Day 11 of the NOFS 31-day horror challenge is horror comedy. I had trouble with this just because there are so many good ones to choose from. I decided to choose Idle Hands mostly because I have it physically and I can grab it easily. I’ve seen it well over 50 times, because I use to have it on VHS and have recently gotten the Scream Factory collector’s edition. I feel like its such a fun watch and it feels like a fun little snapshot of the world at the time, even if that snapshot is seen through the lens of a horror comedy.
Idle Hands was directed by Rodman Flender. It was written by Teri Hughes and Ron Milbauer. It stars Devon Sawa, Seth Green, Elden Henson, Jessica Alba, Vivica A. Fox, and Jack Noseworthy. This was during the time where Devon Sawa was kind of one of the it guys in movies, and it was a good time. This really showcases Sawa’s comedic talents, especially physical comedy. He also has great chemistry with Green and Henson where you feel like they’ve been friends for years. Vivica A. Fox brings an intensity to her role. She channels the intensity into an energy at times.
Spoilers inbound. Watch the movie for yourself.
Idle Hands opens with an older couple, the Tobiases, in bed and they are eventually killed. Their son, Anton, wakes up the next morning and is oblivious to anything that has happened. He yells to tell his mom that they’re out of milk and dog food. He calls his friend Pnub to try and get some weed. He goes out to Pnub’s house and tries to get weed in person, this time getting the idea of mixing nutmeg and oregano from his friend Mick. Anton sees his crush, Molly, go by and lose her lyric notebook. He returns it after some awkwardness. He does try the concoction that Mick suggested, and it does not go well for him. He then makes a sandwich without paying attention because he uses a bloody knife. He interacts with his dog in a funny way during this, and eventually finds his parent’s dead bodies. Mick and Pnub come by and are eventually murdered by Anton’s right hand. Anton finds his way back at Molly’s house, after flinging his cat out the window. Anton’s hand makes Molly think that he’s being forward. After restraining his hand, they hook up. Anton goes back home and buries his parents and friends. His friends reanimate and knock him out. Anton wakes up and realizes that everything the previous night actually happened. Anton eventually gets some “help” from a neighbor, Randy, about his hand. He takes up knitting to keep his normally lazy self occupied. He kills two cops after they respond to a noise complaint. Anton decides to cut off his possessed hand, which he eventually does. He microwaves it after a short fight. Molly comes by to get him for the school dance. He convinces her to go and he’ll come later. Mick and Pnub accidentally release the hand which has targeted Molly. While this is happening, Randy meets and teams up with Debi, someone hunting the force possessing Anton’s hand. The hand kills three people at the school. Debi tries to kill Anton but stops when he shows her that he no longer has the hand. The hand kills the singer for the band playing at the dance which leads to chaos. Molly and her friend escape through a vent, which leads to the friend’s death. Anton eventually saves Molly and Debi vanquishes the hand. The movie ends with Anton in the hospital, after being squished by a pneumatic car lift, and Mick and Pnub as his guardian angels, who are still messing with him.
I want to mention the credit sequence at the beginning. It is incredibly creep, especially paired with the main theme for the movie. The entire score that Graeme Revell did is fantastic. The practical effects are really good. The final version of the hand is gnarly and gruesome. It’s also helped by it being played by Christopher Hart. The digital effects while dated don’t look any worse than some movies now.
Idle Hands is a fun movie. There really isn’t all that much else that I can say, without repeating myself. Horror comedies can be hit or miss, and thankfully this is a hit. Even if critics didn’t necessarily like it much. I will give Idle Hands 9 possessed hands out of 10.