You may think that if I ever got the chance to make this movie, I wouldn’t take it all that seriously, intentionally making a shitty-beyond-belief movie with no regard for tradecraft or continuity, intentionally choosing horrendous actors and looping all their dialogue myself, and basically emulating the exact same style that made the original “Manos” infamous. You’d be expecting some kind of lame, 70-minute session of grab-ass in the desert with my friends dressed up in bedsheets.
I might be going for campy fun, sure, but my inspiration for this one is the same kind of gritty, ugly, uncomfortable violence that made sadistic gore horror movies of the 70s like I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on the Left classics. Oh, you might not like those movies, and even I’ll admit that they’re not very good, but they’re definitely memorable, violent, boundary-pushing movies. Those movies are stark, shocking stuff, man. They’ll move you. That’s my inspiration for “Manos” 2: I want to get those chuckling MST3K nostalgia junkies into a theater and give them a good, solid twist of the nuts with a well-made, brutal revenge flick.
Just bear with me.
I had a lot of questions after watching “Manos:” The Hands of Fate, most of them involving The Master (the guy in the black robe), his wives, and of course Torgo, the caretaker of the Valley Lodge. The movie never really gives us an idea of what The Master does to fill his day (except maybe sleep), and yet he’s supposed to be this massively evil mastermind who communes with some Satanic power in order to…what, rule some rat’s armpit town in New Mexico? I don’t know, and I doubt Harold P. Warren did, either. But I hate an incomplete puzzle, and I feel a compulsive need to fill in the blanks.
We don’t really need to get too complicated here: for years, The Master has been subtly collecting wives and brainwashing worshippers, amassing power, and memorizing a series of long, intricate incantations sent to him in dream visions. It’s a long, painstaking process, and he often spends months at a time physically comatose, spiritually wandering the hellish dreamscape that imprisons the hell-god Manos. There, he engages in psychic commune with the dark deity, struggling to comprehend the alien thoughts of a consciousness that has seen the passing of untold eons. He hopes to open a portal to this hell and bring Manos into the world. The Master’s preparations are nearing completion, the celestial alignment for the final dark ritual to open the portal is nearing, and once that’s open, the end of the world is assured.
The Master’s had a lot on his mind, and he’s been driven mad with his imminent ascension as the prophet of Manos. Not to mention he’s a cackling, sadistic, chauvanistic, abusive bastard who enjoys his eeeeevil work far too much. He forgot just one thing: Torgo. He’s been slapping him around for the better part of a decade, warping him mentally and physically with his magic into some satyric freak, rewarding him with only pain and emotional abuse. When Michael and his family arrived at the house, Torgo had real human contact for the first time. No spooky hell-hounds, no fiendish cabals or black masses under the thousand-faced moon, just people and their cute puppy. He missed that kind of contact. He began to realize that there was a world out there, and it was about damn time that the Master came through on his promises or he’d quit and seek his own fortune. Or at least a boss that doesn’t beat him with a staff.
The Master didn’t take Torgo’s ultimatum well. In fact, he blew the poor bastard’s hand off and thought the matter settled. Torgo scurried off into the desert, and given his grievous injury and the fact that there’s nothing but desert around for miles in all directions, the Master chalked him up for dead and brainwashed Michael into becoming the new caretaker.
But Torgo isn’t dead. Not by a long shot. He’s taken worse beatings in his life; after all, why do you think he walks so funny? But now he knows that the Master never intended to keep his word. He was laughing at Torgo from the beginning, always planning to wring him out like a mop and throw him away when he was of no more use. He’s had enough. Now he lurks in the shadows around the lodge, burned, broken, crippled, half-mad with pain and dehydration with only one thought on his mind:
That motherfucker is going to pay.
He knows he can’t take the Master directly. Even if he were in his prime– and he most certainly is not– the Master is for all intents and purposes completely immortal. He’s infused with the infernal magics of Manos and virtually immune to physical attacks. At first he thought that the Master might be vulnerable in his sleep, but now he knows that even his wives retain some form of awareness even in their deepest slumber. There’s no way he can kill a guy that powerful. But he doesn’t need to kill him, he just needs to bring the wrath of Manos down upon him, and what better way than to disrupt his ultimate summoning spell that only comes once every 666 years?
The Master can’t be everywhere at once, and all Torgo needs to do before he gets caught is cause enough damage to make the ritual impossible. He’s going to start with the Master’s wives, those snickering bitches. They’re awake now, preparing spell components and fetching materials for the Master. And luckily for Torgo, they tend to stay as far away from each other as possible because they can’t stand one another. They’re sitting ducks. They laughed at him behind his back when he did nothing but faithfully serve them. They used him, tormented him, mocked him, and now they’re going to suffer for it. He’s gonna fuck ‘em, and he’s gonna kill ‘em. At this point, he doesn’t even care if it’s in that order.
Oh no, the Master will not approve. But he’s not going to be able to do anything about it before it’s too late.