Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Quick Reviews: Manos Returns (2018)

 It isn't called 'morbid curiosity' if it always worked out perfectly.  

In this case, I couldn't resist the 'siren's call' of a Sequel that has been 51 years in the making forever.  This is... 

A quartet of people drive around looking for their AirBNB.  They are kind of annoying.

They are stopped for no reason by the Sheriff and his Deputy.  They repeat lines from the original.
Yep, it's that kind of Movie.
After more dicking around (including somewhat-META jokes about what Movie is the worst ever), they see a conspicuous sign.

In spite of it appearing out of nowhere, they decide to follow it.
The Darwin Awards are going to you, folks.
The quartet end up at the infamous Hotel and meet Torgo.

So I get that it has been 50 years, but what is the continuity here?

Torgo was dead at the end of Manos, Debbie and Mom are 'Brides of The Master' and Dad is the new Torgo.

So I get that 'Dad' (Harold P. Warren) died in 1985, but you recast Torgo and that Actor died in 1966!

As a bonus, Warren is NOT Credited for creating the Characters, even though he wrote Manos!  Oh well, enjoy his sweater as an in-joke.
In the time since the last Film, I guess he has new Brides (one of whom is the Director) in the 51 years since the last Film (and they got new clothes).

There's also a bunch of ghosts (I guess other people who went to the Lodge and died?) and more padding.

FYI the Film is 68 minutes long.
It is notable that the Film features a few Actors from the original, even if their importance is mixed.

Debbie is now the evil Caretaker, The Master is just a ghost (or something) and the Mom is still around, although not one of the Brides anymore.

If you want an explanation, I don't have it.
To be fair, they were in a rush- they only had 51 years to iron out the Plot.
Can our Final Girl make an alliance with...Torgo (?!?) to save herself and her friends?

Will this Film be worth the wait?
Why does Torgo look like Mandy Patinkin?

To find out the answer, watch the Film.  It's Free on Prime (which is a relative thing, admittedly).
A Film that I didn't expect much of- which is about what I got.  No offense to those involved, but I'm not sure what kind of Film they were trying to make.  The first half of the Film features cheeky references to the original, blatant reusing of dialog and characters 'riffing' for no good reason.  Why make one joke about how bad Valley Lodge is when you can make 3 of them?  Why not make fun of Torgo as he stands 3 feet away from you?  This part is just trying to be all 'we get it- Manos is a pretty terrible Film.'  Of course, you're still copying it, hoping that it will then be funny The Room-style.  Meh.  The second half of the Film then becomes a serious one involving the ghosts, never-interacting-with-anyone Master and the Wives.  So I get that fate played a big role in that 2nd part and I don't mean to make light of the man's death.  Just like how Val Kilmer- who, to be clear, is not dead- was used in The Snowman though, the way they try to cover up the obvious issues is not good.  Sadly, it feels like the kind of stuff that was done with John Carradine in later Films or how they used Stock Footage Tura Sultana in one of the Astro Zombies Films after she had died.  These are not good comparisons.  I get why you wanted to use him and I get wanting to have him be a part of this- not even getting into the family element- see below-, but I just think it wasn't handled great.  Given how time is nebulous, use him for flashbacks to explain the unexplained parts- why Debbie is in charge, where Dad is and how Torgo is still alive(ish)- better.  Oh well.  The Low Budget hurts the Film alot as the level of menace they try to create is undercut a bit by how 'meh' things look.  I don't want to be negative- they tried here.  The goal was to make a love letter to and better Film than Manos: The Hands of Fate.  They succeeded (almost too well) at the first part, but I hesitate to say that they did with the latter.  As bad as Manos is, it is still memorable.  This one...I mean, I guess we'll see in 49 years.

To close on a nicer note, RIP Tom Neyman.

If we're being 100% honest, the Film is not that good.  They try too hard at first to be self-referential and then don't know what to do when things start to actually matter.  Oh well.

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