The Devil's Hand

Director: William J. Hole, Jr.

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The Devil's Hand There's no literal devil's hand in The Devil's Hand (1962) despite a contemporary ad campaign suggestive of a weird hand theme.

A mysterious dollshop is run by "the high executioner" (Neil Hamilton, best remembered as Commissioner Gordon in the 1960s Batman series) of a witchcraft cult. This position is identical to High Priest but he conducts russian roulette type rituals that can randomly result in death of the selected & tested worshipper.

The Devil's HandThe cult additionally controls its memberships with look-alike voodoo dolls that are authentically supernatural. Our hero Rick (Robert Alda) dreamed of a beautiful dancing girl whose doll he subsequently spotted in the dollshop window.

When he finally meets the girl from his dreams, she's the gorgeous witch Bianca (Linda Christian) who is using her mesmeric, telephathic, astral projecting dream-control powers to attract our hero's adoration, while simultaneously using a doll-portrait of his fiance (Adriadna Welter) to keep her hospitalized.

Rick seems truly controlled as he goes along with Bianca as her lover & joins her cult of Gamba the Great Devil God of Evil. But he cannot forget his fiance, & when she gets carried into the room in a trance to be used as an alter sacrifice, he proves to be more heroic & less controlled than everyone hoped or intended.

The Devil's HandIt's not the worst Z-horror of its era nor even quite the most cliche. Its portrait of devil worship is the familiar one from cinema & Dennis Wheatley novels, as something of a dangerous middleclass hobby, predominantly for white people but the inclusion of black & asian members was rather advanced for casting in 1962.

The worship services & sacrifices are spiced up by a "jungle drummer" dressed up like he's in the jungle & by a beautiful black woman from the congregation obviously well trained in western jazz dance.

The cult is not voudon, despite the jungle drummer & the voodoo dolls. Gamba worship incorporates elements of European black magic & has a big idol with a rather Hindu appearance. So it's a mishmash paganism made-up by suburban whitefolk, just like a lot of actual neo-pagan sects.

Z-budget for its b/w cinematography & silly script but with a better-than-Z cast, I found The Devil's Hand unremarkable & luckily short, but not void of entertainment value.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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