Alice H. (singlegalkansas) from TOPEKA, KS Reviewed on 1/5/2010...
An essential for all MST3000 fans who have collections!
Scott W. (smichaelwilson) from ARLINGTON, TX Reviewed on 10/25/2009...
I'm not quite sure what the motivation was behind this two-disc release. While it is quite true that Manos is an essential MST3K episode that all fans of the series should own, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was never a universal fan favorite. The Mexican Santa Clause with Lupita (Lupita, Nooo!) Would have been a far better Christmas choice, and even other fan favorites like Mitchell and Space Mutiny would have been more fitting choices.
Regardless, these are still two excellent episodes to own of this timeless classic series, a show in which nearly all episodes could be considered "Essential."
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Wonderful choice for an MST DVD Release!
Echo | Western Hemisphere | 07/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's about time that there was a release of one of the classic MST3K holiday experiments, just in time for the season. 'Manos' is the definitive example of an MST experiment - goofy, meandering movie with cutting riffs. The 'Poopie' outtake collection is a longer-than-normal selection of bloopers and alternate takes - a must have for any MSTie.But the real treat of this dual set is "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians". If you're tired of normal holiday fare such as "Home Alone", "A Christmas Story", and "It's a Wonderful Life" place this disk in the player and watch your kids' squeal with delight. "Santa Claus" is a bizarre tale about pathos and depression - among Martians! It seems the only way to cure the holiday blues on Mars is to stage a spectacular kidnapping of the Earthling Santa Claus. Four children (two from Earth and two from Mars) join forces with Dropo, a renegade Martian to rescue Santa, save Christmas on Earth, and bring holiday joy to the Children of Mars. The plot makes sense with the electric performance of a young Miss Pia Zadora. Ok, well maybe not. Sounds interesting, yes? No? Well, it's a truly awful film, a definite jaw-dropping example of bad cinema. Fortunately, the MST3K treatment is hilarious. Joel and the 'Bots even give us the classic Christmas standard, "A Patrick Swayze Christmas".I'm chucking my "Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" in favor of this twisted classic. Recommended."
"Large Sausage And Mushroom Thin Crust?"
Robert I. Hedges | 11/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an inexpensive, truly essential set from Rhino. I know that "Manos" has been released before, but it is, after all, the number one requested MST of all time, and for good reason.
By now almost everyone knows that "Manos" is one of the worst movies ever made, appropriately by fertilizer salesman (really) Harold P. Warren. (Is he perhaps a distant relative of "Batwoman" director Jerry Warren?) The film is a tale of a family caught in the snare of pure evil, symbolized largely by Torgo, a caretaker with big knees. ("Uh, that's not how you wear your Depends, Torgo.") Everything about this movie is the worst in class; those people who believe that Ed Wood is the worst director of all time have clearly never seen "Manos." As if "Manos" weren't enough, the same episode features an otherworldly short ("Hired, Part Two") featuring a man on a porch in a rocking chair swatting at flies, and demonstrating that it is possible to look demonically possessed with a handkerchief on your head. ("Ah! Flying elves are back!") This is truly a wonderful short. Also on the disc is a reel of outtakes ("poopie") which range from amusing to hilarious. For my money the best of the bunch is the attempted "Torgo's Pizza" sketch. ("Let me just get your complimentary crazy bread." "No!") I would guess that I have seen "Manos" probably thirty-plus times over the years, and it still endures as the pinnacle of MST3K as a concept.
The real treat in the set is "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians," an early Comedy Central episode, and one of the greatest of all time. The film stars nobody, but does mark the screen debut of Pia Zadora as Girmar ("Girl Martian," get it?) in what may be her most convincing role to date. The concept is awful, the costumes, acting, sets, and cold war, extraterrestrial Santa kidnapping plot must be seen to be believed. I am particularly fond of the comic relief provided by Droppo, the laziest man on Mars. Also prominently featured is the most inane theme song in movie history, composed by no other than Milton DeLugg. Who is Milton DeLugg? You might know him better as Chuck Barris' bandleader from "The Gong Show" (and you will definitely want to gong the theme song). This one really hurts, but in a good way.
There has been some disagreement in the reviews, but my set did come with the bonus DVD, "Shorts Volume Three," and even though I have seen them all before, they don't disappoint. My favorite of all is the unreal "Once Upon a Honeymoon," which features some of the world's worst musical production numbers, featuring rhythmic telephone dialing. This disc is a wonderful bonus, and I am delighted to have all these shorts together in one place.
For the price, this set can't be beat for a diehard MSTie, or someone new to the show who wants to start out with two of the best episodes of all time. This set is highly recommended. "
Amazingly funny stuff, some of the best MST3K ever!
Valnastar | Deep 13, USA | 08/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a two-disc set with Manos: The Hands of Fate and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, two of the ALL-TIME funniest MST3K episodes. The Manos disc also has the "Poopie" 30-minute bloopers reel, a great collection of outtakes from the first few seasons of the show.
Manos: The Hands of Fate as a movie is an amazing curiosity it is so bad and so odd. A fertilizer salesman in Texas decided he wanted to write, direct and star in a scary movie and this is the result. It's scary alright! Wait till you see "Torgo" and the glorious inaction of this film. The staff at MST3K often named this film as the worst thing they ever had to watch while making the show. It is legendary among MST3K fans ('MSTies') because the movie is just so, so bad, but the jokes are so, so funny in spite of it. A real oddity and very funny stuff from the MST3K crew. There is also a short in this episode called, "Hired", an old corporate training film about teaching men to sell cars door-to-door; an interesting bit of history and very funny when Joel and the 'Bots get done with it.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is a grade-Z kids movie from the 1960's and it has just about the absolute goofiest costumes, acting and music of any film ever. The much less than great Pia Zadora is one of the kids in the film. However, the MST3K crew really wrote some of their best material making fun of this one. Wait till you hear Crow's Christmas Carol, "A Patrick Swayze Christmas." This is must-see comedy for anyone who likes a good laugh.
Calling this set "Essentials" is not a misnomer, these are truly some terrific episodes of the funniest television show ever. Movie Sign! "
Pain and Pleasure
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 12/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the reasons that MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 was such an entertaining and interesting show was that it illustrated a staggeringly large variety of bad filmmaking. You'd be amazed at how many things it is possible to mess up. There are the obvious things, of course: bad acting; illogical, incomprehensible scripts; cheesy dialog; woeful special effects. The list goes on. But there are many little things that can go sour too: obvious day-for-night shooting, inaudible sound recording, etc. And, yet, with the literally limitless amount of mistakes that can be made, most of the films aired on MST3k fell in to one of two main categories of terrible movies: the films that were so laughably bad they became entertaining in their own right (so bad they're good), and those films that were bad because they were so unbelievably boring, slow and listless (so bad they're painful). This "Essentials" collection features one of each kind, and each is represented by, perhaps, the most outrageous offender of this kind of bad film.
First up is the "so bad it's good" film: SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS. At the time I'm writing these words, the Christmas season is well upon us and it becomes childishly simple to name literally dozens of great, classic Christmas movies. They're broadcast continuously on the airwaves starting from the end of Thanksgiving, so it's easy to forget that making your film a story about Christmas is not a guarantee of success. SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS is one of the goofiest movies ever made (and you only have to look at the title to figure out that one). The plot involves a kidnapping attempt on one Mr. Kringle (no, not the annoying dork from the Best Buy ads) by a group of -- you guessed it -- Martians. Yes, it is a kids' movie and, yes, kids' movies often don't stick to the rigid doctrine of logical coherence, but this is mad stuff by anyone's standards. Look for a young Pia Zadora for additional amusement. This is entertaining.
And as entertaining as SANTA is, MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE is anything but. MANOS is arguably the most famous episode of the show and is something that every fan of the series needs to endure. And note that I stated "fan" there. This is certainly not a film for people new to the genre of bad filmmaking. It's bad. Really bad. Bad in the worst way, really -- it's incredibly, unbelievably, undeniably boring. You may think you've seen bad movies before, but this one is rough to get through. If you're up for a challenge, go for this.
These are truly the essential episodes of MST3k. SANTA is funny enough in its own ineptitude, so the mocking comments of the cast are purely a much-welcomed bonus. And MANOS is painful enough in its own right that the heckling is a much-needed distraction from the pure misery. This is a great introduction to the series as it's terribly representative of both extremes. If you want to know what MST3k is all about, then this is a good place to start.
(As an aside, I heard Michael J. Nelson doing a promotional interview on a local rock station a few months back and he still seems amused by the fact that "Manos: The Hands of Fate" literally means "Hands: The Hands of Fate". As, as I must say, am I.)"
For those angered over the reusing of Manos...
David Ballard | Elyria, OH | 10/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just to let you know, some time ago Rhino polled its fans on which episodes they would most like to see released on DVD. The results of this (and a similar VHS poll) can be found somewhere on mst3kinfo.com.
Anyway, Manos was far and away #1 in this poll, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was #2. That's likely why those two episodes were chosen for the set.
Actually, you guys should be VERY thankful...SCCTM just barely beat out Mitchell for the #2 spot, by a scant 6 votes. That, of course, would've resulted in this whole set being stuff that's already been released...so we're pretty lucky that at least something new came out of this.
As for the episodes themselves, what can I say? Both deserve their reputations as classics IMO."