Friday, November 20, 2015

Crimson Hands Against Him

I had a request for "The Hands of Murder", but since I already posted it HERE back in 2011, I thought I'd find another tale about terror mitts a'stranglin'-- and maybe this one from the September 1953 issue of Web of Mystery #20 will grab you. *claps at my own dumb joke :P



Brian Barnes said...


OK, this was just all shades of awesome. Well, except for the over-use of yellow by the colorist, that is.

I'll let others have fun with some other moments in this thing, but I was just stunned when the doctor -- confronted by an obvious apparition/zombie -- just beats the crap out of it and, without any real curiosity, tosses the thing in the fire! .... annnnnd back to work! I wonder if these "scary hands" that are perfectly preserved had anything to do with it? NOPE!

I repeat. WOW.

I don't think I've ever seen somebody in a pre-code horror comic being so nonchalant about a ghost zombie (pre-code always mixed them up.) I was actually upset to see him killed. What a career in adventure comics he could have: Mack Doyle: Master of Judo Kicking Monsters!

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

So, we have a brutish British killer executed, his hands severed by a doctor who wants to keep them as a souvenir. The hands strangle the limey doctor immediately. Meanwhile, the ghost of the killer cries for his hands. Can't he go to pick them up? Or can't the hands crawl towards him like in the Addams family show?

A couple of centuries after an american doctor finds the hands. The ghost immediately makes his claim: "My hands! Give me my hands!" I would have tossed him his hands but no, the doctor gives him the licking of his... death, Chuck Norris style, and kicks him into a furnace instead.

Then there's this magician (why not a carpenter, for heaven's sake?), the great Menahem Golan, whose hands are badly injured. "Doctor, can you help me?". The doctor's a practical guy, and sees a "handy" solution: Poor chap who's going to be an amputee + pair of hands found in an eighteenth century english casket = fantastic transplant that will bring me fame and fortune. But the patient isn't pleased and strangles Doc (it's really the hands that do the job, by their own will, but why this time they can't just fly and strangle, and have to be attached to a pair of arms?
Then the ghost (no more afraid of the medical master of karate) shows up and picks his hands, then teleports to his English cemetery.
This plot is "Ed Woodish" to say the least. Too many actors, too many situations turn the story into a mess.
I's funny how, even with a good (though not very original) premise, disaster is at hand.

Grant said...

I couldn't help making the same connection with the name "Golan" (and I don't even know many Cannon films).

Like everyone else, the doctor's reaction surprised me. And not just the way he fights off Murry off, but also his "bedside manner." Evidently it's all right for him to order people out of his office if they're really ugly!

Mr. Cavin said...

Man, I loved every page of this! I think I would pay good money to read a longer story about a doctor collecting bits and pieces of folks off the scorched and pitted no man's lands of WWI, and then hoarding them for later transplant into proper society. That is one awesome origin story for all sorts of freaky-doo shenanigans. Especially under the system created for the story here, whereby the spirit that's willing is all in the wrist. I probably shouldn't have just assumed, but it always seemed to me that disembodied hands which creep about on their own are somehow pushed to do so by the ghosts of their previous owners. But here the ghost is plainly divorced from the chain of custody, following along in the international wake of his own parts, while they themselves do all the dirty work by dint of some auxiliary animus. Or perhaps two, working together. Is there any reason to assume these hands weren't the actual culprits, themselves, even back when everybody still had a pulse? Meanwhile, are there to be disassembled and hollowed-out cadavers pursuing, en masse, every organ recipient and anatomy student, looking for their bits and pieces? Seriously, this story could be a hundred pages longer and still too short.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Yeah, all in all, Murry is a sissy. How about this:

Doktor Otto von Schmidster, aka "The Brain" (from Adventures into Terror n. 4; 6, 1951), prowls the world in search of suitable parts to build an invincible patchwork body, and stumbles into the story of Murry's hands.
This looks like the most fitting pair of malevolent, murderous claws he can use, so he decides to take them.
Murry's ghost is no match for his sheer willpower, and is easily dispatched by the strong minded Nazi.
The hands have finally found their Meister, and willingly agree to work with him. The Brain then proceeds to acquire new pieces, revisiting some famous Golden Age stories.
He finally becomes overconfident and decides to battle Dick Briefer's Frankenstein (no matter which version) to control his body.
The hands disagree with this, and leave a hand written note: "Listen Dok, that guy is too strong. If you insist, we wash ourselves of this!" But he doesn't take their advice, so they desert him. And the battles begins...
"The Brain" is one villain I really like. He's always on my mind, so to speak.

JMR777 said...

At first, the reanimated hands seeking revenge seemed to indicate that this story would be a knock off of "Kill My Minions of Death" but after the first and last victim via the disembodied hands, the hands did nothing but sit in a box for centuries.

The idea of reattaching the hand or hands of an unknown killer has been used several times in comics and horror. I don't know why, but I think the episode 'The Black Hand' from '13 Demon Street' stands out as one of the better adaptions of the killer hand stories.

Mr. Cavin said...

Superb, JD! "Hand-written note." I love it!

Mestiere said...

I kept remembering Oliver Stones's stinker The Hand, starring Michael Caine. It has all of 14% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's based on the novel The Lizard's Tale by forgotten British-American writer Marc Brandel. You can get a copy in hardcover for one cent.

More effective is Clive Barker's tale The Body Politic from Books of Blood: Volume Four where all our hands acquire consciousness and stage a revolution.