Sunday, 6 March 2011

Lon Chaney Jr. Once Resident (II) At ...

13 Demon Street
(1959/60 TV Show)
Episode: The Black Hand

Lon Chaney Jr’s character, trapped in purgatory until he can find a crime committed that is far more heinous than his own, hosts another episode in the short lived series 13 Demon Street. Opening once again with the highly effective, and applicably spooky black and white sweeping camera intro shot, we are introduced to … The Black Hand.

A car races along a winding road upon the winter snow draped coastal region of Bavaria. Another car speeds along towards it in the oncoming direction. The two car crash head on. From the wreckage of the first seen car steps a dazed woman, she turns back to the car to assist the male driver. His arm is trapped, wedged tightly between the steering wheel and the dashboard of the car interior. With a fire breaking out the man has to act quickly in order to escape.

The man is a surgeon, and the woman with him is his nurse, and love interest. She retrieves a medical kit from the boot of the car, and from its contents the man selects a scalpel. He has no other choice but to surgically sever his own hand in order to free himself from the shackles of the compacted vehicle.

Together the two companions check the other smashed car. Its passenger dead at the wheel. The surgeon acts quickly with his own self preservation and continued professional success in mind. He separates the deceased man from his own hand, in order to use it to replace his own which is crushed beyond any further practical usage.

Over the course of the next few days things get back to normal for the two medical people. The surgical performance upon the lost hand, in replacing with the one taken from the dead man at the scene of the accident, is a highly successful one. No one suspects that the hand is anything other than a reattachment due to the story imparted by the surgeon that his hand was cleanly severed off in the crash. The body of the other man so badly crushed and burnt it could never be identified as anything untoward.

During the course of standard procedure post accident interviewing by the authorities, the police inform the surgeon that the man involved in the crash was in fact a most wanted psychopathic killer, who had murdered five people. A woman hater who took great pleasure in carving up female victims. His loss to society welcomed rather than mourned.

When the surgeon returns to his professional position and resumes surgical procedures he begins to notice that his replaced hand seems to be taking on a life all of its own !. For the first time in his established career the man loses a patient in surgery. Four further loses of life in the operating room directly follow. All of those being operated upon are women !.

Fighting with his own sanity, and trying to control a foreign attachment to his own physiology, the surgeon seeks solace in drink, but a trip out alone to a dingy bar spirals out of his control. He is approached by a lady seeking his company, but his reaction to her advances are for his hand to reach out uncontrollably, assaulting her. He flees in panic, back to his own residence.

The same evening, whilst contemplating his state of mind, he turns to the nurse who best understands what he has gone through, but in seeking solace and understanding the hand strikes out once more. It attempts to strangle her, but the surgeon struggles it free. He fumbles about with his free hand, grasping hold of a knife from the kitchen, intending to use it to sever the attached hand once more.

The final outcome is an ironic twist, as the ill fated surgeon has a hand in his own end !.

Watch The Entire Episode Of The Black Hand Online
View Part One

View Part Two

View Part Three

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