The opening scene is pure genius.
A little boy named Matthew runs over his father with a tractor. Unfortunately the kid falls off and gets his hand severed by the tractor too. Flash forward a few years to Matthew as a young man in a mental institution and possessing a hook for a hand.
He gets word that his mother has remarried, so he escapes and goes to see her. Since he can’t stand it whenever somebody touches his mommy, he buries an axe in his stepfather’s chest and smashes his momma’s head on a rock. He flees from home and gets picked up hitchhiking by a couple on their honeymoon. When they stop by a stream, Matthew sees them “touching” and imagines that they’re his mom and stepdad, so he kills them. Later he meets and falls in love with a hooker (A HOOK-er, get it?) who moonlights as an artist and kills one of her sailor johns in a fit of jealous rage. To impress her, he tells her he lives in a mansion. To follow up on his claims, he finds a nearby mansion, worms his way inside and kills the black maid. In the film’s nuttiest scene (and that’s saying something) the octogenarian owner of the house attacks him with her cane, but Matthew smothers her with a pillow and kills her dog.
Matthew now claims ownership of the house and invites the hooker, (who he calls “Daisy”) over for dinner. She amicably agrees, but soon Matthew starts blabbering like a maniac and she starts to suspect that he might be a little off. When she tries to leave, Matthew ties her up and holds her prisoner and says the film’s best line, “See what I do for you, I get you groceries and clothes and art stuff and kill people! And do you appreciate it? NO! N-O!” A kindly doctor (Phantasm’s Angus Scrimm) comes snooping around the mansion and Matthew kills him too.
You’re probably wondering since Matthew has proven himself to be one of screedom’s more accomplished nutzos, why hasn’t he killed anyone with his patented hook hand? I mean it seems like a natural first rate murder weapon doesn’t it? (At least as handy as say, Freddy’s glove.) Patience gentle viewer, Matthew was just saving it for when Daisy tries to escape. He uses the hook to rip out her throat and we even get a nice shot of her larynx impaled upon it.
Of course visions of his mother come back to haunt him which drives him to run into a nearby church and commit suicide by using the hook to rip open his chest.
Now that’s what I call entertainment.
Yes, this overlooked and underappreciated gem proves the rule that emotionally unstable psychos with hooked hands and jealousy issues probably shouldn’t fall in love with hookers as it will only lead to heartache.
Fred Holbert as Matthew is excellent, making his character simultaneously sympathetic and “Oh no he didn’t!” crazy. There murder scenes are well done and appropriately bloody (though hardly “GORE-nography”) and the visions of the dead mother are simply done and oddly effective.
Don’t miss it! It’s the best Psycho with a Hooked Hand on a Rampage movie ever.
AKA: Claw of Terror. AKA: Matthew. AKA: The Captive Female.