Friday, July 17, 2015

MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE coming to Blu-ray in October

MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE is coming to Blu-ray later this year, further proof that God is real (and that he really, really hates us).

Synapse Films shared the the cover art on Facebook yesterday for the upcoming restoration of the 1966 camp favorite. Targeted for an October release, the HD edition features cover art by Joel Robinson. The disc's extras are expected to be announced sometime next week. UPDATE: Here are dic's specs:

• New 2K restoration
• Audio commentary featuring Tom “The Master” Neyman and Jackey Raye “Debbie” Neyman-Jones
• HANDS: THE FATE OF “MANOS” featurette
• MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE: “Grindhouse Unrestored Version” (BLU-RAY ONLY BONUS)

Release date: Oct. 13, 2015

MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE entered the public consciousness thanks to MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, which skewered the previously forgotten film back in 1993. It was the worst kind of revelation, a movie so grotesquely incompetent that it almost defies description. It's also one of the most beloved episodes of MST3K ever, and some of that television show's cult status gradually rubbed off on MANOS.

The production of the film is probably more interesting than its actual plot. MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE is the work of quadruple threat Harold P. Warren, who wrote, directed, produced and stars in the film. To give you an idea of how incompetent this movie is, Warren shot is using a 16 mm Bell & Howell camera capable of capturing only 32 seconds of film at the time. It's a lurching, unwatchable mess that's also irresistible to fans of "disasterpiece cinema." I happen to be one of those people and look forward to seeing what Synapse delivers.

In 2011, an original 16 mm workprint of the film was discovered by Ben Solovey, a Florida State film school grad, who quickly launched a Kickstarter campaign to restore the film in HD. He managed to raise $48,000 for the project ... almost five times the amount of the campaign's goal.

According to the distributor's Facebook page, Synapse is "fast-tracking" MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE for an October release, and promises that crowdfunding backers will receive copies sometime ahead of the street date.

Over at Solovey's official MANOS IN HD website, though, the tone is a little less uncertain about that release date. While it's mentioned that the disc will include audio commentary and a pair of documentaries, there's also a reminder that the production process for this kind of project is more involved that it might appear. "The retail release of the disc is determined not only by the length of this quality control process, but by when the company’s resources will best support the mass duplication and distribution of the final product," someone (presumably Solovey) explains at MANOS IN HD.

At the moment, the most fun (and painless) way to watch MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE is the "live" Rifftrax version from 2013. Not coincidentally, the Rifftrax crew is made up of actors and writers from MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, who are still atoning for the sin of releasing this movie back into the wild.

It's currently streaming on Hulu and you can watch it below. If this is your first time with MANOS, you can thank me for the introduction in the comments section.

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