Release dateJune 1981 (1981-06) (United States) WriterDavid Lee Fein, F. Amos Powell, Alfredo Zacarias (screenplay), Alfredo Zacarias (story) CastSamantha Eggar (Jennifer Baines), Stuart Whitman (Father Cunningham), Roy Jenson (Mark Baines (as Roy Cameron Jenson)), Lew Saunders (Sergeant Leo Matson), Narciso Busquets (Dr. Julian Rivkin), Haji Similar moviesThir13en Ghosts, The Beast with Five Fingers, Jigoku, Hellboy, Batman Returns, Turkey Shoot
TaglineUp from the depths of hell comes the ultimate horror!
Demonoid, also known as Demonoid: Messenger of Death, and Macabra: La mano del diablo, is a 1981 Mexican supernatural horror film written, produced, and directed by Mexican director Alfredo Zacarías and based on a story by Zacarías. The film centralizes on a group of explorers, who find a mysterious hand in Mexico that causes madness and death to whomever owns it.
300 years ago, in a mine located in Guanajuato, Mexico. A satanic cult built a temple where they sacrificed humans to the Devil by cutting off the left hand of their victims. In the present day, couple Mark and Jennifer Baines explore the temple where they find a small casket containing a severed hand which they take back to their hotel room. Later that night Mark opens the casket and is attacked and possessed by the hand. Fleeing to Las Vegas, he wins a fortune by gambling. Hating being possessed, Mark attempts to sever his left hand but is burned to death by his possessed hand. Mark's body is shipped to Los Angeles for burial. Jennifer arrives at Father Cunningham’s church where her husband is to be buried and warns the priest that her husband might still be possessed and requests that an autopsy be performed on the body.
As they talk on the matter, Mark’s severely charred corpse reanimates and bursts from his coffin and escapes. When Police Sergeant Leo Matson arrives to investigate the turn of events he is attacked by Mark who then severs his left hand by slamming it in a door, after which Mark falls dead and the hand immediately possesses the Matson. Horrified, Matson forces plastic surgeon Dr. Julian Rivkin to sever the hand at gunpoint after which the hand shoots a nurse with Matson’s discarded handgun, and murders Matson by brutally ripping the Sergeant’s face off. The hand then possesses Rivken who severs his hand on a train track. The hand later finds and corners Jennifer at her motel and attempts to possess her as well but is saved by Father Cunningham and they both flee to the church. There the hand cuts the power and phone lines and stalks the group, the hand manages to possess Cunningham who then attacks Jennifer with a knife. However he is eventually able to overcome the hand’s influence and stabs his own hand and has Jennifer burn his hand off with a blowtorch and scatter the hands ashes in the harbor. Later, Jennifer is back home, the hand, which somehow survived attacks and kills her.
Samantha Eggar as Jennifer Baines
Stuart Whitman as Father Cunningham
Roy Jenson as Mark Baines
Lew Saunders as Sergeant Leo Matson
Narciso Busquets as Dr. Julian Rivkin
José Chávez as Pepe
The film was released theatrically in the United States in June 1981. The film made its debut on DVD on September 28, 2005.
Critical reception has been predominantly negative. Leonard Maltin gave the film 1.5/4, criticizing the script, direction, and special effects as "getting in the way of any suspense". Allmovie gave the film 1.5/5, calling it "inept" and summarized by stating, "Even in its best moments, however, this film can only approximate a particularly weak episode of Fantasy Island". TV Guide panned the film awarding it a score of 1.5 /5, calling it "awful" and "ridiculous", and criticized the film's acting and plot.