Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Halloween Movie Marathon: The Crawling Hand

I saw this movie as a kid, probably on the horror movie show hosted by Richmond's answer to Elvira, a guy who called himself the Bowman Body. He wore Dracula drag and had a bandaid on his forehead. (As it turns out, I'm not the only one who remembers Bill Bowman fondly, a documentary about "the Bowman Body" called "Hi there horror movie fans" is having a run at the Byrd Theater in Richmond, VA on October 28. For more infomation, check the Bowman Body's official site.)
The movie was from 1963, a black and white horror tale about an astronaut's disembodied hand that crept around choking people. (How the hand/arm survived the re-entry process was, not as I remember, explained.)
I don't remember very much about the movie but I do know it scared the bejesus out of me. I remember hearing scuttling noises while taking a bath after I'd seen it and I knew, I just KNEW that there was a disembodied arm in a silvery astronaut suit sleeve just waiting, waiting for me. 
I looked the movie up on imdb and it looks like the only version of The Crawling Hand still available is one that MST3K has worked over. I find Mystery Theater kind of hit or miss, but again, this is the kind of movie that you throw on when you've had a couple of hard ciders and are jacked up on sugar  cookies shaped like pumpkins.  I think it's the kind of movie that you really need to see in a crowd so the snark can flow.
Peter Breck, who most notably played one of the sons on The Big Valley (and who died earlier this year at the age of 82) was the star and other names of note in the cast were  Alan Hale, Jr. (the "Skipper" in Gilligan's Island) and Richard Arlen, who did a lot of genre films, including Island of Lost Souls. He also seems to have been a guest star on every single western made in the 50s and 60s, including some now almost forgotten, like Yancy Derringer.  (An actor named Jock Mahoney starred in the series and he's notable now because he was Sally Field's stepfather.)
The movie was written and directed by Herbert L. Strock, who did a lot of television (77 Sunset Strip, Highway Patrol) and a lot of genre movies, including I Was a Teenage Frankenstein. That movie starred the original Lois Lane herself, Phyllis Coates, Whit Bissell and Gary Conway.


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