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Doctor Who: The Hand of Fear


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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Warner
  • VHS Release Date: Oct. 7 2003
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004WG78
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,485 in Video (See Top 100 in Video)

Customer Reviews

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Format: VHS Tape
In Sarah Jane Smith's last adventure with the Doctor, she goes through a bit in the first two episodes. One, she is buried under a pile of rubble, when she and the Doctor accidentally stray near a quarry that is been dynamited. Two, she is possessed by a strange fossilized hand that is uncovered during said blasting that leads her to say "Eldrad must live." Three, she has lots of fun going around firing a blue light from a ring at anyone who tells her to stop. And four, are you ready for this... she locks herself and the hand in the outer chamber of the radioactive core at the Nunton Power Complex. I've heard of A Boy And His Dog, but A Girl And Her Hand? Hmm... But as Liz Sladen (Sarah) was with the series for three seasons, script-editor Robert Holmes thus made that part of the story central to Sarah.
The Doctor hypothesizes that the hand, originating from a silicon-based lifeform, is alive and is using radiation to regenerate itself. That does explain why Sarah comes out of the radiation chamber alive and well despite being exposed to enough radiation to kill a school of whales. But who or what is Eldrad?
There is a scene when the director of Nunton, Professor Watson, phones his wife and tells her in a calm voice that he may be delayed. He lies that there is nothing wrong and to kiss the children for him. This is when it looks like the facility might undergo meltdown. At the end of the call, his expression is one having resigned to the fact that he might well die before the day is over. This is Glyn Houston's best part in his role as Watson.
The crystalline costume for Eldrad is quite a beaut, which is clearly a blue-gray body suit with crystals and metal pieces attached to resemble a clump of jewels at various points.
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Format: VHS Tape
Bob Baker and Dave Martin seemed to have a knack for embedding catchphrases into the minds of their viewers: these are the same guys that gave us "Contact Has Been Made" (The Invisible Enemy), and "The Quest is The Quest" (Underworld). Here the catchphrase is the simple imperative: "Eldrad Must Live." By the end of chapter two, this mantra has been repeated at least once by every principal cast member, building up to the moment when we finally get a look at this Eldrad character -and SHE is not at all what we expected!
The episode kicks off by making fun of the series itself: the TARDIS materializes in what looks like yet another rock quarry --Sarah immediately concludes that they have once again gone astray and landed on some remote alien planet. The joke is, of course, that they have in fact arrived in present-day England...in an actual rock quarry!
The first half of the story plays out in the present day, with the Doctor interacting with ordinary everyday characters in a hospital, a pathology lab, and a nuclear reactor complex --certainly no clue is given as to the long-ago and far-distant goings-on of the planet Kastria and the fate of its people. Eldrad goes from being a fright element that possesses people (in two cases, to their deaths), to an actual multifaceted --even passionate-- character who elicits some audience sympathy, then finally into a stomping, shouting, villain who only dreams of conquest --the sort of shallow character with which Sarah and the Doctor are altogether too familiar, thank you. Perhaps the Kastrians knew something about themselves and their nature that Eldrad was never willing to accept?
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Format: VHS Tape
This story begins with a death sentence to be carried out on an alien found guilty of a most treacherous act which is not carried out exactly according to plan.
Switch to the quarry, a bit of an in-joke after all of the Pertwee years where the quarry seemed to become an almost required set. It is ironic too that the alien story element is actually a silicon based lifeform!
In the last Sarah Jane Smith story, I believe that she was the longest serving of the Doctor's companions, the story involves regeneration of an alien life-form through the consumption of radiation from a nuclear power station despite military intervention which, as always, is ineffective. The story is reminiscent of the old horror movie of the hand which has a life of it's own but in a different way. The alien life form when recreated has a strange beauty and a believable tale to tell convincing the Doctor to return it to it's own planet.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the usual story of treachery and deceit is relived again with an interesting transformation of form once again and a twist in the tale.
This story is not apparently as dark a tale as the others under Philip Hinchcliffe's excellent production. On closer inspection however, this is a story of genocide, but it is not really explored sufficiently. It is also like the Egyptian theme of 'Pyramids of Mars' and the story of Horus and Osiris. A stunning contrast to the 'Masque of Mandragora' which precedded it and to the 'Deadly Assassin' which followed it, this is certainly an interesting story.
Just one thing, it always irritated me about Elisabeth Sladen wearing those Andy Pandy overall things.
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