage where he begins… well I guess you’d kinda have to call it singing really. Suddenly he falls from the stage and dies. The older security guard, Mr McCreedy, discovers his body and shuts the vault door.

Our… well I guess you’d kinda have to call him hero really, Kevin takes the dead dude’s job so he can impress his frigid bitch of a girlfriend Amy because as every man knows, nothing impresses a woman more than taking a job which means you’d have to spend most of your nights away from them and most of your days sleeping. Good thinking Kevin.

After his first night he comes home and finds Amy hanging out with uber-slut Daphne and effeminate Kyle. Daphne is a classy kind a girl, wearing a condom in a packet around her neck and Kyle is a stylish fellow in his little red shorts. Amy is dressed like she doesn’t want to have sex with anything. Ever. Daphne’s boyfriend Nick, a soldier type, arrives later and challenges Kevin to a fight. The weapon of choice? Garden utensils! In what was rated as the most epic fight scene until Gladiator came along, Kevin and Nick duel it out for some time until Nick just manages to get the upper hand. Nick gets his reward by fucking Daphne in his van, whilst Amy takes the piss out of Kevin. In the background Nick’s van can be seen bouncing up and down with hilarious cartoon bouncing sound effects! Rick Sloane is a cinematic genius.

The next night Kevin chases a burglar into the vault that the dude had died in earlier unwittingly releasing the titular Hobgoblins! Oh Noes! WTF? I can has Cheeseburger?… Sorry, not sure what happened there. Anyway McCreedy provides the creatures back story and explains they can make people see what they most wish for though they do kinda accidentally kill them in the process. And so our mighty hero Kevin goes to stop the evil beings and save the friends that frankly no man deserves!

The Hobgoblins head straight for Kevin’s house, perhaps wanting to leave him a thank you note for freeing them after all this time or perhaps smelling Daphne’s rancid pheromones from miles away and they are just looking for an easy lay after such a long time in the vault. Either way they happen upon Kevin’s chums whilst they are…well I guess you’d kinda have to call it partying really. The hobgoblins manage to lure Daphne out of the house with an exact replica of Nick’s car horn. Having never met the man and having been locked in a movie vault, I can’t help but wonder how they know the sound of his horn or where and when they purchased such an item. Anyway, one of the hobgoblins tries to kill Daphne but she fights them off with a rake. Garden utensils would have made Lord of the Rings way more awesome.

Meanwhile, Kevin is calling a phone sex line, when he is told the woman he’s talking to is right outside. He takes her to the make-out spot of the city, with signs denoting where people should park depending on what kind of sexual activity they plan on engaging in. I’m sure the city council are very pleased with such a well organised make-out spot. The woman tries to push the car off of the make-out spot cliff with Nick still inside it until Kevin shows up and kills the hobgoblin generating the fantasy. The car still goes over the edge and the two characters are left standing there, watching the terrible fire which seems to have all the intensity of two torches being shone into the actor’s eyes.

Whilst this is going down, Amy heads to Club Scum to become a slutty, slutty stripper. (Point of interest: The man who plays Club Scum’s host would go on to voice Cosmo in the Fairly Odd Parents.) She demands to be degraded until Kevin and friends show up to kill the hobgoblins. The club is thrown into chaos and Nick begins to fantasize that he’s in combat. He manages to set himself on fire by jumping on a grenade… damn that’s stupid.

The surviving friends go to tell McCreedy that they’ve killed all the hobgoblins but Kevin is confronted by the burglar he chased before. A fight breaks out and Kevin wins, impressing Amy at last. Maybe now she will have sex with him. Good for them. But what’s this? The burglar has a gun! He’s going to shoot Kevin! Will he never get his end away? Thankfully McCreedy shoots the hobgoblin which is causing Kevin’s fantasy and the future conquest of Amy by Kevin seems assured. Kyle makes a move on Daphne who seems willing, probably because she’s a whore and not even little red shorts will put her off. Unfortunately for Kyle, Nick shows up covered in bandages. He and Daphne retire to the van which begins bouncing with those same cartoon sound effects and the future conquest of Kyle by Kyle’s hand seems assured.

The rest of the hobgoblins run into the vault and McCreedy blows up the studio, a plan the old man who spent his entire life guarding them for the sake of mankind must have really wished he’d thought up earlier. The End.

Well there you have it. Once more, as with yesterdays pick, I recommend you only watch this film with the appropriate MST3K riffs. Doing otherwise will release the hobgoblins. Oh an rest assure, the hobgoblins will ride again regardless with the soon to be released, direct-to-DVD sequel, Hobgoblins 2. Hooray!

So, what scene? Well there can only be one choice really. Enjoy.



Great Scenes from Shit Films, Part 4: Manos: The Hands of Fate by Jamie

Like most people out there who have seen Manos: The Hands of Fate (Translation: Hands: The Hands of Fate) I became aware of it through Mystery Science Theater 3000. The episode is held in high regard amongst the shows fans and rightly so. It is, after all, awesome. Some of my favourite riffs I heard in the shows history come from this episode, as do some of my favourite segments. Such a thing is only possible with the just the right film, and Manos is just such a film.

Every frame is such exquisite crap, that you just can’t help but laugh. From the inexplicable scenes involving two teenagers making out to Torgo’s chilling theme music, everything here is so ripe for a riffing that if MST3K hadn’t done an episode with it then there would have been a public outcry… except that no one would have heard of the movie.

The plot then if it can indeed be called such. A family made up of husband Mike, wife Margaret, daughter Debbie and dog Peppy are travelling somewhere for some reason. Meanwhile two teenagers make out in a car until a cop tells them to piss off. The family reach a house and are greeted by every one’s favourite satyr/housekeeper Torgo. He takes care of the place while the Master is away.
Mike asks Torgo is his family can spend the night at the house and, after a little hesitation, Torgo agrees.

Later that evening, Peppy runs outside the house and is later discovered as a corpse dog by Mike. Margaret wants to leave and Mike demands that Torgo put the luggage back in the car, which is a very rude way to treat someone who kindly let you stay in house even though he had reservations. What a bastard. It’s not Torgo’s fault they can’t control their fucking dog. Torgo does as he’s told before catching Margaret alone. He informs her that the Master wants her for a wife but he can’t have her because Torgo wants her for himself. He then ‘fondles’ her in a way that demonstrates just why Torgo is considered a ladies man without equal.

Meanwhile, the two teenagers continue making out until being told to move on by the police again.

Now Debbie runs outside of the house and, rather than being found as a girl corpse, her parents find her with a big evil looking dog. When asked where the dog was found, she leads them to a chamber which contains the Master and several women (his wives) dressed in white nighties in an apparent cryogenic stasis, though without the cryogenic part.. The family run back to the house and try to find Torgo.

Torgo, though, has gone to the chamber himself where he does a little more fondling, this time of the Master’s lovely ladies. That Torgo, what a lovable scamp! Torgo then knocks Mike out and ties him to a pole. Suddenly the Master and his wives awaken. They argue about the families fate, some wanting to kill ’em all, others wanting to keep the wife and daughter. The Master, however, has his own plans. He’s pissed at how Torgo always seems to get more pussy, even though the Master has well loads of wives. So he decides he’s going to sacrifice him to Manos! It should be pointed out at this point that the Master is wearing a fetching poncho with a hands motif. It’s lovely. He leaves the chamber and the wives carry on arguing about the fate of the family which devolves into a wrestling match in the sand. A long one. Like several minutes long. It’s really painful viewing at this point.

The Master finds Torgo and tells him he’s going to be well dead. Torgo tries to fight but the Master puts him in a trance or something. Meanwhile one of the wives finds Mike and kisses and slaps him while he’s unconscious but by this point of the film you will have given up hope that anything in life will ever make sense again. The Master brings Torgo to the tomb, puts him on a stone tablet whilst tying up one of the wives. The wives give Torgo a massage for some reason, the Master burns his hand and Torgo runs away, presumably to his death. He then kills the wife tied to the pole for good measure.

Mike wakes up and joins his family as they try to escape. Unfortunately they encounter a stock footage snake which impedes their progress. of course it’s not like they are in a wide expanse of desert affording the option of walking around said snake and giving it a very wide berth so Mike decides to fire at the snake. This gunfire catches the attention of the policemen who shooed the teens who were making out so they go to investigate. These are clearly crack crime fighters as there investigation involves moving away from their car, staring into the darkness before giving up and going away. To Protect and Serve!

The family, unable to make their way through a maze of stock footage wildlife, decide to return to the house. It just makes sense. The Master attacks, Mike fires at him and the screen fades to black.

The next scene shows two women who are travelling somewhere for some reason. They reach a house and are greeted by every one’s favourite human/housekeeper Mike. He takes care of the place while the Master is away. Next we see that Margaret and Debbie have joined the army of wives in stasis, which it pretty disgusting when you consider that Debbie is a little girl. Chris Hansen needs to take the Master’s ass down a peg or two.

The credits are followed by the scariest scene in the entire film when the words ‘The End?’ flash up. That question marked has plagued any and all who have seen this film.

So there you have it, the ‘plot’ of Manos. Now for a few fun facts:

1) The camera used to shoot the film could only shoot for thirty seconds at a time and everything was filmed without sound. The voices were dubbed in later!

2)The film had a budget of $19,000!

3)The driving sequences at the beginning of the film were supposed to have the opening credits over them, but the director forgot to include them!

4)John Reynolds, who played Torgo, sustained permanent damage to his kneecaps because of the apparatus on them. He was constantly on painkillers up until his suicide, due to the injury he had from this movie. It’s believed that his kneecaps were damaged due to the device being worn backwards… I’m sorry, that probably shouldn’t have been included in the ‘fun facts’. Let’s move on.

This movie is among the very worst ever made. Simple as that. Plan 9 from Outer Space is awful, Hobgoblins is an abortion but in my opinion this film tops them all. If you have to see this film, and you have to, make sure you watch it with Joel and the Bots from MST3K. Doing otherwise is hazardous to your health.

As for the scene I’ve picked from this treasure trove of awful, I’ve decided upon Torgo charming the pants off of Margaret with his suave fondling. Enjoy.




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