HAND OF DEATH (1962) Reviews and overview

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‘He experimented in horror!’

Hand of Death is a 1962 American science fiction horror feature film directed by Gene Nelson from a screenplay by producer Eugene Ling for Associated Producers Inc. (API). The movie stars John Agar, Paula Raymond and Steve Dunne.

The theremin and bongo fuelled score was by Sonny Burke, whilst the cinematography was by Floyd Crosby, Roger Corman’s frequent collaborator during this period.



John Agar (The Mole People; The Brain from Planet Arous; Zontar: The Thing from Venus) Paula Raymond (Blood of Dracula’s Castle), Stephen Dunne (TV series Quatermass II), Roy Gordon (The Unearthly; Attack of the 50 Foot WomanThe Wasp Woman), John A. Alonzo (Bewitched), Jack Younger (Dinosaurus!), Joe Besser (Savage Intruder; The New Scooby-Doo MoviesScooby’s Laff-A Lympics) , Butch Patrick, Norman Burton (Fade to Black; Mausoleum; Deep Space).


An American scientist, Alex Marsh, invents a new nerve gas serum, but accidentally allows himself to be exposed to it, and so he turns into a murderous monster…


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“Hand of Death is a cheap monster movie. You could even say very cheap. Agar becoming a monster isn’t a cosmic punishment — he simply knocks over a flask and gets the stuff on his hands, so it doesn’t have the Beware of Science message you find in so many of these things. It doesn’t build to a Big Finish, though it has its moments…” The Hannibal 8

“Resembling The Hideous Sun Demon but completely lacking that picture’s personality, Hand of Death at least offers one of the more bizarre monster suits of the 1960s. Bill Warren rightly describes the suit as a cross between “the grossest possible caricature of a black man” and The Thing from the Fantastic Four comic books. As in The Incredible Melting Man, our doomed hero does little more than wander around and kill a few people by accident…” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers

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Hand of Death is not an important or remarkable movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it is an amazing artifact — and the Fantastic Four parallel will keep it visible for decades to come, if only to curious comic fans.” Stephen R. Bissette, Monster! issue 7


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Choice dialogue:

Alex Marsh (John Agar): “Do you realise, this is a weapon that is so powerful, it could conceivably banish nuclear warfare?”



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Images credits: The Hannibal 8 | Wrong Side of the Art!

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