Ok, so the film isn't anywhere near the quality of an underground cinema classic that I was hoping that it could be. Starting off with the footage that opens the movie during the credit sequence and everything leading up to the hour and fifteen minute mark is an absolute wasteland of pure and utter boredom. Nothing happens in the story for over an hour. I guess it's meant to serve as a build-up in tension and character development, but both of those concepts fail tremendously. It's not that there isn't some semi-interesting things going on, but the problem is they're not given much attention. I can understand the focus of the film is primarily the idea of harming children and what effect that has on us as adults and why it would be so difficult to bring that harm if you're fighting for survival, but the archival footage of children in death camps and starving countries during the credits really does nothing to serve that focus. After all, we're supposed to be hating these little bastards, right? I mean they're murdering all of the adults and using mind control of some sort (a bit that's never explained) to control each other. The focus is so ambiguous in narrative that it makes the entire film an uneasy and boring sit-through. Why am I watching this? What's the point? In other words, questions that are never answered. I don't mind things being left open to intrepretation, but when the focus is so out of itself that I can't follow simple plot devices then I know I'm watching something that didn't have a specific vision. I can't even care about the pregnant couple and the ordeals that they're subjected to. It takes them an entire hour and fifteen minutes of screen time to figure out what's going on, and that is just exruciatingly painful to watch. On the plus side, the final 20 minutes of the film are actually the most interesting and powerful, but it takes so long to get there that it's hardly worth the effort. There are some interesting ideas laid out in the film (even with the now cliche'd evil killer children storyline). However, the water is so muddied that it's hard to see through to the bottom. I can't say that I recommend this, unless it's for those wanting to see what all of the controversial fuss was all about and why it was never released in the US in its full uncut form. Now that it has, check it out, and see if you're just as perplexed and indifferent as I am.
I don't think I'll throw my hat in the ring and claim this to be one of the top ten giallos of all time. Far from it actually. I found this one to be utterly confusing with so much poor plotting and a ridiculous amount of red herrings that I was left a bit dumbfounded at the end. With a little bit of thought, I understood everything, but it still left so many questions unanswered. The atmospherics and the build are reasonably good, but the plot is a bit lost. So many twists and turns aren't always necessary, in my opinion. It has some merit, perhaps more than its worth, but I wouldn't recommend it for most horror fans. They might be overly befuddled.
The most positive thing that I can possibly say about The Devil's Hand is that Robert Alda has a large role in it, even if he isn't all that effective. The other noteworthy cast member is Neil Hamilton, who you might recognize as Commissioner Gordon from the Batman TV series. Other than him and Robert Alda, there's no reason to watch this film.I was bored to tears with it and I couldn't really find much good to say about it. I tend to dislike voodoo movies from this era because they're more about the intent rather than the effect. For example, early in the film Ariadne Welter's character's voodoo doll is pierced in the heart, and she has a heart attack. If this film had been made today, she would probably have died. The effect was less-interesting than the intent, and I find that boring in this movie. Nothing really happens and there's no real threat, only in words, making the characters completely dumb. So the plot goes nowhere, the characters are unrelatable and do unbelievable things, everybody talks and talks about nothing, AND the movie looks like it was shot for TV with sets that look like they're about to fall over at any minute. Don't even get me started on the rubber knife scenes. Just skip this, unless you have a morbid movie curiousity like I do.
This is MUCH, MUCH better than the extremely goofy title would lead you to be believe. Yeah, sure it's a B movie and it's got the cheese oozing from it in certain spots, but it's also very cleverly photographed and edited. Come on, how can you go wrong with both Casey Kasem and Bruce Dern heading up the lead cast...not to mention Ray Milland in a small role? That's worth the purchase price alone. This is a fantastic little gem of a movie - warts and all.
This was actually better than it had any right to be, despite its flaws. It's a rather hoaky British horror affair that could stand in line with Amicus and Hammer, style-wise. Very enjoyable if you're in the right frame of mind, it made me laugh out loud at times with its use of black humour and ridiculous storyline. There are also some great sequences in the movie that give it a creepy edge. If you can track down a copy of this, please do, as it is an undervalued and pretty much forgotten piece of British cinema that somehow made its way to the states in the early 70's.