Ahhhhh, Manos: The Hands of Fate. What a raging piece of crap of a film. It’s so damn bad it’s kind of good… In a “I hate myself so I’ll watch this horrible movie” kinda way.
For those of you not familiar with Manos, It’s a movie made in 1966 by a fertilizer salesman who made a bet with a Hollywood producer that he could make a movie. It’s horrible. I won’t bother you with the plot, check out the Wikipedia page if you’d like more info on the source material for Manos: The Hands of Felt.
The film was brought into popular culture by Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1993. If you’re not familiar with MST3K it was a cable show in the 90’s where a guy and 2 robots heckled really bad old films for laughs. Their version is hilarious and absolutely brilliant. It’s really the only way to watch Manos (and I have probably 10 – 15 times as research). Manos received cult status from MST3K, and holds a soft spot in many a bad movie lover’s heart.
Enter Manos: The Hands of Felt.
In April 2011, Puppet This performed the show written by Rachel Jackson , Directed by Bob Koerner and staring Sann Hall, Rachel Jackson, Michael Robles, Jenny Schmidt, Elizabeth Westerman & Yours Truly.
I got the plum part of playing and building the puppet for Torgo, the dirt covered, creepy, limping henchman of the film. Torgo is amazing, he even limps around to his own theme song. I’m convinced he saved the movie, the whole thing is weird, but Torgo is so strange he’s likeable. But poor Torgo was not long for this world, the actor that played him in the movie committed suicide one month before the film was released. Poor, poor Torgo…
But wait, there’s even more ridiculousness! About every 10 or 15 minutes in the film, for no apparent reason, the camera pans to two teenagers in a convertible making out and being harassed by a cop. For the teenagers I had the pleasure of building the double live hand puppet and performing the female half in the show. I based the make out couple on a famous puppet duo from my childhood, that I thought would be hilarious to see them make out.
Manos: The Hands of Felt was a total success, we sold out most of the run, and re-mounted it in the early fall of 2011 at Bumbershoot, Seatlle’s annual Music and Arts Festival. Manos was the first time I had been on stage since I was in kindergarten. It was scary and exhilarating and made me want to perform more and to become a better puppeteer. Both the show and I even got a nice positive review. I’ve been on stage ten or 15 times since then and continue to pursue chances to perform… I owe a lot of that to my buddy Torgo, and I will always be grateful to him
If you’re lucky enough to live in Seattle (or willing to travel here) we will be re-mounting Manos: The Hands of Felt in late August of 2013. Deatails in April or May of 2013. I’ll be building 3 or 4 new puppets for the show and will post them on the blog when they’re done…
Thanks for stopping by, “Feel” you later