Oh snap! It’s day 9 of Queue De Grâce here at Spectacular Optical! We’re almost at the finish line of our awesome experiment in terror…and boy are my eyes tired. If you’re a regular visitor here you already know that Cole of vitagraph, american has hand picked 10 Halloween themed films for me to watch and blog about…If you’re not a regular visitor, you can click on the links above and get yourself caught up.
I was supposed to get through all the titles in a week but you know how it goes…life just gets in the way sometimes.
So enough lollygagging, let’s get to today’s creature feature (or is it a psychological thriller?): Oliver Stone‘s 1981 kinda-sorta remake of the 1946 film THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS…now called, THE HAND!
I have fond memories of THE HAND from my formative cable days back in the 80s…I had no clue who Oliver Stone was but I was already familiar with the great Michael Caine thanks to ZULU (1964), THE SWARM (1978), BEYOND THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1979), and the most awesome DEATHTRAP (1982)(even though it came out a year after THE HAND).
I was excited to watch this one since it’s been a good 20 years or so since I had last seen it…I could only hope it didn’t disappoint! It had to be better than anything Oliver directed after 1995…right? Right!
Comic strip artist Jon Lansdale (Michael Caine) has his hands full with a Conan type comic strip called “Mandro“, a crumbling marriage to his Sarah Jessica Parker lookalike (but a little less severe in the face area) wife, Anne (Andrea Marcovicci), and a precocious daughter named Lizzie (played by Mara Hobel of MOMMIE DEAREST). So when a horrible car accident causes him to lose his moneymaker and said moneymaker becomes a bloodthirsty severed right hand determined to murder everyone around him, Jon’s already complicated life becomes a bit more…well, complicated.
I liked the way THE HAND straddled the line between schlocky monster movie and De Palma style psychological thriller. It really was a perfect blend of cheese and sleaze I come to expect and appreciate from certain 1970s and 80s films. Stone tried his damnedest to add some class to the proceedings by casting Caine and switching from color to black and white during some of the more cerebral(?) parts of the picture…but he just couldn’t escape the fact that THE HAND is just trashy fun.
Maybe he tried to make a thinking man’s horror film but his inexperience behind the camera held him back or maybe he made exactly the type of movie required to generate some cash and give the audience what they wanted…either way, I loved it.
Caine is freakin’ amazing here…y’all can keep your ITALIAN JOBs and your ALFIEs and give me DRESSED TO KILL and THE HAND any day! I mean, you don’t see Michael wrestling, stabbing, and biting his own diabolical severed hand in any other movie made but this one folks!
So, with all that being said here’s the breakdown…
Things I liked:
- Michael Caine
- Michael Caine’s hair
- The ol’ cat jump through the window scare
- The Hand-cam
- Bruce “D-Day” McGill
- “Mandro” artwork by Barry Windsor-Smith
- Union City Blue on the radio
Things I didn’t like:
- Once again, nothing. (Way to go Cole!)
One day left…and the last film on the list is a “terrifying tale of sluts and bolts“!