Therefore, color me unsurprised that Shout! Factory has pulled out all the stops to showcase the stellar ep in a two-disc special edition. How special? Like, even if you already own the MST3K: Manos disc special. But true MSTies know that already.
According to IMDb, movies dont get much worse than Manos, the 1966 horror flick funded (apologies to the words horror and funded) by Texas fertilizer salesman Hal Warren, who wrote, directed and acted in the film. (He never did any of those things again, proving a higher power indeed exists.) If you havent seen it, you absolutely have to, but only with the MST gang to help you through the pain of the worlds dumbest family and the mind-burrowing theme of Torgo, cinemas unlikeliest evil sidekick. They do the job so well, youll want to and will watch it again and again. Its the funniest hour and a half Ive ever seen on television, and thats no exaggeration.
This set is so Manos-rific that it also includes the unriffed version, if you feel so inclined and Godspeed if you do. But do delve into the many other bonus features with outright abandon. Perhaps most notably, some of the Satellite of Love survivors (the ones who now comprise Cinematic Titanic) discuss how they happened upon Manos and lived to tell about it, in an interview segment titled Group Therapy. Joel Hodgson says the episode was "a slog" to write, and one they would've turned down, had it come to their attention in the first two seasons. Trace Beaulieu puts the film in perspective this way: You've gotta aim high ... to fail so big.
Also included are the MST Hour wraparound segments, in which Mike Nelson as Jack Perkins describes Torgo as a curious, goatlike hospitality worker, and the 2004 half-hour documentary Hotel Torgo, depicting the filmmakers search for anyone from the Manos cast and crew still alive. Its unspectacular, but Ive always wanted to see it, so there.
In the aforementioned Group Therapy, Joel credits part of the success of their Manos episode to the second part of the instructional short that preceded the feature, "Hired!" Appropriately enough, you can find both parts reassembled here, as well as a tongue-in-cheek doc on ephemeral films guru and Hired! producer Jam Handy; created by and starring Larry Blamire (of The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra fame), its awfully fun.
With such a slew of features, even The Master would approve. Rod Lott