The Hand (1981)

Written & Directed by: Oliver Stone

Story by: Mark Brandell (Novel)


Michael Caine .... Jonathan Lansdale
Andrea Marcovicci .... Anne Lansdale
Annie McEnroe .... Stella Roche
Bruce McGill .... Brian Ferguson
Mara Hobel .... Lizzie Lansdale

Special Appearances:

Viveca Lindfors .... Doctress
Rosemary Murphy .... Karen Wagner
Charles Fleischer .... David Maddow

Release Date: Theatrical: April 24, 1981


A successful comic book artist in New York named Jonathan Lansdale (Michael Caine) suddenly uses his good hand during a car accident and it jeapardises his career so he becomes an art teacher in California and living near a cabin.
However, his hand was never found and it seemed to have a life of it's own and kills anyone whenever he feels angry at someone since he misses his artwork and doesn't feel the same anymore.
He also has an affair with one of his students named Stella Roche (Annie McEnroe) but yet she seems to be the victim of his cut off hand and then on Christmas his family comes to see him in which he doesn't see eye to eye with his wife Anne (Andrea Marcovicci) as her life can be taken as well if she crosses her husband.


We do spot a nice close up shot on Jonathan Lansdale doing his sketch art for a comic book which looked good and very artistic like.
There's also some good side shots on both Jonathan and Anne having a disagreement in a car on her travelling for a career and him acting dominant and obnoxious which looked almost believeable as a dysfunctional couple but it needed to be spiced up a bit. Of course it looked fine in it's time. Then we have a good shot on their car swerving with his hand being cut off. There's great disturbing shots on all of this.
There's a good scene with a doctor testing Jonathan's wrist and talking about his hand that was cut off. It looked realistic on what was happening there.
We spot a good shot on Jonathan in the grassy area near a road trying to look for his hand with good shots on the camera looking over the grass as well as shots on the hand moving with insects like beetles crawling over it.
There's a good moment with Jonathan trying to use his other hand to work on his comics and then a cat comes attacking and then smashes through a window as the scene in this flick makes you wonder what that was all about.
There's a good argumentive moment between Jonathan and David Maddow about him taking over with the story on his comics as well as a good shot on Jonathan himself standing up to look at the scribbling on the comic pages that David and an agent looked shocked and disgraced at giving it a nice feel.
There's a good shot on Jonathan sleeping in bed with a nice black & white shot on him having nightmares and showing the flashbacks.
There's some good dark conversations between Brian Ferguson and Jonathan in a bar having some dark discussions as it looked quite spooky about Jonathan discussing obscene artwork he spotted and not remembering he did them with good shots on him drawing an obscene pic.
There's a cheesy approach with Stella Roche coming on towards Jonathan with a good close up shot on her removing her shirt.
There's a cheesy shot on Stella going underneath a Christmas tree holding a present and then the hand attacking her.
We spot a good aggressive moment with Brian showing a raging anger towards Jonathan outside of a bar.
A good argumentive discussion between Jonathan accusing Anne on having an affair which looked intense as well as him grabbing her by the neck which showed not too bad blocking.
There's a good moment with Lizzie Lansdale hearing a knock on the door convinced that it's her mother with Jonathan intensely telling her that it's not her mother at the door.
We spot a good shot on the hand grabbing onto Anne lying in bed with Jonathan by storming in as well as Lizzie at the doorway screaming at Jonathan. All of this looked intensely done.
We see a good shot in a barn looking down at Jonathan and then having a struggling battle with the hand. There's also a good close up shot on the hand grabbing his neck with his mouth in an O shape looking shocked.
There's a great intense moment with Jonathan and his reactions when he is asked to open up the trunk with a felmale cop demanding him to do so. Plus we spot a great shot on Jonathan losing his mind after he opens up the trunk.
We spot a couple good shots with a doctress in a room questioning Jonathan with a good shot on him looking out of it with wires attached to his head and a printer sheets looking at his results and her getting fresh and cocky with him.
Bottom line is that I read many bad reviews on this film but usually any Oliver Stone flick is a blockbuster but most of the critics were right as this one was a total flop. The story was very slow and we needed to see more of this hand attacking people as it took it's time. This film was almost like a take on those old 50's black & white horror and sci-fi flicks but it looks like a ripoff tribute to them. The story really makes no sense when it tries to describe itself during the ending of the film. It beats from bombing cause Oliver Stone really tried his best with his work on it but yet he'd probably admit that this was his worst project to date. The rest of his work was very mainstream and this film can easily be forgettable. I've seen worst though which is another reason why I didn't bomb it. The story tried too hard to be scary and there's not alot of scary moments expect for some hallucinations and flashback sequences which looked believeably twisted. Still it's nothing to brag about. Skip this and watch Evil Dead 2 instead as it's both creepy and funny with a hand attacking.

The acting is well... I'd say... fair. Lead actor Michael Caine (Jonathan Lansdale) seems to steal most of the acting credit and shows a good obnoxious attitude and aggressions as well as good insane expressions with his cold speaking too. He really knew how to act from happy to totally insane. He could play a mad scientist easily with what he had to do. Yet he was supposed to have screamed intensely when his hand got cut off but it looked a bit lacking.
Andrea Marcovicci
(Anne Lansdale) tried her best to play the wife in the film with a disturbed behavior against her husband and what is happening to her family and is passable at doing so. But at the same time she is really nothing too spectacular with her work in it.
Annie McEnroe
(Stella Roche) tried to bring on her charm as a horny art student and does the trick plus had the good looks for a victim in the film in which we need someone like her so she passes as well. She wasn't award winning by any means though.
Bruce McGill
(Brian Ferguson) really does a great job as someone hanging out at a bar smoking and drinking plus had the right dark and creepy looks too. He also knew how to perform creepy and showed a great mysterious attitude to his role. He just was someone who gave me the creeps.
Child actress Mara Hobel (Lizzie Lansdale) really focused on her role as the daughter of the dysfunctional family and showed good energy for what she had to do throughout the whole story. She carried on with her career in TV and film after her part with this one and was probably better known for them too.
There's a small supporting role by Viveca Lindfors (Doctress) whom is worth to mention as a doctor forcing the truth out of the lead actor as she really brought alot of character to her part in it by acting demanding but in a mellow way as well as seeming almost wicked about everything. She was one of the drawing cards for the final ending of this flick.

Annie McEnroe takes off her top and exposes her breasts.

A hand is cut off with blood splurting but the blood looks very fake
A female doctor lands on the back of her head with the hand stangling her and cracks her head open

There's terrific dark sounds for the creepy moments mainly involving the killer hand with some low chord sounds too which sounds similar to the music in Black Christmas as well as the typical classical screechy violing music too and the low keyboard sounds too making it sound very gloomy. James Horner did the music for this film and used his talents in other low budget horror flicks like Deadly Blessing which sounds very similar too.