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The Hand (1981)

R  |   |  Drama, Horror, Thriller  |  24 April 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 4,129 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 41 critic

Jon Lansdale is a comic book artist who loses his right hand in a car accident. The hand was not found at the scene of the accident, but it soon returns by itself to follow Jon around, and ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonathan Lansdale
Mara Hobel ...
Pat Corley ...
Ed Marshall ...
John Stinson ...
Richard Altman ...


Jon Lansdale is a comic book artist who loses his right hand in a car accident. The hand was not found at the scene of the accident, but it soon returns by itself to follow Jon around, and murder those who anger him. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It lives. It crawls. And suddenly, it kills. See more »


Drama | Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 April 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La mano  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


CAD 6,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


FXPert Carlo Rambaldi once said of this movie's make-up and special effects: "For King Kong (1976), I had to think big. His hand was about eight feet from wrist to fingertips. For The Hand (1981), I had to think small. All of the radio controls had to be built in the space of a normal wrist". See more »


The Christmas carol "Deck The Halls" is heard on the soundtrack but the skipping record shown on the turntable is 'Fight Dirty' by the British pop band Charlie. See more »


Stella: I'm kind of old-fashioned. I like to make it in bed, okay?
See more »


References Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) See more »


Union City Blue
Performed by Blondie
See more »

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User Reviews

THE HAND (Oliver Stone, 1981) **
20 March 2007 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Nobody can ever accuse Michael Caine of not having had a fascinating career. His incredibly prolific filmography (132 appearances and counting in just over 50 years) is littered with high highs (a handful of all-time classics and 2 Academy Awards) and low lows (actually, from quite early on in his career to, unsurprisingly, the present day). Still, the latter bunch are, for all their glaring faults, hardly unwatchable and, at times, fairly tolerable and this rare horror item is certainly among his more interesting failures.

Apart from its horror elements and the chance to watch another Michael Caine stinker (although, as it turns out, Jon Voight and Christopher Walken had both previously turned down the lead role), the film's main draw nowadays is watching an early (though not the first) directorial stint from Oliver Stone (he even has an amusing unbilled cameo as an ill-fated tramp) and, most intriguingly, within an exploitation genre from which he has distanced himself completely since then. As I mentioned earlier, the film ends up being less the disastrous embarrassment I had anticipated and more a watchable (if hardly original) horror flick which moves rather slowly but has has the occasional effective shock moment to satiate genre fans. In fact, Stone infuses the film with a modicum of style including subjective shots from the marauding hand's point of view, delirious dream sequences often shot in monochrome and, most incredibly, an utterly grisly freak car accident sequence (with fake blood galore) early on in the film in which cartoonist Caine loses his drawing hand and which sets the narrative in motion.

The thing is that, while it starts well enough, the film is soon bogged down by repetitive marital squabbles between an increasingly unhinged Caine and his free-spirited wife Andrea Marcovicci. Besides, Caine's stump is not exactly the greatest and, when all is said and done, we have been here once too often and I only need to point out the other more notable cinematic examples of "the walking hand" - THE HANDS OF ORLAC (1924), MAD LOVE (1935) THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS (1946), THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL (1962), DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS (1965) and ...AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS! (1973) - for this film's relative redundance to become apparent. Still, that such an old-fashioned concept was revived at this point in time and by these film-makers is extraordinary in itself but, even if they did try to bring it up-to-date with the addition of gore and sleaze, I can't say I was too surprised by the twist ending which - while not making a great deal of sense and somewhat dispelling the strong similarities with Michael Caine's previous role in another imitative (but much more successful) slasher, DRESSED TO KILL (1980), which had previously been to the fore

  • provided Hollywood veteran Viveca Lindfors with a very brief but

notable cameo as Caine's no-nonsense shrink.

13 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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