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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Crawling Hand (1963)

Starring Peter Breck, Kent Taylor, Rod Lauren, Alan Hale Jr., Allison Hayes
Directed by Herbert L. Strock
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

An astronaut is lost on his return to Earth, but his disembodied hand survives his ship's destruction, and somehow takes mental possession of a teenager, driving him to kill.

A low-budget sci-fi thriller, though capably assembled by Strock, is probably best known today for the appearance of Hale, shortly before playing the Skipper on the cult TV series Gilligan's Island.  Strock, who edited the film in addition to directing it, does make the most of his budget, using shadow effectively, and conveying the "space madness" through dark eye makeup on Lauren, although the picture's got some serious audio issues with fluctuating volume.  Lauren's acting isn't strong enough to anchor the film, the shots of the hand are too tight to suggest it's really moving on its own, and the script is a bit too loony to be taken seriously, but it's good fun for those inclined for a cheesy movie experience, which is probably why it ended up on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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