CHILLING CLASSICS MONTH: Hands of a Stranger (1962)

Concert Vernon Paris’ hard work has finally paid off. He’s become the biggest star there is. That’s when his hands are ruined in an auto accident and Dr. Gil Harding amputates them — with no authority — and replaces them with the hands of a murderer, all in the hopes that Paris can play piano again. Sure, the transplant is a success, but Paris becomes unhinged and increasingly violent toward those he blames for him needing his killer new mitts.

Sure, this is based on the 1920 novel Les Mains d’Orlac by French writer Maurice Renard, but the real draw is the absolutely over the top slasher like violence — well, as good as it gets in 1962 — throughout the film. First, Paris argues with his former girlfriend Eileen, who can’t love him as a normal man and craves the limelight that dating him gave her. Her dress catches on fire as they fight and she burns alive. Later, Skeet, the son of the taxi driver who caused the accident, enrages Victor by being able to play the piano when he cannot. He crushes the child’s hands, then smashes his head open.

Keep your eyes peeled for a very young Sally Kellerman and Irish McCalla, who was TV’s Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. This isn’t a great movie, per se, but it’s over the top and filled with brimming menace. It’s also anything but boring!

It’s available on Amazon Prime for free with a subscription.

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