Manos: the hands of fate is a 1966 cult classic film. It is often claimed to be the worst movie of all time.
It actually spawned an online following resulting in a few independent sequels. The film itself was restored and re-released on Blu-Ray in 2015.
The Master is a cult leader pseudo-vampire with six possibly undead wives. An enthralled caretaker and a demonic dog watch his place during daylight hours.
- Real Name: Unrevealed.
- Marital Status: “Minion” (by Manos).
- Marital Status: Married? Sort of.
- Known Relatives: Six wives (unnamed).
- Group Affiliation: The Master’s group is made of himself, his wives, and Torgo his servant.
- Base of Operations: Somewhere near El Paso, Texas.
- Height: 6’6″ Weight: 240 lbs.
- Eyes: Green Hair: Black
- Other Distinguishing Features: The Master has a thick mustache.
Powers & Abilities
The Master is a cult leader with a commanding presence. His power over others comes through threats of death and sacrifices to his god, Manos. Under his command are several beautiful women, a man servant, and well trained guard dog, all with a supernatural bent.
He actually has a link to Manos, who does a lot to keep the Master safe and hidden. But he also demands sacrifices. The Master believes he has been given immortality for his service but there is doubt.
He has the ability to fall into a trance-like sleep along with his wives, this allows them to rise and operate at night and avoid the light of day.
The Master may become incorporeal allowing attacks to pass harmlessly through him.
A vacationing family, Mike, Margaret, and their daughter Debbie, get lost on a desert road and encounter a hidden devil worshipping cult. These cultists use human hands as sacrificial offerings to their god, Manos.
That’s the short of it, read on if you dare.
After getting lost on some desert back roads, the family decide to ask directions from a strange looking caretaker, Torgo. Torgo told them, “There is no way out of here”. Then, against his wife’s better judgement, Mike begged Torgo to let them stay the night. Torgo gave in but said the Master won’t be happy. The Master doesn’t like children.
Dead? He is with us always…
Torgo gave a puzzling explanation of the Master being dead, but not the way you know death.
The family dog, Peppy, rushed out into the night after something strange that sounded like an animal howling in the night. Mike secured his gun and flash light from their car only to find their dog had already been killed by some unseen beast.
After that, the family had enough and demanded Torgo get their luggage. They were leaving! However, perhaps supernaturally, the car wouldn’t start.
Debbie, by mere chance, walked from the house and directly upon the sleeping Master and his wives. Mike and Margaret found Debbie and followed her to the sleeping cultists. Mike demanded Margaret and Debbie lock themselves in the bedroom and stay inside while he found Torgo and got some answers.
Torgo the rebel
While the Master slept, Torgo flaunted his rebellion. He planned to keep this new woman as his own bride! Torgo slipped into the night and found Mike unaware. He cold-cocked Mike and tied him to a post.
When the moon was risen, so does the Master!
The wives are awakened and they discuss what to do with the visitors. It’s decided they would kill the man and child and the woman would be added as a seventh wife for the Master. One of the wives, the oldest, showed some humanity and argued they could not kill the little girl. For this, the Master sentenced her to death.
The Master left to find Torgo, all the wives fought in a mass melee for the child’s life but it was cut short when the Master returned. The Master sacrificed Torgo’s left hand to the fire for his “hand” in bringing the family to his secret home. Torgo fled.
The Master exacted his punishment on the eldest rebellious wife by beating her to death with his bare hands. In his fury, the family took the opportunity to escape into the desert. The Master would not give up, he took his wives into the desert and searched the area.
Margarret succumbed to exhaustion and begged Mike to return to the house. They planned to lock themselves in the kitchen but once inside, the Master revealed himself…
One tagline pleaded: “No one seated the last 10 minutes! We defy you to guess the ending… and ask you not to divulge it!”
So, I won’t.
New elements from Manos: The Rise of Torgo (2018 sequel)
Manos, god of primal darkness, contacted a man asleep in the desert. He struck the sleeper with lightning, making him more than mortal. The man received robes and a name, The Master!
Well, whatever it is you’re not doin’, go don’t do it somewhere else
Torgo’s parents didn’t plan to have a baby out-of-wedlock. Torgo’s mother murdered the father when he refused to take responsibility for his child.
Torgo’s mother raised him sheltered and alone. He ate fried chicken and lots of ice-cream but had no friends. One day on the way to his grandmothers’ (plural), he met a young red-haired woman that wanted to be his friend. She was one of the Master’s wives.
All you need is friends
Vassago, the last caretaker, rebelled and was killed. The Master selected Torgo as his replacement.
The Master placed Torgo under a charm spell. He called on Manos. Lightning struck, crippling Torgo’s legs – and turning him into a servant of Manos.
However, his mother fought to get him back. Pistol in hand.
A new lost group of four young people came upon the Master’s place. It was the same place as before – if a little rundown.
The Master was old now, far less “permanent” than he thought. There were new wives, but Torgo was the same age he was in Manos: The hands of fate.
The Master doesn’t move about the house, but his wives have more freedom. They love to torment Torgo, slaying him over and over. He always appears fine in the next scene.
The Master’s visage appeared in a painting. He charmed one of the women; she then collapsed and became his next wife. A now-adult Debbie presided over the ritual. She used Torgo’s severed hand to control him, forcing him to stay and live in fear.
Torgo now says: “I take care of the place while Debbie and the Master are away.”
There are others in the house. But they seem like ghosts replaying old memories.
One woman, Claire, escaped with Torgo’s help. The Sheriff took her away from there to safety.
A tall man with dark hair and mustache. His skin is pale. His voice is deep and he always projects well. Sometimes almost screaming but keeping an even tone.
The Master’s robes are black with a pair of gigantic red hands on the front.
The Master is tall and imposing using strong gestures like pointing forcefully or lifting both arms out to his sides displaying the fullness of his robes.
Completely sold out to his belief that he cannot die. The will of Manos is all the Master desires. The Master sleeps in his robes and shoes on a hard slab of stone.
He is completely unafraid of man’s law and kills at will assured he is protected and safe. Laughing at the prospect of his own demise. Therefore, sacrificing those who wander into his domain and taking beautiful women as new wives. Occasionally, he will take on a male as a daytime caretaker.
(Mike and his wife look at a painting of the Master)
Margaret: “Looks so sinister.”
Mike: “Must be the master himself.”
Margaret: “Well, Mike I’m scared. He has the meanest look. That dog.”
Mike: “I’d hate to run up on him in the dark or even in the light for that matter.”
“Manos ! God of primal darkness ! As thou has decreed so have I done. The hands of fate have doomed this man. Thy will is done !”
The Master: “You have failed us Torgo, I know of your visits to the tomb.”
Torgo: “My visit ?”
The Master: “The women have told me. They may not be able to say anything or move when you’re there but they remember everything you say to them. And everything you do to them.”
Torgo: “But master, you have six wives. Why can’t I have one for myself ?”
The Master: “You are not one of us. Therefore you cannot have one of them.”
“Manos will be served !”
“Kill ! Manos has decreed it ! Kill ! Kill ! Kill !”
“I am permanent ! Manos makes me permanent !”
DC Universe History
Almost the entire film takes place in the year 1966, in the deserts of El Paso at night.
It shouldn’t be too hard to bring the Master and his servants into our modern era. In a super hero world the powers of Manos could be more dramatic and more powerful. Increase his Charisma to 12 APs and give him followers who have powers of their own.
Perhaps an Aspect of Manos could be summoned as a final boss.
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly
A 545 points Character
|Dex: 02||Str: 02||Bod: 02||Motivation: Power Lust|
|Int: 03||Wil: 02||Min: 02||Occupation: Cult leader and servant of Manos|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 04||Spi: 03||Wealth: 006|
|Init: 009||HP: 005|
Dispersal: 07, Suspension: 13
Bonuses and Limitations:
- Dispersal and Suspension are both Mystic Linked (+10 each).
- When Dispersal is in effect the Master appears out of focus.
- While in Suspension the Master retains his mental faculties, he’s aware of his surroundings. (+1)
- Suspension is useable on others (+5). The Master does not lose the use of Suspension himself while others use it (+1).
Charisma (Intimidation): 07, Occultist: 04
Scholar (Manos religion).
The Rituals in this film seem to be more ceremony than actual Rituals being cast. His great Intimidation skill is what causes fear and allows him to command others.
Book of spells [BODY 01]. Manos instructed the Master to use a ritual found in the book to charm Torgo.
Use normal stats for a large dog.
Renfield he ain’t — Torgo
“I am Torgo, I take care of the place while the Master is away.”
A 067 points Character (without equipment)
|Dex: 02||Str: 02||Bod: 02||Motivation: Mercenary|
|Int: 02||Wil: 02||Min: 02||Occupation: Servant/Caretaker|
|Inf: 02||Aur: 02||Spi: 02||Wealth: 000|
|Init: 006||HP: 000|
Thief (Stealth): 02, Weaponry (Melee): 02
Minor Physical Restriction (Torgo has deformed legs causing him to stagger along at no more than 01 AP of speed), Minor Physical Restriction (continuous nervous twitch).
Walking Staff [Body 02, EV 01, Cost 3]. This is a wooden staff about head height with a metallic hand at the top.
There are a few things that happen on and off screen that are not clear what actually occurred. These are certainly meant to be supernatural.
- The cult’s hideout appears and disappears by unknown means.
- The howling of an unseen beast of the desert, possibly the devil dog.
- The car wouldn’t start just as the family decided to leave, Mike stated “There’s nothing wrong with it.”
- Debbie got up and while her parents weren’t looking walked right out into the night alone. All the doors were still bolted, then when found she was with the devil dog!
- Torgo’s hand touches the flame and is instantly sheared off! I gave The Master nothing for this, it seems to just be part of the sacrifice to Manos.
There’s also the question of why does the Master need to sleep? I assume it’s similar to a vampire sleeping during the day and rising at night to avoid sunlight. There is the quote by the Master, “Hurry, find the others, before night slips away!”
Another guess is that they are all immortal, however, with the Suspension power they would still age but at a much slower rate. The dog doesn’t seem to sleep, though it could be many hell hounds supplied to the Master by Manos. Since the oldest wife speaks of his power failing, I’m going with his slowed aging being a result of Suspension.
His wives appear to be normal if possibly undead.
The Master’s weight was not found anywhere on the web so, I just grabbed the weight from the “Height and Weight values for super-heroes” article.
The Master had the ability to entrance his new wives and man-servants too, at least at some point after they are held captive. The Master’s oldest wife said he was losing his power. I am now of the belief a ritual, or Manos’s power through a ceremony, puts an enchantment on the Master’s new victims.
Over time, the spell wears off but the Master’s intimidating presence allows him to maintain a tentative control.
Design notes for the sequels
Manos: The Rise of Torgo. This prequel (with a 51-year gap) tried to stay true to the original film. Created by someone who gets it. Purposefully bad editing cuts, awkward pauses, unintentional comedy, over-the-top strangeness, and voice-over dialog. It used the same musical score as the original film. Some actors were spot-on in their likeness to the original.
- There is a scene where the wives kill and strip a man of his flesh in seconds. I’m unsure how they did this, if they had claws why not use them in other on-screen fights? It must be the will of Manos…
- Manos gave the Master a Book of Spells. The spells he casts must be within Manos’ will as the power comes from the god, not the Master. It’s like a D&D Priest casting a spell drawing magic from their god.
- The Master states he needs Torgo to watch after the place while he is away. When Torgo asks where he goes, the Master states he is master of many dimensions. Since there is no more mention or evidence of actual Dimension Travel it’s left out. It could be a spell from his Book of Spells.
- The devil dog in this film was a pitbull instead of a Doberman.
- Oddly, in both movies, the sheriff hinted that he too was working with Manos.
In Manos Returns, Tom Neyman reprised his role as the Master.
Source of Character: The 1966 film Manos: The Hands of Fate, 2018 prequel Manos: The Rise of Torgo, and 2018 sequel Manos Returns. Character played by Thomas Ivy “Tom” Neyman, and Danny Mcarty in Manos: The Rise of Torgo.
Torgo played by John Reynolds in Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966), Matt Rogers in Manos: The Rise of Torgo (2018), Steven Shields in Manos Returns (2018).
Helper(s): Darci, Eric Langendorff, IMDb, Youtube (for commentary and yes, even deleted and behind the scenes footage.)
Writeup completed on the 12th of September, 2017.