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The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection - The Essentials (Manos, the Hands of Fate / Santa Claus Conquers the Martians)
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By now almost everyone knows that "Manos" is one of the worst movies ever made, appropriately by fertilizer salesman (really) Harold P. Warren. (Is he perhaps a distant relative of "Batwoman" director Jerry Warren?) The film is a tale of a family caught in the snare of pure evil, symbolized largely by Torgo, a caretaker with big knees. ("Uh, that's not how you wear your Depends, Torgo.") Everything about this movie is the worst in class; those people who believe that Ed Wood is the worst director of all time have clearly never seen "Manos." As if "Manos" weren't enough, the same episode features an otherworldly short ("Hired, Part Two") featuring a man on a porch in a rocking chair swatting at flies, and demonstrating that it is possible to look demonically possessed with a handkerchief on your head. ("Ah! Flying elves are back!") This is truly a wonderful short. Also on the disc is a reel of outtakes ("poopie") which range from amusing to hilarious. For my money the best of the bunch is the attempted "Torgo's Pizza" sketch. ("Let me just get your complimentary crazy bread." "No!") I would guess that I have seen "Manos" probably thirty-plus times over the years, and it still endures as the pinnacle of MST3K as a concept.
The real treat in the set is "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians," an early Comedy Central episode, and one of the greatest of all time. The film stars nobody, but does mark the screen debut of Pia Zadora as Girmar ("Girl Martian," get it?) in what may be her most convincing role to date.Read more ›
But the real treat of this dual set is "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians". If you're tired of normal holiday fare such as "Home Alone", "A Christmas Story", and "It's a Wonderful Life" place this disk in the player and watch your kids' squeal with delight. "Santa Claus" is a bizarre tale about pathos and depression - among Martians! It seems the only way to cure the holiday blues on Mars is to stage a spectacular kidnapping of the Earthling Santa Claus. Four children (two from Earth and two from Mars) join forces with Dropo, a renegade Martian to rescue Santa, save Christmas on Earth, and bring holiday joy to the Children of Mars. The plot makes sense with the electric performance of a young Miss Pia Zadora. Ok, well maybe not.
Sounds interesting, yes? No? Well, it's a truly awful film, a definite jaw-dropping example of bad cinema. Fortunately, the MST3K treatment is hilarious. Joel and the 'Bots even give us the classic Christmas standard, "A Patrick Swayze Christmas".
I'm chucking my "Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" in favor of this twisted classic.
First up is the "so bad it's good" film: SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. At the time I'm writing these words, the Christmas season is well upon us and it becomes childishly simple to name literally dozens of great, classic Christmas movies. They're broadcast continuously on the airwaves starting from the end of Thanksgiving, so it's easy to forget that making your film a story about Christmas is not a guarantee of success. SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS is one of the goofiest movies ever made (and you only have to look at the title to figure out that one). The plot involves a kidnapping attempt on one Mr. Kringle (no, not the annoying dork from the Best Buy ads) by a group of -- you guessed it -- Martians.Read more ›
Anyway, Manos was far and away #1 in this poll, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was #2. That's likely why those two episodes were chosen for the set.
Actually, you guys should be VERY thankful...SCCTM just barely beat out Mitchell for the #2 spot, by a scant 6 votes. That, of course, would've resulted in this whole set being stuff that's already been released...so we're pretty lucky that at least something new came out of this.
As for the episodes themselves, what can I say? Both deserve their reputations as classics IMO.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A man, his mopey wife, and their whiny daughter are on their way to the Valley Inn for a little getaway. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein
Folks who gave this masterpiece a one star rating do not recognize a gem when they see one..This classic is so bad that it's good. very good. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Tamarya
I definitely prefer the two-movie format, as with the four-movie format always leaves me with one that I'm not really crazy about. Read morePublished 7 months ago by bookworm
Makes Plan Nine From Outer Space look like the Godfather.
Rhino and Shout Factory have cut the "Manos" cheese for three different DVD releases, of which the 2011 two-disc version from Shout is the clear winner, but this out-of-print... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Roochak
Saw this years ago and just watched it again...it is so bad, it is GREAT!Published 10 months ago by Patricia L. Hall