The Hand (1981)

The Hand (1981), written and directed by Oliver Stone.

A comic book writer (sorry, graphic artist) is already having marriage difficulties when he loses a hand in a traffic accident caused by his wife, producing further psychic resentment. When I say "loses a hand": it cannot be found and is off having adventures of its own.

I did not see this at the time because I remember the TV reviewers (Siskel and Ebert?) ridiculing it, imagining the Hand crawling cross country, maybe thumbing a ride on the interstate.

It is actually more of a mix of psychological and literal horror. Despite showing us the Hand explicitly we are never quite sure how real it is. Our main character hallucinates and has blackouts. His view of reality may not be shared by anyone else.

Well, ok, but this goes on for the whole movie. We never shift away from the original uncertainty. This type of thriller where the spooky stuff is a manifestation of marriage or family problems is a well worn track, but what can you do except try to make something interesting from it.

It was a critical and box office flop and Stone went back to screenwriting for a few years.

The concept and execution remind me of Magic (1978) with Anthony Hopkins, although this plays more with "maybe it's real".

Love the 1980s: boobage and a bit more.

Viveca Lindfors -- Adventures of Don Juan (1948), Dark City (1950), Stargate (1994) -- has one scene as the Final Doctor.

Early score by James Horner, very ominous. Stan Winston and Carlo Rambaldi worked on the special effects.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory. The director provides a commentary track made years later: