Manos Returns (2018)
July 11, 2020 7:44 AM - Subscribe

A sequel to 1966's Manos: The Hands of Fate. Streaming on Amazon Prime, Manos Returns features several cast members from the first film, which was made famous (largely by its appearance on Mystery Science Theater 3000) as arguably the worst film ever made.

Apparently the first Manos-derived film to be completed, Manos Returns was funded by a Kickstarter begun by Jackey Neyman-Jones (Debbie). It was shot in western Oregon. Its planned release date, the 50-year anniversary of the original's release, was delayed due to the death of Tom Neyman (The Master) in November 2016. (Wikipedia)

Manos Returns world premiere trailer

"Falls City residents work to bring Manos back: Child star Jackey Raye Neyman Jones works to tell the story of her character, Debbie, and family 50 years later" - Polk County (OR) Itemizer-Observer, Feb 3, 2016

"Worst movie ever, take two! 'Manos' star raising funds for comedic sequel" -, Feb 22, 2016

"50 years after cult film debuted, 'Manos Returns'" - Corvallis (OR) Gazette-Times, Oct 25, 2018
"I'm out there in the world," [Neyman-Jones] said. "I'm getting the fandom and I'm enjoying it."

The growing popularity of "Manos" gave her an opening to reach out to her father [Tom Neyman], from whom she had been estranged for many years: "He could get a little bit of that 'Manos' love," she said.
"Manos Returns" isn't a comedy, and it's not meant as parody, although it has moments of (intentional) humor. It's meant, first and foremost, as a horror flick.
Manos Returns official site
Audio interview with Jackey Neyman-Jones and Manos Returns director Tonjia Atomic
Wikipedia's "List of films considered the worst"
Jackey Neyman-Jones' blog

A separate prequel project, Manos: The Rise of Torgo (also starring Neyman-Jones) was released/unleashed the same month as Manos Returns, and is also apparently on Amazon Prime. (Trailer 1 - Trailer 2)

Neyman-Jones is apparently working on a webseries entitled Manos: The Debbie Chronicles (trailer).

MST3K Season 4 Episode 24: Manos: The Hands of Fate (YouTube)

Previously on MeFi:
Tom Neyman obit thread (Nov 2016)
MST3K's Manos episode on FanFare (Apr 2016)
The battle over the rights to the original film (Sep 2015)
Manos: The Hands of Fate: The Stage Play (Feb 2014)
Rifftrax revisits Manos (Aug 2012)
Discussion of the rediscovered Hands of Fate workprint (Nov 2011)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (3 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
(Spoilers in this comment. If you got this far, you may want to experience Manos Returns for yourself before continuing!)

I think your Manos homage lives and dies by your casting of Torgo, and therein lies this film's biggest error. The guy they got is not NEARLY twitchy enough and, just as problematically, he's too good of an actor!

I like a lot of what they were thinking here—giving Torgo a redemption arc, the cool final scene, and even trying to (and here I may be reading into it a little too much) retroactively give the first film some depth through their sequel: this film is about escaping abusive relationships in the same way that, to be generous, the first one was about becoming shackled to relationships (I'm chiefly thinking here of how the dad and the mom are characterized). Of course, the first one was REALLY about women in robes fighting, and I was thankful not to see that particular variety of prurience on display here. It helps a lot that this sequel isn't a chronicle of Hal Warren's hangups.

Don't expect a lot of direct mockery of the original; in this way, they applied a light hand, perhaps because they had so many returning cast members. I wish they'd used as light a hand on the lines of dialogue they repeated from the first one.

I found the vague resolution of the protagonist's arc to be a little disappointing, but all told, her characterization was better than like 75% of cheap horror protagonists'. She was probably the strongest performer here too.

While it's by no means the worst film ever made, and not even the worst film MST3K ever did, Manos 1 had to be the worst film MST had done up until that point.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:48 AM on July 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

The film is recently streaming on Amazon Prime as of this writing. Spoilers, I guess:

This really rides the line between being a send-up of the original, a tribute to it, and committing to the premise seriously and extending upon the logic of the first film. There's a bit of genuine pathos in the mother character and I found the appearance of The Master just weird enough to cause a pang of disturbance.

It's certainly got more going for it than I was expecting. Given that it's been more than 50 years I didn't recognize all of the returning cast but it's cool that they are there.
posted by StarkRoads at 9:54 AM on July 11, 2020

I had totally forgotten about the stage play. Thanks for the reminder, CheesesOfBrazil. The Torgo flirts scene is gold.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 10:26 AM on July 14, 2020

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