Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Crawling Hand

(1963) ***



"Have I ever steered you wrong?" - guy who doesn't see the crawling hand sneaking up on him.

After Octopunk's unearthing of this precious artifact last year, I felt I needed to experience this movie "first hand".   (Relax, I just smacked myself in the head.)  When a space mission goes shit-side-up resulting in the self-destruction of the shuttle, a dead astronaut's severed hand makes its way through the earth's atmosphere and lands on a beach.   A young couple who in the midst of a good old frolic (rolling around, laughing about nothing), discovers the hand. The two don't realize that unlike most body parts you'd find on the beach, this one is capable of murder!   The hand proceeds to go on a modest but memorable killing spree.  And that's pretty much it.  The Crawling Hand is every bit as baffling as it sounds, and probably funnier. Made in 1963, this movie wishes it were still the fifties. Whether or not the actors were trying or not is moot - they all fail, one by one.

Aside from a rubber prop that you'd find in CVS, there are no special effects.  Most of the time the illusion of the crawling hand consists of an actor's arm slowly moving towards the victim, with the frame cropped so you're unable to see the body it is attached to.

My wife the scientist had some very serious problems with the hand reaching the earth (let alone people's necks).  According to her, it would have spontaneously combusted in the first fraction of a second it was exposed to outer space.   There's absolutely no way it could have made it through the atmosphere, she added.   I was able to overcome this faux pas but still had a couple of issues of my own.   I guess I felt short-changed because they didn't give us a chance to know the hand, you know - as a being. They didn't spend any time developing its personality or giving a reasonable explanation as to why it felt the need to kill.   Maybe I missed something. 

1 comment:

Jordan said...

Didn't Oliver Stone re-do this as "The Hand" with Michael Caine?