the press release

Independent U.S. distributors Synapse Films have announced that they will release on Blu-ray Harold P. Warren’s Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966), starring Tom Neyman, John Reynolds, and Diane Adelson. Sourced from a brand new 2K restoration, the release will be available for purchase on October 13.

Mike (Harold P. Warren) and Maggie (Diane Mahree), on a road trip with their daughter and family dog, take a wrong turn in Texas and become trapped at a weird lodge inhabited by a polygamous pagan cult. They soon find themselves in the middle of a power struggle between caretaker Torgo (John Reynolds), cult leader The Master (Tom Neyman), and two warring factions of the Master’s wives. As the family tries to escape, the worshipers of “Manos” decide their fate…

MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE, the sole directorial effort of Texas fertilizer salesman Harold P. Warren, perplexed even the most jaded Drive-In audiences and was deemed by many “the worst movie ever made”. Nearly lost, the original 16mm Ektachrome film elements have been finally unearthed and lovingly restored by Ben Solovey to create the definitive version of this accidental masterpiece. There’s no other movie like MANOS… now in HD with picture and sound unseen since 1966.

Cover art by Joel Robinson

SPECIAL FEATURES: • All-new 2K restoration • Audio commentary featuring Tom “The Master” Neyman and Jackey Raye “Debbie” Neyman-Jones • HANDS: THE FATE OF “MANOS” Featurette • RESTORING THE HANDS OF FATE Featurette • FELT: THE PUPPET HANDS OF FATE Featurette • MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE – “Grindhouse Unrestored Version” (BLU-RAY ONLY BONUS)

NOT RATED / 1966 / 74 MINS. / COLOR / 2.0 MONO / 1.33:1/ REGION FREE BLU PRICE: $24.95/ DVD PRICE: $19.95

The Backer Discs

As planned, I’ll be receiving backer discs after they are manufactured, but before they arrive in stores. Your Blu-ray or DVD will be shipped immediately after I get them. The exact ETA will depend on your location.

I’m still taking updates from backers concerning changed addresses, and will continue to do so until the discs arrive for shipment. It’s important to note that Kickstarter has no method to change your survey results, so you’ll need to use the messaging system to contact me directly with address updates.

True to their word, the Synapse discs will be region free, capable of being enjoyed anywhere in the world.

The “Grindhouse Edition”, a Blu-ray exclusive extra, comes from an unrestored 2K transfer directly from my 16mm theatrical print, the same one used for the Rifftrax Live Show (they color corrected it on their own, so don’t expect the exact same image). Unlike the restored version, the Grindhouse edition will be released under a creative commons attribution license, free to use and remix as you see fit. DVD-only backers won’t necessarily be without the Grindhouse edition for long, though… more on that soon.

Uncut: Diane Mahree

 

This is the one interview that I wasn’t sure I’d get to do. The mysterious Diane Adelson (“Mahree” is her middle name, which she elected to act under) went on to a long modeling career in Europe after playing (but not voicing) Margaret. Today, she values her privacy and only occasionally uses the internet. Living comfortably in Colorado and dealing in antiques, she has only more recently made herself known, traveling to Nashville for the Rifftrax Live Show and reconnecting with the friends and family of the cast. Once again, we owe Jackey Neyman Jones a debt for her invaluable, and tactful, help in introducing us to Diane.

Not only did Diane sit down with us in her home for an on-camera interview over the course of a day, she proved herself to be a witty and fascinating individual. Her interview paints a picture of a precocious young woman possessing a surplus of integrity, who approached Manos as she did everything else: with a sense of adventure, a committed attitude, and a healthy amount of humor.

Despite the fact that Diane did not want to make a career out of acting, and even though her role is very, very underwritten, her game approach to some of the most bizarre material in Manos never fails to leave a strong impression. I’m glad we’ll be telling her story.

The Film-Out

Scan-130619-0001

Above are a few frames from the first 35mm film-out test, straight from the lab. This five-minute selection of scenes serve the purpose of testing out our color density, grain and sound levels for accuracy before the final output. So far I’ve checked it through a loupe and have found it very helpful, but in a few days I’ll be seeing how it holds up on the big screen.

Here is the width of these five minutes of film:

filmtest

It’s easy to forget, with the way digital currently dominates our landscape, that any movie ever made or shown on film has a very real weight and substance to it. Holding it you are immediately struck by the feel, the texture, and even the faint scent from the chemistry that made it possible to do this.

If you wonder whether it’s excessive to do a film-out for Manos, consider for a moment the alternative. Currently, there is no guaranteed solution for long-term storage of digital assets, only various systems of copying and recopying precious data. On the other hand, polyester-based film stocks can keep an image stable for over a century. Though you’d be hard pressed to see film projected in the multiplex today, major studios still rely on it for the shelf-stable storage of their product.

The work that we’ve accomplished here- for what is by all accounts a very neglected film- is something to be proud of. Preserving not only the movie, but the work we’ve done on it, necessitates a film out. And if you’re a backer of this project, your name in the restoration credits will also be there for as long as Manos continues to survive.

Though a 2K DCP of Manos has already been made to enable easy projection in today’s digital cinemas, and there’s nothing at all wrong with enjoying it that way, there’s something truly special about watching it projected traditionally. Here’s hoping that as many people as possible get the chance.