06 November 2006

MST3K (424)

424 - Manos: The Hands of Fate (w/ Hired! Part II) - Season four ends on a strong note. This is exactly the type of bad movie to pick for the show. Though it shares an incoherent script, extremely bad production values and terrible acting with Monster A-Go Go, it exchanges the string of pointless and boring scenes with much more interesting fare. Lady wrestling, a monster with giant knees, Freddie Mercury worshipping a demon named after a body part, search radiuses that extended mere inches, and beautiful shots of the Texas countryside are all bad movie gold in Manos.

The riffing was very funny. I always like it when Crow picks a character to imitate throughout the film. This time he picked Torgo and he employed a perfect copy of his stuttering voice to insert humor into Torgo's lines. There was also a bevy of flaws and nonsense for the guys to comment on, which adds to the fun. My one complaint would be that the riffing was a little sparser that I would have liked. Had it been denser, this episode would've easily equaled Pod People.

John Reynolds was a great actor. No, seriously. He was given Torgo, a stock Igor-type character, to play and he turned it into something memorable. Never has such a twitchy-awkward-leering creep graced the screen before or since. Sure, the whole satyr thing didn't come across very clearly. Blame it on Hal. If we'd gotten a shot of Torgo's goat feet -- which Reynolds actually made himself -- we might've got it. Reynolds' true brilliance shines during that scene in which he tries to hit on Margaret. Here, he distills every awkward interaction all of us geeks have ever had with members of the opposite sex. The stuttering, the shaking, the bad touches... it's all there. And, hey, the man was so good he got his own theme song, for Pete's sake.

Torgo is also my favorite MST3K character. In this episode, Mike shows up dressed as the satyr himself during the final host segment. It's impossible not to laugh has he shuffles in Torgo's patented walk, slowly delivering a pizza to the Mads as his theme song plays. After, Torgo trying to caress Frank's hair put me over the edge into full-blown guffaws. I think I have next year's Halloween costume already picked out.

"Every frame of this movie looks like someone's last known photograph." (8/10)

film d. Hal Warren (1966)
short p. Jamison Handy (1940)
mst d. Joel Hodgson (30 Jan 1993)