THE DEVIL’S HAND (LIVE TO LOVE)
(director: William J. Hole Jr.; screenwriters: Jo Heims/Rex Carlton; cinematographer: Meredith Nicholson; editor: Howard Epstein; music: Mischa Terr/Baker Knight/Allyn Ferguson; cast: Robert Alda (Rick Turner), Linda Christian (Bianca Milan), Jeanne Carmen (The Blonde Cultist), Neil Hamilton (Frank Lamont), Bruno Ve Sota (Lindell’s Sponsor), Ariadna Welter (Donna Trent), Gere Craft (Mary the Nurse), Julie Scott (Cult Member); Runtime: 71; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Alvis K. Bubis/Jack Miles; BCI Eclipse (Crown International); 1961)
“It might not be a classic but is still intriguing.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An old-fashioned supernatural tale directed with verve by William J. Hole Jr.(“Four Fast Guns”/”The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow“/”Hell Bound”). It might not be a classic but is still intriguing.
Rick Turner (Robert Alda, Alan’s dad) has a recurring nightmarish dream of a woman, Bianca Milan (Linda Christian), he has never met, who is dancing on clouds. His attention to these haunting dreams is driving a wedge between him andhis fiancée Donna Trent (Ariadna Welter).
Frank Lamont (Neil Hamilton), a voodoo high priest, runs a doll shop as a front for voodoo dancing and cultist ceremonies in the basement. Rick walks by the shop one day and his curiosity grows. The shop has a curio doll that looks just like the perfect woman doll that haunts Rick in his dreams. The dream girl doll urges Rick to participate in the basement devil worship, and he obliges. Rick observes in the sinister setting that a Russian roulette-like wheel of swords is used as an instrument for sacrifice.
When opportunity knocks for our boy, Rick has no problem selling his soul for wealth and power. He tells his dream girl: “You’re a she-devil, evil, but beautiful, fascinating!” This turning point in the story might have been handled better by a director looking for more far-reaching psychological angles rather than keeping things merely cultist friendly.
The low-budget horror pic might not have the greatest plot or the acting might not be the greatest, but as a B film it has a pleasing fast pace, it sets a captivating creepy mood, it’s goofy fun and refreshingly exploits a macabre scene of tortured voodoo dolls better than most such voodoo films. In other words, it’s a decent horror pic despite all the hokum and risible worshiper chants made by the faithful to the Satanic god Gamba.
REVIEWED ON 3/19/2015 GRADE: B-