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What's Happening: Astronaut's severed hand comes to life and menaces a California town
Famous For: Good example of teen-oriented drive-in horror
After a gorgeous title sequence, everything in this low budget teenybopper flick goes downhill. The titular hand makes a few early appearances but then vanishes for half the movie before returning at the conclusion. It was a true missed opportunity; how much more fun it would have been if the hand crept from house to house, into restaurants, into stores, into beds and bathtubs and kitchens. But probably because of zero budget for special effects, the hand itself is only a minor character in its own film. Most of the action centers around unlucky loverboy Paul who gets infected by the hand and tries to keep himself from turning into a crazed killer.
Still, things are not a total loss. We get a Swedish cutie in a bikini, the Skipper from Gilligan's Island, a sleek wooden-paneled convertible, and a jukebox playing "The Bird's The Word." We also get a wonderful scientific speculation from Dr. Weitzberg: "We don't just send a man in a rocket, we send up living cells, molecules, bacteria, germs. We throw in radioactivity. We introduce all these to cosmic rays. Do we upset this balance? Do we start a cycle? Does the living cell from earth romance the cosmic ray and give birth to an illegitimate monster?" All these goodies plus memorable supporting characters make The Crawling Hand worth saving for posterity.
Goldweber, David Elroy (2012-06-14). Claws & Saucers: Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy Film: A Complete Guide: 1902-1982 (Kindle Locations 14809-14833). David E. Goldweber. Kindle Edition.
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