The Warner Archive August 27, 2019 DVD release of the 1981 Michael Caine thriller "The Hand" is the latest in a string of neo-noir thrillers in the Archive catalog. The 1981 Rachel Ward slasher flick "Night School" is a prime example of this.
The cred. of this one includes a screenplay by Oliver Stone, who provides an audio commentary,
The general concept of these lurid psychological dramas is that the monster is the beast within; they also typically have moderate production values that contribute to the guilty fun of the viewers. The 1980 Michael Caine film "Dressed to Kill" epitomizes this.
Caine plays successful cartoonist Jonathan Lansdale, who is living the fairly good life in Vermont with moderately loving wife Anne Lansdale (Andrea Marcovicci) and slightly more adoring (aptly named) young daughter Lizzie.
The game-changer occurs when Anne breaks the rule against driving while angry; her act of road rage while arguing with Jonathan makes his titular appendage collateral damage in the ensuing accident.
A half-hearted effort by Anne to recover the severed projectile fails, leaving Jonathan with a stump a the end of his wrist and early retirement from drawing his strip. The rest of this portion of the story is that the zombie-like hand minimally has an imagined afterlife of its own comparable to Thing from "The Addams Family," which amusingly begins life as a comic.
Our action shifts to New York, where a highly reluctant Jonathan moves to facilitate Anne in her quest for what he hopes only is psychological fulfillment. Artistic differences with extreme prejudice regarding the young Turk brought in to take over drawing the strip further fuel the fire.
The body count mounts as the emotional stability of Jonathan lessens, The question is whether the hand has surprising mobility or Jonathan is raising Cain while in a trance-like state.
All of this leads to Jonathan being just as unlucky at extra-marital love as he is regarding his wife. Of course, this causes an even further breakdown and more innocents feeling his direct or indirect wrath.
The beginning of the climax is predictable in that Jonathan gets to the root of the problem; things take an unexpected (and even more psychological) turn. Of course, the truth ultimately comes out and justice arguably is served.
The fun of all this includes the twist on the horror staple of a cursed body part that gets attached to someone who is a victim of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The hand coming from Jonathan is as symbolic as his extreme midlife crisis is to folks who reach their limits as they enter the second half of their lives; these two events coinciding is a perfect storm.