Hand Of Power (Germany 1968)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: The Zombie Walks
Review Date: 10/23/11
Cast: Joachim Fuchsberger, Siw Mattson

A light-hearted murder mystery involving a "laughing corpse" that goes on a killing spree. The murderer wears a creepy skull mask and kills his victims with a very silly scorpion ring that injects an untraceable poison. Inspector Higgins of Scotland Yard (Joachim Fuchsberger) is assigned to the case, and is always one step behind a spirited young newspaper reporter named Peggy Ward (spunky Siw Mattson). A family fortune is at stake, and there are at least ten suspects who have a reason to kill for it. The plot keeps you guessing the entire time and does a good job of leading on, distracting, and confusing the audience. When the culprit is finally unmasked and the long-winded Scooby-Doo explanation is spelled out, the confusion remains. But all in all, it's a fun and entertaining ride. The idiotic superintendent of Scotland Yard, Sir Arthur, is extremely amusing, and nearly identical to the Scotland Yard buffoons in "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" (1971). I wonder if all Scotland Yard superintendents are portrayed this way? He has some choice lines like "this corpse is getting more press than The Beatles," and "fire immediately on any corpse you see."

The dubbing is mostly competent, but by the second half it gets increasingly bad. Sometimes, dialog isn't dubbed at all, but you can read the character's lips and mostly figure out what they're saying. There's also an entire sequence where Sir Arthur plays a record and ballet dances in his office, but there's no sound. For whatever reasons, the laughing corpse plays a recording that says "this is the voice of Edgar Wallace," which makes no sense. Especially if you're trying to scare people into thinking you're the walking dead. Edgar Wallace is the author of the story, but in the context of the film, it's complete nonsense.