Tuesday, March 11, 2014

6 movies with disembodied hands

Six films featuring disembodied hands 

The Beast with Five Fingers
"Don't you dare miss it"
Ever find yourself asking, "What was that movie with the hand that crawls around by itself and scares people...?" Well here are six of them.  There are others, but this is a good representative group. Watch them as Halloween movies. Show them at theme parties and serve finger sandwiches.

This is part of a series of articles about hands in film and pop culture in general. The ones here aren't nice, helpful hands like Thing Addams and Lady Fingers in The Addams Family. They're not going to bring in the mail.

There are so many variations in film that I've broken them into categories to see what themes are the most popular and then guess why. It follows that other media, television, video games, animation, etc also have their share of similar characters and ideas but I'm just looking at films.

The Beast With Five Fingers (1946) A piano player, unexplained murders, hallucinations and an important signet ring. Oh yes, a disembodied hand that can torment Peter Lorre and play the piano. Robert Alda also stars in this evil hand movie.


The Crawling Hand (1963) The hand of a dead astronaut washes up on the beach and possesses the college student who takes it home. The student is slowly transformed by the hand and begins killing people in a small town.
Moral of story, don't take body parts home as a souvenir.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 - The Crawling Hand The MST3000 version might be even better than watching the original? Who's to say? Try both and decide for yourself.

The Crawling Hand

Starring Peter Breck (before he was Nick Barkley on The Big Valley with Barbara Stanwyck), Kent Taylor, Rod Lauren, Alan Hale Jr. (pre-Gilligan's Island), Allison Hayes.


Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1966) Five horrific stories include one about a disembodied hand. Where did it come from and how does it live on its own? Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Donald Sutherland.

And Now the Screaming Starts (1973) Newlyweds inhabit an old mansion with a that's under a curse. The new bride believes she's carrying
Dr. Terror's House of Horrors
the baby of a ghost. 

She and her groom are being tormented by a disembodied hand. Peter Cushing, Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee and Stephanie Beacham.

The Hand (1981) Probably the most straight to the point title of the bunch. Directed by Oliver Stone. Michael Caine stars. 

Nightmares and murder. Who's committing the crimes, is it the character or that darn killer hand? Also starring Andrea Marcovicci. Comic book illustrations by Marvel Comics Conan artist Barry Windsor-Smith.


Prop pair of Stage Hands
spooky, friendly, wave.
Cheaper and better versions
are available
Idle Hands (1990) A spoof horror film that will scare audiences silly. 

To get the most out of this one, watch Idle Hands with at least one of the other movies, rinse and repeat. 

Seth Green, Elden Henson, Jessica Alba, Vivica A. Fox, Devon Sawa.

A fake hand was used for the finale scene of the 1976 movie Taxi Driver.

Do you have a favorite film about a disembodied or severed hand? One that scared you and you can't forget it? Maybe you heard a story like this around a campfire?

For giant hands grabbing terrified people look for King Kong or Attack of the 50
1946 Beauty And The Beast
Jean Cocteau photos
Foot Woman
from 1958. 

The amazing 1946 surreal, fantasy film Beauty and the Beast or La Belle et la Bête directed by Jean Cocteau stars Josette Day as Belle and Jean Marais. 

Among the images featured is candelabra and animated wall sconces in the form of human arms and hands holding candles. 

Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion
24x36 Poster
Classic hands coming out of wall scene in apartment

At other times in the movie, Belle speaks of invisible hands that attend to her needs. Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast La Belle et la Bête (The Criterion Collection) It may be streamed or purchased to own.

You can see similar effects with hands in the 1965 Roman Polanski psychological horror film, Repulsion starring Catherine Deneuve and Ian Hendry. Hands come out of the wall as Deneuve's character walks down the hall of her apartment.

In 1953, the 20th Century Fox movie musical, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell features human light fixtures. During Monroe's famous Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend number. A human chandelier made of ladies dressed in black is overhead as are women costumed as light poles throughout with black-clad women, arms held high, holding lit candles. Around them dance women in flowing pink dresses, smartly outfitted men and of course, the lovely Marilyn in her pink gown. In the 1980s, Madonna included a spoof of this scene in her music video for Material Girl.

The Mark of the Killer Vintage Movie Poster
The Mark of the Killer Vintage Movie Poster by VintageArtCabaret
See more Vintage Posters
M is a 1931 German drama-thriller film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre. It was written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou and was Lang's first sound film. The film is sometimes known as The Mark of M.

Related Pages of Interest:

Lon Chaney and Johnny Depp: Comparing The Unknown and Edward Scissorhands

Six movies with transplanted possessed hands

Hands in Film Fashion: The Women, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Elsa Schiaparelli

Addams Family Cousin Itt, Baldness Curse?

No more cold hands at the keyboard, type or text Cute Gloves, No fingertips

The Human Body For Kids, Anatomy Games and Learning Toys  

Anatomical Hearts in Art

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