The horror classic Manos: The Hands of Fate turns 50 this year. That’s right; the infamous so bad it’s good movie is now almost half a century old. To commemorate its big 5-0, there are not one, but two new Manos films currently in production. One of them is the sequel Manos Returns, which we reported on a few months back, and the other is an unrelated prequel called Manos: The Rise of Torgo.
As we’re all big Manos fans here at Dread Central, we naturally can’t wait to see both films. We even had the opportunity to speak with David Roy, the writer/director of The Rise of Torgo, to find out why he choose to expand the Manos universe.
DC: What makes the original Manos: The Hands of Fate such a huge part of our culture?
DR: Good question. I don’t know that I’m qualified to answer, but I’ll take a swing.
Hal Warren poured his heart and soul into his film. I think people respond to that. It’s true that without MST3K’s resurrection of Manos, it would have disappeared into the past, but that was in ’93 and the Manos wave continues to grow.
There’s an ethereal quality about Manos, something I feel when I watch the movie but struggle to describe. The film is such an interesting succession of awfulness that it manages to entertain regardless of its illogical storyline. It’s like that kid with a limp that is trying to finish the big race. No one takes him seriously, but everyone cheers him across the finish line.
Hal Warren did what he had to to get his film made. He was the singular point of vision, and he would have it no other way. I think we, the audience, see his accomplishment, awful or not, and know that we can accomplish something as well.
I just want to say that Manos was Hal’s first (and only) film. For a first attempt at a film, let alone a feature film, he really didn’t do too bad. If he had done some rewrites and taken a little more time in pre-production, this might have been a horror classic. In the end he got it shot, finished, and shown’ and that’s saying a lot.
DC: As some viewers may not be familiar with the story of Manos, can you explain who Torgo is, and how this relates to the story of the first film?
DR: Torgo is the outcast. He’s the kid no one wants in their group, but they let him tag along so he can guard the bikes when the rest of the kids go see a movie. If you’ve seen the original Manos: The Hands of Fate, then you must be at least part nerd, and if you are in any part a nerd, you know what it’s like to be Torgo at some point in your life.
In Hands of Fate, Torgo is the caretaker of “The Place.” He is a servant to the Master and his women, all of which serve Manos, the god of primal darkness. Not much is explained about what duties Torgo performs for them. I assume he feeds and cleans up after the Master’s doberman and does other caretaker stuff.
He was originally supposed to be a hunchback, but Warren felt that was overdone in Hollywood so he made the call to give Torgo big thighs. Torgo’s distinctive wobbly walk and his equally wobbly speech are unique to him and instantly identify the character. Since Hands of Fate is a slice of life movie, nothing is explained about how things came to be or where they came from or what they’re doing there. So I took it upon myself to make the prequel to Hands of Fate, Manos: The Rise of Torgo, and tell how Torgo came to be the caretaker.
DC: Is anyone from the original involved?
DR: Yes. Jackey Raye Neyman Jones plays Manos. Though not actually involved in the original, Bryan Jennings, the son of William Bryan Jennings, who played the Sheriff, voices the Sheriff in Rise of Torgo. Tom Neyman was approached, but he declined to participate.
DC: Stylistically, will this match the original film?
DR: Kind of. I tried to follow what I called “Hal’s rules.” No shots over 30 seconds, no audio, 1-3 takes, pay minimal attention to focus and framing, and fix it in post (which is killing me now). The characters are similar with clunky conversations and awkward dialogue.
Manos: The Rise of Torgo has grown into its own thing, like a sibling to the original, similar in so many ways yet different.
DC: I understand that you shot without recording audio?
DR: Correct. We’re doing a complete sound design front to back. All dialogue has been recorded separately and laid in. To my knowledge no sound from production will be used. Brian Hoff’s Art House Sound is doing the sound design, and I’m grateful for it. This is the only aspect of producing the movie that I’m not involved in.
DC: And you have well-known Marvel artist Bob Wiacek on board to handle the poster and DVD artwork?
DR: Yeah! How cool is that? He left a message on the Rise of Torgo Facebook page asking about the film! His profile read “Marvel Entertainment” so I checked him out and was floored. Not so much that it was the famous Bob Wiacek (which is still way cool) but by how much of my massive comic book collection he’s had a hand in creating. I’ve been looking at his art/inking for like 37 years, it’s crazy.
I decided to ask him for help with the artwork; I mean, why not? Worst he can do is say no. Instead he replied saying he’d love to do the artwork. Again, how cool is that? I’m going to have an original Wiacek Manos poster hanging on my wall!
We Need to Stop Our Alarming Obsession With Child Actors
On Sunday, January 21, Buzzfeed tweeted an article with the byline “Millie Bobby Brown just Insta-confirmed her relationship with Jacob Sartorius and I have butterflies”. Quite quickly, the tweet was met with a barrage of comments, ranging from mild tuts that it was in poor taste to extreme condemnations of pedophilia and sexualization of a minor (Brown is 13-years-old as of this post). I personally weighed in on the matter.
Earlier that day, CNN ran a video and story where actress/director/producer Natalie Portman opened up about her own experiences being a young girl in Hollywood. Portman’s breakout role was at 12-years-old in The Professional, a movie that celebrated her phenomenal acting abilities. Per CNN, she received her first fan letter a year later, after the film had come out. In it was a rape fantasy. Her local radio show began counting down the time until her 18th birthday, when she would be of legal age. Mind you, she was 13 when all of this was happening, the same age as Millie Bobby Brown.
The parallels between these two stories should immediately be understood and seen. The sexualization and fanatical obsession with children, much less celebrities, is a plague that can only cause damage and harm to those who are on the receiving end. It is time that we recognize that this practice needs to stop. It is time that we all held ourselves accountable.
A cursory search of Browns’ name on Buzzfeed will bring up at least 50 separate articles, on top of the one previously mentioned. These include what was said between “Stranger Things” co-star Finn Wolfhard and herself before their kiss in the second season. There’s a strange obsession with Brown’s instagram account and the conversations between her and other celebrities. There’s even one that states Brown looks like a young Natalie Portman. The irony here is undeniable and it seems very difficult to say that the site doesn’t have an obsession with the young actress.
Hollywood is under a great deal of pressure, rightfully so, from the #MeToo movement as well as Corey Feldman’s pursuit of revealing the truth about widespread pedophilia in that world (watch as he’s shut down by Barbara Walters). His claims have been echoed by Elijah Wood, although he himself states he did not suffer at the hands of any abusers.
Eliza Dushku’s alleged abuser Joel Kramer was recently let go from his agency twenty years after supposed events took place. When those who wonder why the actress didn’t come forward sooner, they overlook the fact that she went to authorities at that time. She details everything in an emotional post on her Facebook page.
The issue, however, does not just lie within those who create in Hollywood. It is exacerbated and pushed on by those who report on Hollywood’s actions and those that read it, lapping up the non-news proclamations with unabashed glee, not recognizing that they are feeding the same system that many are fighting against. Then, even more worrying, is that these “fans” feel entitled to these children, as though they are objects for their pleasure at any time, puppets that need to dance when beckoned.
Sophie Turner weighed in with her thoughts on the matter:
Damn… seeing fully grown adults wait outside the ‘Stranger Things’ kids’ hotels etc , and then abuse them when they don’t stop for them…
— Sophie Turner (@SophieT) November 6, 2017
Wolfhard himself has asked that the infatuation and near assault of him and his co-workers come to an end:
Hey everybody! I don't wanna ex-communicate anyone from this fandom, but if you are for real you will not harass my friends, or co-workers. Ya'll know who you are.
— Finn Wolfhard (@FinnSkata) November 8, 2017
And yet even on that particular tweet, Wolfhard’s fans responded with, “Ma babe trust no body“, “I love the right person bixo ♡“, “Love you finn“, and more. “Fans” are declaring their love for a 14-year-old boy that they’ve never met, a person that they’ve only really seen playing someone other than himself.
A culture has been established and reinforced that celebrities are somehow open for our sycophantic obsessions. This needs to stop. We need only to remember our own experiences as children so that we can apply them to these kids today. As Kevin Brown so wonderfully put it on Twitter:
hey everybody friendly reminder that millie bobby brown and jacob sartorius are children. remember your relationships in middle school, now imagine if that was broadcasted to the world…
— kevin brown. (@ballinbrown_) January 20, 2018
DVD and Blu-ray Releases: January 23, 2018
After a few weeks of smaller lists, this week should be a welcome breath of fresh air, with 12 pretty solid releases. There are mainly recent films this week, but there are a couple of classics thrown in the mix as well.
Probably our top release of the week, Jigsaw will be hitting shelves on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD. I found myself wondering recently if they will still be making films from this franchise when my son (who is a toddler now) is able to get into R-rated movies.
Up next is The Killing Of A Sacred Deer. If you didn’t get your fill of Christmas last year, you can check out this clip for one last holiday hoorah.
In terms of classics, Dario Argento’s Opera will be heading our way as a Blu-ray release from Scorpion Releasing. Additionally, you can check out Robert Englund in 1992’s Dance Macabre, brought to us as part of the Scream Factory collection. Lastly, if you’re a Linda Blair fan, 1987’s Grotesque will be available on DVD this week as well.
I also have to give a nod to Let Sleeping Corpses Lie. I’m not going to say it’s the best zombie movie ever created, but a few years back I happened upon a used DVD copy at a cool book store/café in New Haven, CT. I didn’t go into it expecting anything miraculous, but for a very dated living dead movie it was worth the three dollars it cost me.
Keep checking back each week. We’re going to be seeing an uptick in the quantity of release listings over the next month at least so you won’t want to miss a thing. Pleasant viewing.
Dance Macabre (1992)
A dance instructor brings his dance troupe to Russia for training. What his dancers don’t know, however, is that he has a dual personality–and his hidden personality is a serial killer.
Devil’s Well, The (2017)
Bryan Manley Davis, Chris Viemeister, David Alexander, Kristen Seavey, Anne-Marie Mueschke
Karla Marks mysteriously vanishes while conducting a paranormal investigation with her husband into the Devil’s Well, an underground location reported to be a gateway straight into hell, and the site of ongoing strange phenomenon. A year after her disappearance, a group of investigators go back to uncover the truth about Karla, and are faced with evil forces greater than they ever imagined.
Linda Blair, Tab Hunter, Donna Wilkes
A gang of crazed punks breaks into a typical American family’s vacation home in the mountains and slaughters the entire family, except for one daughter who gets away in nothing but her pajamas. As the gang pursues the girl through the outside elements, they slowly realize that a murderous creature is chasing them all!
Hot Tub Party Massacre (2016)
The sisters of the Delta Omega sorority won a free weekend at a luxurious hotel & spa. They planned on having a fun and steamy weekend. However, things go from steamy to bloody when an escaped serial killer checks in to the hotel and crashes their party. The heat will be on at the Hot Tub Party Massacre!!!
Jigsaw (2017) (Blu-ray + 4K)
Hannah Anderson, Laura Vandervoort, Mandela Van Peebles, Tobin Bell, Brittany Allen
Bodies continue to turn up when the notorious Jigsaw killer returns for the eighth installment of one of the most successful horror franchises in history!
In the latest terrifying installment of the legendary SAW series, law enforcement finds itself chasing the ghost of a man dead for over a decade, embroiled in a diabolical new game that’s only just begun. Has John Kramer, the infamous Jigsaw Killer, returned from the dead to commit a series of murders and remind the world to be grateful for the gift of life? Or is this a trap set by a different killer with designs of their own?
Killing of a Sacred Deer, The (2017)
Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Alicia Silverstone
Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)
Cristina Galbo, Ray Lovelock, Arthur Kennedy
A young couple in love is travelling along the English countryside. While they plan their next stop, a man who has been dead for several days attacks, to be followed shortly thereafter by a full-scale zombie invasion which could very well be a result of the agriculturist’s distribution of ultrasonic radiation. In the end, a cop figures out the countless murders are not the work of the young couple, but the living dead.
Lost Tree, The (2017)
Thomas Ian Nicholas, Michael Madsen, Lacey Chabert, Scott Grimes, Clare Kramer
The Lost Tree is centered around Noah (Nicholas), who is guilt-ridden for the death of his wife. He travels to an isolated cabin in search of peace and isolation. But he soon learns of the dangerous surroundings of the area.
Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson, Urbano Barberini, William McNamara, Antonella Vitale
When young opera singer Betty takes over the leading role in an avant-garde presentation of Verdi’s Macbeth, she triggers the madness of a crazed fan who repeatedly forces her to watch the brutal murders of her friends. Will her recurring childhood nightmare hold the key to the identity of this psychopath, or does an even more horrific evil lay waiting in the wings? Legendary horror maestro Dario Argento delivers a savagely stunning thriller featuring some of the most shocking sequences of his entire career.
Planet Dead (2017)
Charles Adames, Joe Debartolo, Raven Oscar Flores, Larry Greene, Emilie Jolie
The world falls into chaos after a rogue scientist unleashes a virus that turns the living and the dead into flesh eating monsters. A Special Forces Team is sent into a growing danger zone to recover the cure from the scientist, but as they enter the hot zone they must seek refuge in a nearby nightclub with a few civilians as they wait for the rescue chopper to arrive. Armed with limited ammo they must battle the ever growing number of once human monsters. Mankind will pay for the nastiness of it’s inhabitance.
Punk Fu Zombie (2017)
Stephane Messier, Xavier Dumontier, Tommy Gaudet, Caroline Danserau-Loiselle, Jonathan Simon
In 2028 a zombie invasion, coupled with a thermonuclear war, plunges the world into a new darkness. Now, in 2048, the so called leader of the original movement has a new nemesis: his son Zack. Trained in kung-fu since his childhood by his robot friend, nothing could prepare the young Zack for the political adventure waiting for him, filled with trials, love, politics and ultra-violence.
Red Krokodil (2012) (Director’s Cut)
Brock Madson, Valerio Cassa, Viktor Karam
Red Krokodil is the story of a man (Brock Madon) addicted to mind numbing drug, Krokodil. He suddenly finds himself alone in a post-nuclear city similar to Chernobyl. His physical decay, caused by the massive intake of drugs, is mirrored in his inner world, as reality mixes with hallucinations. The breakup of the body that this drug causes, is sever in it’s graphic and yet, slow destruction while he is slowly falling into madness as his addictions to the drug, runs out of control. This movie deals with many themes, from the environment to the use of drugs, but the story is just an excuse that director Domiziano Cristopharo uses to focus on a psychological condition that brings a total detachment from oneself and from the surrounding world. A dark trip that shows no way out.
Rapid Eye Movement Trailer Forces You To Stay Awake
I would really love to go on vacation to New York City, so I’m damn jealous of the cast and crew of the upcoming movie Rapid Eye Movement, which was filmed almost exclusively in Times Square. In the film, a radio DJ is forced to stay awake for over eleven days after being threatened by a deranged caller, which begins to have serious effects on both his physical and mental well-being.
Rapid Eye Movement is directed by Peter Bishai and stars Francois Arnaud, Reiko Aylesworth, Chloe Brooks, Godfrey, Jamie Jackson, David Rhodes, Stelio Savante and Danny Ramirez. We don’t yet know of a release date, although we are happy to share the trailer along with two stills below.
Rapid Eye Movement Official Synopsis
In the heart of Times Square, radio DJ Rick Weider is driven to the edge of insanity as he tries to break the 11-day world record for staying awake. The stakes rise considerably when a deranged caller, who wants Rick to raise $5 million for charity, threatens to kill him unless he succeeds. With his life on the line, Rick unravels physically, emotionally and mentally, forced to confront his own demons while trying to outplay his seemingly powerful and unbeatable enemy.
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