The Devil’s Hand (1961)

devils hands poster 1961 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 4/10

Story has potential, decent cast

Weak storytelling

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Devil’s Hand 

Studio:  Rex Carlton Productions

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  September 13, 1961

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

devils hand robert alda ariadna welter

No, honey…I totally got you this creepy doll

Rick Turner (Robert Alda) is haunted by visions of a woman (Linda Christian).  Though engaged to Donna Trent (Ariadna Welter), he sees her in his dreams.  When Rick finds a doll of the woman in a storefront, Rick and Donna are plunged into horror.  The dollmaker Frank Lamont (Neil Hamilton) is secretly part of a cult worshipping the Devil God Gamba, and the woman of Rick’s dreams is also member named Bianca Milan.  Donna finds herself hospitalized as Rick is seduced by Bianca, but both could be treading on dangerous ground when the cult gets their claws in them.

Directed by William J. Hole, Jr., The Devil’s Hand is a low budget black-magic thriller.  The movie was released in a double billing with Bloodlust! to poor reviews and often is found in multi-movie packs.

devils hand neil hamilton

Commissioner Gordon takes a night job

I got The Devil’s Hand in not one, but two different movie collections made by two different low-budget film providers.  Trying to eliminate my “unseen” pile, I decided to check out The Devil’s Hand (and kill two birds with one stone).  The movie is a film with an odd tone and underplayed moments that take what could have been a decent thriller to a B-Movie slosh.

The story feels like it has a lot of threads and that they never come together as well as they could.  There is the cult, there is the witch within the cult, there is Donna and Rick’s relationship, and a reporter trying to infiltrate the cult.  With a short runtime, it feels one or two of the roles could have been merged together, and the rather lackadaisical approach that Rick takes to infiltrating the cult could have been ratcheted up for both suspense and horror…the film even ends in an almost tongue-in-cheek camera wink that works in something like The Howling which has built humor into the script but not here.

devils hand robert alda linda christian

Great…I joined a group of beatnik devil worshippers

The cast is surprisingly good overall though not good in the movie.  The star is Robert Alda (Alan Alda’s father) who had a decently long career as a character actor.  Linda Christian was a Mexican film actor who is credited as being the first “Bond Girl” when Casino Royale was adapted for TV in 1954 for the Climax! series.  The dollmaker and cult leader Frank is familiar to many as Neil Hamilton who portrayed Commissioner Gordon in the original Batman TV series.

The film was a mixture of shooting in Los Angeles with scenes shot in locations like McArthur Park and also involved shooting in Mexico City where.  It is noticeably cheap and much of the horror feels like it could have been made in the 1930s and 1940s rather 1961.

The Devil’s Hand has a good horror built into it, but The Devil’s Hand isn’t that good movie.  I think a lot of the pieces were there for a truly creepy blend of Old World fears of the strange and different of new cultures, but the film squandered it for price and cheap production and writing.  Oddly enough, I do think that The Devil’s Hand is a remake that could work…and in the world of remakes, there is a chance that it will happen someday.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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