Tuesday, May 12, 2020


This is a transcript for the latest video:

Hello there, so yes, this is another video about “Manos: The Hands of Fate,” but not one that is here to tell you how bad it is.

You may have already chosen to watch based on the film’s notoriety as one of the worst films of all time, either seeking confirmation of this, or to enjoy that consensus being recounted one more time, about how the film’s conception was based on a bet, how the camera could only record thirty-five seconds of film at a time, and how John Reynolds played Torgo with this satyr legs on the wrong way round, giving him massive knees.

This is not that video, as it has been done too many times: I am interested in how easy it is to use the film to tell that story.

When making a video about a film, you must make sure your work does not infringe another person’s copyright. If you are reviewing a film, you cannot simply recount the story – not only would your video be derivative, someone could choose to watch your work instead. This is why you simply can’t claim “fair use” for review purposes, or use long passages without changing their context.

With “Manos: The Hands of Fate,” you have none of these concerns, as the film is considered to be in the public domain. I can do what I want – show the whole film, cut it into bits, rearrange the scenes, or show it upside down, and I won’t need to worry about any repercussions.

However, note that I said “considered.” Under American copyright law, “Manos” is in the public domain because there is no copyright notice included on the film, regardless of whether the producers applied for copyright or not – the same is true of “Night of the Living Dead.” “Charade,” the comedy mystery starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, is in the public domain because Universal forgot to add the word “copyright” to their notice, or a “c” in a small circle. This rule was removed from 1978 to protect unpublished or unregistered works made from that year on.

However, just as you can’t reuse the music from “Charade” without permission, the script of “Manos” is copyrighted, so you can’t remake the film word for word. Likewise, the restored Blu-ray edition of “Manos,” using the original negative, is a copyrighted work, hence why I am using a version that appears to have been stored in a ditch. A copyright application is pending on the phrase “Manos: The Hands of Fate,” placed by the son of the scriptwriter.

For the record, I would like to make a video delving into the film of “Myra Breckinridge,” so if 20th Century Studios or Disney are listening, please reply to my request to use footage for the video. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said I will be calling it the worst film ever made.

Thanks for watching, as ever the nostalgia culture crisis continues at [www.leighspence.net].

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