WriterJoseph Cranston, Bill Idelson, Robert M. Young Release date1963 ScreenplayHerbert L. Strock, Bill Idelson CastPeter Breck (Steve Curan), Kent Taylor (Dr. Max Weitzberg), Rod Lauren (Paul Lawrence), Alan Hale Jr. (Sheriff Townsend), Allison Hayes (Donna), Sirry Steffen (Marta Farnstrom) Similar moviesInterstellar, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Martian, Deep Impact, 2010, Avatar
TaglineAstronaut Ordered Blown Up!!!
Mst3k s01e06 the crawling hand
The Crawling Hand is a 1963 science fiction horror film directed by Herbert L. Strock, and starring Rod Lauren, Peter Breck, Allison Hayes, and Alan Hale, Jr. It was later featured on the television shows Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) and The Canned Film Festival.
The hand of an exploded astronaut takes on a life of its own. Near a spacecraft crash site, a naive young med student discovers a disembodied hand and takes it home as a grisly souvenir. He is not aware that the hand is possessed by a strange, murderous alien who gradually begins to take over the hapless med student. One by one, townsfolk are found mysteriously strangled to death. In the end, a heroic and hungry cat saves the rest of the town.
Peter Breck as Steve Curan
Sirry Steffen as Marta Farnstrom
Kent Taylor as Dr. Max Weitzberg
Rod Lauren as Paul Lawrence
Alan Hale Jr. as Sheriff Townsend (as Alan Hale)
Allison Hayes as Donna
Arline Judge as Mrs. Hotchkiss
Richard Arlen as Lee Barrenger
Tris Coffin as Security Chief Meidel (as Tristam Coffin)
Ross Elliott as Deputy Earl Harrison
Stan Jones as Funeral Director (as G. Stanley Jones)
Jock Putnam as Ambulance Attendant
Andy Andrews as Ambulance Attendant
Syd Saylor as Soda Shop Owner
Ed Wermer as Prof. Farnstrom
Ashley Cowan as Mel Lockhart
Burt Reynolds screen-tested twice for the role as teen character Paul Lawrence, but reportedly performed so woodenly that he was not chosen.
The Utter-McKinley-Strother Mortuary where Curran and Weitzberg view the body of Mrs. Hotchkiss either is, or is named after, the mortuary where the funeral of Bela Lugosi was held in 1956.
This was the last film of veteran character actor Syd Saylor.
The Crawling Hand was featured in Episode 6 of Season 1 of the TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000. This episode was released on VHS by Rhino Home Video in October 1999 and on DVD in June 2002, including the uncut film as a bonus feature.
In other media
Rick Moody's novel The Four Fingers of Death, released in July 2010 by Little, Brown and Company, is a metafictional novelization of a 2025 remake of The Crawling Hand (which means that Moody's fictional 'novelization' is set in a future very different from that of the 1963 film).