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Name That Trauma :: Reader Mike M. on a Psycho Pianist

November 14th, 2011 by aunt john · 5 Comments

Dear Kindertrauma:

How’re you doing, folks? I’d like to track down a movie I saw a bit of as a kid that burned into my brain. The movie, as I recall, was an “Orlac’s Hands” kind of thing, with a brilliant pianist who somehow loses the ability to play… which of course makes him a dangerous psychopath who goes off with the slightest provocation. He goes to call on somebody, all normal and not-crazy-acting, and the only person at home is a little All-American kid of about 8 or 10. The kid says that the person the injured -hand/former pianist guy is looking for is out, and the kid and the pianist sit down at the piano in the living room to kill time until the person in question comes home.

This is a very, very, bad idea.

The kid plays the piano, and does a pretty good job tickling the ivories. Then the formerly brilliant pianist tries to play, and botches it. The kid says, “Gee, you’re not very good, Mister!” Whereupon, the former pianist grabs the kid’s hands in his own and crushes them, gibbering and shouting about how great he used to be, and the kid is screaming, screaming, screaming at the top of his lungs and the camera is tight on kid’s face in agony. We cut to the next scene, the cops are there, and it turns out the kid died from his injuries.

It was a very cheap-looking, black and white number with a low-rent, 1950s vibe. Any help you guys could provide would be huge.


Mike M.

Tags: Name That Trauma!

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 PropagatrixNo Gravatar // Nov 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Sounds like HANDS OF THE STRANGLER to me!

  • 2 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Nov 14, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    or ‘Hands Of A Stranger’ … a knockoff of ‘Hands of Orlac’ aka ‘Hands of a Strangler’

  • 3 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Nov 15, 2011 at 12:58 am

    You can watch ‘Hands Of A Stranger’ here:
    The scene with the kid starts about 50 minutes into it.

  • 4 Princess FluffernutterNo Gravatar // Nov 15, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Or if you prefer, this link will take you directly to the scene:

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Nov 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks for the links folks!

    That’s gotta be it and it’s pretty easy to see why that scene was traumatic!

    I’m going to now be more cautious when critiquing people’s piano playing and not say things like “Gee, mister you really stink.”

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