THE HAND (1981)
Article 4872 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Oliver Stone
Featuring Michael Caine, Andrea Marcovicci, Annie McEnroe
What it is: Crawling hand movie
A comic-strip writer in a troubled marriage loses his hand in a freak accident. He begins to see his disembodied hand crawling around, but is it really there? And is the hand really the one killing his enemies…?
The John Stanley guide describes this movie as “the thinking man’s BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS”, and that’s as good a place as any to start discussing this one. Still, I’d rather watch BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS (which is a lot more fun) than to spend a lot of time watching the crumbling marriage which serves as the center of this one. I think my problem with this movie is that once you’ve sussed out the game the movie’s playing and the way it dovetails with the main character’s marital problems, there’s really not much in the way of surprises, either as a drama or a horror movie. I can’t help but notice that Stone wasn’t above resorting to horror cliches (such as cars not being able to start) when it serves his purpose. And though I understand that it was being done to build mood and suspense, I still find scenes where we get a hand’s view of the action while it is breathing heavily to be rather silly when dealing with a body part that has neither eyes nor lungs. Oh, and there’s a twist ending (which if you think about it, really isn’t) that some people love and some people hate, but it really doesn’t do much for me one way or the other.