Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Hands of Blood|
Actors: Minnie Bradley, Hal Fletcher, Bond Gideon, Tommy J. Huff, Grady Page
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Hands of Blood
Steven Hellerstedt | 07/20/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Confusing Gothic thriller from 1974 that, according to the nine-minute interview with director Perry Tong, cost $17,000 to make and generated gross revenues of $10.5 million, HANDS OF BLOOD is being marketed now as a drive-in cult classic and a precursor of that slasher cult-classic, Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
To begin with, HANDS OF BLOOD (originally Stepsisters, reissued as The Texas Hills Killing - how's that for title marketing?) looks like a lot more than seventeen thousand 1974 dollars were thrown at it. The photography is pleasantly professional and the acting is a cut above the usual no-budget film. The base story is simple enough - a philandering husband needs his philandering wife's consent to sell their farm. The wife refuses to do so. The woman's stepsister moves in and, after a brief spat of quips and gropes with the husband, she and he conspire to kill her stepsister, his wife. The husband flies a metal winged biplane and there are some gratuitous aerial scenes over the farms and fields of west Texas. There's no real reason for the insertion of the flying scenes, which do nothing more than bring to a screeching halt an already slow moving story, but they are the only scenes of gratuity in this one. There's no gratuitous nudity, no gratuitous blood and gore, no gratuitous plot clarification. For instance, when the woman's lover - I think it was her lover - enters her bedroom we see him only from the jeans clad knees down. HANDS OF BLOOD is pocked with such short moments of needless mystery. Heck, I'm not even sure what the husband did for a living or why he was gone from the house all the time. After a while the accumulation of the small and the unexplained smother this movie.
Image Entertainment is marketing HANDS OF BLOOD as a `cult classic,' and I haven't any hard facts to dispute the claim. Any movie that returns $10.5 million on a $17,000 investment has to have something going for it, right? Still... drive-ins were pretty popular in the mid-70s and many of them ran triple features. HANDS OF BLOOD was a drive-in phenomenon and drive-in theaters had a notoriously insatiable appetite for movies. Is it a stretch to believe that a movie that came cheap, contained no scenes of nudity, excessive violence or extreme gore might attract interest? If cult status is based purely on box office this one might be explainable by external factors - low distribution fees and high (and undiscriminating) market demand. As an independent film made on a shoestring budget I think it's a very impressive achievement. However, HANDS OF BLOOD is swimming in a large tank with the big fish and an overwhelming majority of them are more deserving of your attention. Beyond admiring HANDS OF BLOOD as an above average do-it-yourself project I didn't enjoy it all that much. Most of the time, when I wasn't confused, I was bored silly. If you're curious enough, or simply can't get enough of that 70's culture, maybe this one's for you. Elsewise you'll find many other better ways to spend eighty minutes.