Let the experiment begin!Experiment #106 ~ THE CRAWLING HAND (1963)
Original Air Date: Approx. 12/89
Studio: A Joseph F. Robertson Production ~ (Distributed by Medallion TV)
Starring: Peter Breck, Kent Taylor, Rod Lauren, Arline Judge, Richard Arlen, Allison Hayes, Alan Hale Jr.
Directed By: Herbert L. Strock
Theatrical Running Time: 89 Minutes
Tagline: "FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH"!Film Synopsis:
The second man that America has sent to the Moon (solo, mind you
) experiences serious problems upon his return to Earth. His oxygen supply has expired, but twenty minutes later he is still alive and in contact with the space agency (which looks like the basement of an abandoned warehouse
). Raving like a madman the Astronaut keeps begging the agency to "push the red" which will destroy the spacecraft, and after a little trepidation... they do!. The agency speculates that there must have been some kind of organism that infected the pilot, keeping him alive and driving him into insanity. Sadly, this is also how the first manned launch to the Moon ended as well.
A college student named Paul picks up his girlfriend Marta at the local malt shop to go to the beach for a late night swim. After a little rumpus on the beach, they discover the severed forearm of the doomed Astronaut (whose limb has apparently made it back to Earth intact
). Paul wants to keep the arm and study it, but Marta will have nothing to do with that plan. After taking a totally freaked out Marta to her home, Paul returns to the beach later that night and brings the limb back to the boarding house where he's staying. He hides it in of all places
, the pantry.
The limb reanimates and begins to crawl around the house, finding it's way to the landlady's bedroom. She tries to use a pistol unsuccessfully to defend herself, but the hand strangles her. Paul hears the ruckus, comes downstairs and finds the landlady dead. Paul calls the local Sheriff. The Sheriff arrives and finds Paul with the gun in his hands. The Sheriff questions Paul and suggests that he not stay in the house that night. He refuses and the police leave. Paul tries to call the agency (how he knows the phone number is anybody's guess
) but the hand attacks again and begins to strangle him. After a brief struggle he falls to the floor and the hand crawls away.
The ambulance guys show up at the house to take away the dead landlady, and on their way to the kitchen to raid the 'fridge for a cold beer ( real nice guys
) they find Paul. They load him and her into the ambulance. On the drive to the hospital Paul regains conciousness, sees the dead landlady, loses it completely and jumps out of the back of the vehicle.
Paul is starting to show some of the same physical ailments of the infected Astronaut, returns to the malt shop and assaults the owner but doesn't kill him. He then goes to Marta's house and begins to attack her, but doesn't kill her either. He runs away and goes back to the landlady's house to retrieve the limb. He finds it and puts it in the trunk of his car and drives off. The hand gets out of the trunk through the back seat and into the cabin of Paul's car and begins to strangle him... again! Paul stops the car in a junkyard, restrains the limb, and begins to stab it with a broken glass bottle. After it stops moving, a couple of junkyard cats descend upon the motionless limb, licking the blood from it, and begin to act hostile.
The Sheriff and a couple of guys from the Space Agency find Paul there (who knows how
). He collapses and they take him to the hospital. It would seem that the hand (that can survive the vacuum of space, and re-entry into Earth's atmosphere
) has died and released Paul from it's grip (ha,ha! No pun intended, but that's pretty good!
). The authorities secure the limb into a metal box and call the ambulance guys to transport it to the airport to be sent away to be analyzed.
En route to the airport, the ambulance guys' curiosity gets the best of them and they open the box, only to find it empty. The End???Intro:
Once again, Joel explains the premise of the show.Invention Exchange:
Joel presents the 'Safety Sensing Circular Saw' (it's infrared light prevents appendages from being chopped off). Dr. Forrester and Dr. Erhardt offer the 'Limb Lengthener' ("...if you've ever wanted to emulate Reed Richards from the Fantastic Four...
"). Stretch away!Host Segments:Host 1:
Crow and Joel go bowling. Joel wants to play Murderball. No way! Joel suggests they play Rock/Paper/Scissors. No way! Crow and Servo do not want to play any more games with Joel. Joel vows that if he ever builds another Bot, he will not program it with free will!Host 2:
Joel and the Bots recreate 'Death Hand Action Scenes' using William Shatner's acting style.Host 3:
The Bots try to figure out "why is a dismembered hand so scary"?! Joel explains that "If your sleeping, it could come up to you, take two fingers, shove them up your nose. Suffocated! Stone dead"! "Or... it could come up behind somebody, tap them on the shoulder. Whiplash! Dead"! "Or... if it had an accomplice hand, like a friend, they could gang up on you and give you an indian-rub".End:
Joel asks the Bots for a "good thing/bad thing" about the film for a 'ram-chip' reward. Joel reads a fan letter. Laurence is happy beating Dr. F.'s head from across the room against a console in the lab with his new 'Mr. Fantastic' arms.Items of Note:
~ No Bots on the bridge of the SOL during the Invention Exchange.
~ Trace and Josh spar each other with a spate of bad 'fish' jokes. ("Just for the 'halibut
'", "You're a pain in the 'bass
~ The film soundtrack features song 'The Bird is the Word' by The Rivingtons
~ The song was later popularized by American surf rock band The Trashmen as 'Surfin' Bird', combining two Rivingtons tunes, 'Bird' and 'Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow'.Personal Notes:
~ Cambot lays down an applause track for Joel during the Intro segment.
~ Alan Hale Jr.
is probably best known in his role as Skipper Jonas T. Grumby on the television series 'Gilligan's Island'.
~ Peter Breck
is probably best known in his role as Nick Barkley in the television series 'The Big Valley'.
~ Scientists that smoke! God, I love the SciFi/Horror films of the '40's, '50's and '60's!The 'Riffs':
~ (Servo): "Soon to be naked is better than not being naked at all"!
~ (Crow): "'Stacked' means you're really smart"!
~ (Servo): "It's the 'night time, coughing, aching, sneezing, stuffy head, feverish, you're being chased by a human hand medicine'"!
~ (Crow): "I recognize him! He used to be with Def Leppard"!
~ (Joel): "You know things are bad when you keep a liquor cabinet in your bedroom"!
With pop culture references spanning the gamut from Gilligan's Island, Pete Townsend, The Big Valley and Love, American Style to Timothy Hutton, Mission:Impossible and Adam Ant, the 'riffs are sufficient but the host segments seem labored and for the most part just average. Not bad. Not great, just... ehhh. (Truthfully, the group did not have a lot to work with using this film).Rating:
2 'pilfered cold beers' out of 5.
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