Saturday, October 16, 2010
31 Days of Halloween - Day 16 - Movie
In The Hand of Death (1962) John Agar plays a scientist trying to develop a hypnotizing nerve gas. He accidentally gets some of one of his compounds on his skin and finds that his touch is now lethal, instantly killing anyone he touches, turning them into human shaped charcoal. His friends and colleagues work desperately for an antidote. It's not clear whether his condition worsens on its own, or if its the result of one of the serums meant to cure him, but he transforms into what looks like the Fantastic Four's Ben Grimm having joined a minstrel show. Inarticulate, he goes on the run, and because this is a horror movie ends up being gunned down instead of cured.
This is actually a pretty cool little movie right up until Agar goes on the run. Then it becomes tedious as we watch him shamble along accompanied by eerie bongo music for endless stretches of time while nothing else happens. The movie is only an hour long, but I'd estimate that much of the last twenty minutes is taken up by his flight, or maybe it just felt that way. Even an unnecessary and unsuspenseful cameo by a very young Butch Patrick couldn't break up the monotony. If the last third had been on par with the rest of the movie this could have been a decent monster movie, but it's not. We can't even feel sorry for the man who can't touch anyone without killing them.