HAND OF DEATH is a 1962 sci-fi/horror film, released by 20th Century Fox. The movie stars John Agar, but instead of his usual act of fighting monsters, here Agar becomes one.
Agar plays Alex Marsh, a scientist who is experimenting with nerve gases. Marsh is a hardworking, determined fellow, and he winds up exposing himself to a chemical agent. Marsh discovers that he literally has a hand of death--if he touches anyone, or if anyone touches him, that person instantly dies. Marsh tries to get the head of the research facility he works for to find an antidote, but his situation gets even worse--his entire body becomes bloated and swollen, and his skin becomes blackened and cracked. Needless to say, this causes his girlfriend (Paula Raymond) great concern. Marsh wanders about for a while, with the police on his trail, before things come to a head at his girlfriend's beachfront home.
What's striking about HAND OF DEATH is that it was released by a major studio, and it was shot in Cinemascope--yet it is only an hour long, and looks and feels very much like the low-budget science fiction stories made in the mid-1950s. There's more talk than action, and even when John Agar finally gets into full monster mode, he doesn't really do all that much, except stumble about. (Apparently it really was Agar underneath the monster makeup.)
That makeup is the most memorable thing about the film (see picture below). Why Agar turns into such a creature--or why he has a touch of death to begin with--isn't really explained. In my research on this movie, many have commented on the makeup's resemblance to the Marvel comic book character The Thing, which was debuted around the time this film was being made. It's ironic that the makeup looks like The Thing, since Agar's transformation due to a series of strange gases is very much like the origin story of a number of comic book heroes and villains.