Like most good horror movies, Oliver Stone's The Hand has more going for it than just blood and shadows. Though it does have its share of those. Stone's second outing as director is about a cartoonist (Michael Caine) who loses his drawing hand in a car accident. The severed hand is never located, but as Caine becomes increasingly hostile due to his lost livelihood and his collapsing marriage, the hand seems to take on a deadly life of its own; the madder he gets, the more his enemies turn up strangled. The concept is hoary, but Stone gives it ideas--the story is really about marital anxiety and the coming era of New Age sensitivity. Caine's hyper-masculine character can't adjust to either, and pays the price. The movie's biggest draw is Michael Caine, who's always splendid at conveying hostility on screen. His furious cartoonist is both castrated and liberated by his accident, and Caine has a ball playing both sides of the character. By the way, that's Oliver Stone in one scene, quite convincingly playing a scruffy beggar. The film's traditional approach to horror was out of fashion in 1981, when slasher films were all the rage, but it looks better with time--if not a minor classic, then at least a nervy little exercise in mayhem. --Robert Horton
A successful cartoonist loses his hand in a car wreck, and the hand eventually comes back on a murderous rampage.