14 July 2000 | gortx
Hard to find title resurfaces
One of the most inexplicably hard-to-see Horror titles of the 60's has resurfaced -- well, sort of. Because of a combination of vague legal rights issues, big studio neglect and the dissolution of its original production company, HAND OF DEATH has all but disappeared from sight. Recently, its star, John Agar and a group of his devoted fans got a rare opportunity to watch a videotape of the film. Hopefully, 20th Century Fox (now that they have found a print) will resolve all those pesky legal details and reissue the film on DVD, tape and TV. The film itself has some definite merit. The acting, , writing, direction and basic storyline are totally pro all the way. Technically, HAND benefits from fine cinematography by Crosby (TABU, several Roger Corman features) -- although the Cinemascope film is hampered by a pan-and-scan transfer on tape. The real standout is a jazz cum horror genre score by Sonny Burke (ooh, a CD would be nice, hint hint). On one level, HAND is a typical: Mad scientist INVENTS serum, mad scientist TAKES serum, Mad Scientist BECOMES Monster kind of movie. But, a subplot (underdeveloped mainly because the film runs a too trim 60 whole minutes) about the military creating the serum for nerve gas war is intriguing and the above mentioned tech credits are handled by seasoned vets. I hope all IMDB fans will get the rare chance I did of seeing HAND OF DEATH soon. And, thank you, John Agar for letting me see your movie!