Saturday, March 14, 2015
It's the New Monster Patrol Page... Um, a Couple of Days Late, Along With Creepsville
It happens... I just got overwhelmed by a number of personal things this week resulting in Monster Patrol posting on Saturday with Creepsville rather than in its usual Wednesday slot. Sorry, gang.
Last Saturday I said I would focus on one of my personal scary faves from when I was a kid: The Crawling Hand. I sometimes wonder if this little flick would be totally forgotten if not for Mystery Science Theater 3000's having had fun with it.
The reason I'm focusing on this film is due to the crawling alien hand in the Saucer Men story.
The Crawling Hand does have a decent cast in it, beginning with Peter Breck, who starred in the western TV series, The Big Valley. Side by side with Breck in this flick was actor Kent Taylor who was in quite a few low budget genre movies including such z-grade pictures as Brides of Blood, the first of the Philippines/Eddie Romero "Blood" trilogy, and Brain of Blood helmed by Al Adamson.
Two more very familiar faces are in the film in small parts. Allison Hayes, the 50-Foot Woman herself is wasted in a small part as a secretary of sorts to Breck and Taylor's characters. As usual, she looks great here, but I personally feel that I must add that she's at her most gorgeous in Roger Corman's The Undead. She wears a tight outfit that reveals how big she was... as to what is big, I leave that to you to find out for yourself.
A welcome appearance in the film has Alan Hale Jr, the Skipper on Gilligan's Island, playing a Sheriff trying to figure out if he should arrest Rod Lauren or not.
The biggest star in regards to this film was not even in it. Legend has it that Burt Reynolds almost got the role taken by Rod Lauren. The real star of the film is Lauren, whose best movie is probably Terrified, a film about a crazed masked killer in an old ghost town.
The film's story has Breck and Taylor playing two scientists at a NASA-like facility who have a mission go awry in space. Their astronaut has gone astro-nutty, begging the ground crew to destroy his craft before it gets into Earth's atmosphere. The data they are getting from the ship suggests the madman couldn't even be alive. They do push the red button, but they are troubled by all this and go off to where any debris that could get to Earth would most likely fall.
Lauren's character is that of a troubled young man who finds one of the dead astronaut's hands on a beach. Whatever space disease affected the rocket pilot starts happening to Rod. Adding to this is that the hand is still alive. It crawls around, kills the young man's landlady and almost does him in, too.
Having said all that, I have to admit that the effects for the hand are minimal In close ups where you couldn't see a living arm, it's a real hand. In other parts of the film, its a mannequin pulled by wires.
Though it probably won't scare any of you reading this, The Crawling Hand did scare me a lot when I saw it for the first time, which would have been when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I recall that I was afraid that the hand would hide under my bed. Strangely, it never did.