Scary Silents: “The Hands of Orlac”

the_hands_of_orlac

Welcome back to “Scary Silents!” Our film today is a classic one, the 1924 Austrian film The Hands of Orlac, directed by Robert Wiene, starring Conrad Veidt (who also starred in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Man Who Laughs, incidentally), and based on a book by Maurice Renard. Not only is it wonderful and properly eerie, but the fact that it’s Austrian means I get to put umlauts on just EVERYTHING. Onwärd. (Sëe? It’s fün!)

Orlac was probably the first horror film to use the now well-worn trope of the “rogue transplanted body part,” seen in later films like The Hand (1981), The Eye (2002), Idle Hands (1999), and that watershed of horror cinema, Killer Tongue (1996). The basic plot revolves around world-renowned pianist Paul Orlac, who loses his hands in an accident because fate has a cruel sense of irony, then gets a set of transplanted hands from an executed murderer and begins to misbehave in spectacular ways as the hands’ murderous impulses take over his presumably perfectly good sense. As always, if you’d like to watch along with the Goddess, I got your link right hëre:

In the opener, we see Orlac’s wife Yvonne reading a letter from her beloved. He will be returning from his final concert the following evening, and she is super jazzed about him and his skillful pianist’s fingers returning to her side IFYOUKNOWWHATIMEAN. In the next scene, she’s getting ready to go pick him up at the train station, all twitterpated. She even takes some flowers for him, because these two like to keep romance alive, yo. But when she gets to the train station, everyone is milling around and freaking out, and she hears the words “accident” and the name of a town where the train derailed, so she runs right out to her driver and demands that he take her there. And I gotta say, I immediately really like Yvonne. When the car pulls up next to the horrible train accident, she leaps right out and climbs onto the train wreck, taking no heed of her own safety or her eighty layers of clothing, and starts looking for her husband. She’s a firecracker, that one. She finds Orlac and he’s alive! ALIVE! She gets some guys to help put him on a stretcher and take him to their car and drive him to the hospital, because I guess ambulances weren’t a thing in 1924.

In the next scene, we see her talking to the döctor, who tells her that Orlac’s skull is kinda jacked, but that it can probably be fixed with some gumption and copious amounts of duct tape. Bigger problem, though: You know those fingery things he had at the end of his arms? The things he played piano with and made all the money? Yeah, he kind of doesn’t have those anymore. Yvonne goes into full drama queen mode, swooning around and begging PLEASE SAVE HIS HANDS, HIS HANDS ARE HIS LIIIIIIIIIIFE and the doctor’s like, DAMMIT, JIM, I’M A DOCTOR, NOT A…OH, WAIT, THAT’S RIGHT, I’M A DOCTOR, I’LL SEE WHAT I CAN DO. His subsequent “meh” shrug doesn’t inspire much confidence, though, to be honest.

As Yvonne carries on with her theatrics, the döctor glances out the window and sees the body of executed murderer Vasseur fortuitously being unloaded from a carriage in the street below. You can almost see the wheels turning in his lumpy Austrian head: AHA! I HAVE ONE PATIENT WITH ZERO HANDS, AND THERE’S A DEAD GUY WHO WAS A MURDERER, SO PRESUMABLY HAD TWO HANDS, BECAUSE IF HE DIDN’T HAVE HANDS THEN WHAT DID HE DO THE MURDERING WITH? HIS FEET? HIS ELBOW? I MEAN, I GUESS THAT’S POSSIBLE, BUT IT WOULD JUST BE WEIRD. HAHA, KILLER ELBOW. ANYWAY. So he does the math (1 murderer {2 unused hands} – 1 pianist {0 hands} = 1 pianist {2 useful hands, yay}) and sets to wörk!

In the next scene, we see the döctors pulling off Orlac’s mummy wrappings like it’s Christmas morning, and Yvonne comes in to see her patched-up hubby and everything is just gonna be sunshine and roses from here on out, right? I mean, Orlac has murder-hands dangling from two of his limbs and all, but I don’t see how that could possibly go awry in any way. It’s a miracle of mödern science, is what it is. Yvonne and Orlac make gooey eyes at each other, and for a second I thought Yvonne was just gonna jump right onto the hospital bed and start riding him like a carousel horse, but then she starts cooing about his “tender, beautiful hands,” which at this point are still bandaged up. While she is otherwise occupied with the hand appreciation, Orlac happens to glance up and past her, and HOLY FUCK THERE IS A SCARY DISEMBODIED HEAD FLOATING UP NEAR THE CEILING.

'SUP, PIANO MAN.

‘SUP, PIANO MAN.

The head is smirking, and rather than simply wetting his jammies in terror like a normal person, Orlac has the wherewithal to realize that the head is specifically smirking at his brand new, factory-wrapped hands. He tells Yvonne and she turns to look, but of course the head has disappeared, so she just stares at him like he’s high.

The next day, Orlac is out on the balcony cönvalescing, holding his hands stiffly out before him like the first coming of Boris Karloff, and you can tell he hasn’t really gotten over the smirking floating head incident, because he’s asking the doctors WTF IS GOING ON UNDER THESE BANDAGES, YOU QUACKS and they’re like YOU’RE TRIPPING, LOOK, IMMA TAKE OFF THE BANDAGES AND YOU’LL SEE WHAT A SILLY PERSON YOU’RE BEING and they snip off the wrappings all professional-like and DUN DUN DUUUU – well, not really, there are just two ordinary looking hands under there. I’m not sure what Orlac was expecting, maybe that they were gonna be covered with fur or tipped with claws, or maybe he was just looking for warts or liver spots or something, but he’s giving the hands some major side-eye and asking the döctors whether he’ll be able to play the piano with these creepy things, and they say, sure, with perseverance one can overcome anything, even having murder-meat at the end of your wrists, and some other motivational horseshit. They leave, and Orlac stares at the hands so hard and for so long that I thought he was trying to set them on fire with his mind.

That night, his last one in the hospital before he gets to go home, Orlac has a dream wherein the floating head, now grown to wrecking-ball size, floats and looks pissed off above Orlac’s bed. Then we see a disembodied fist that descends toward the teeny little Orlac, and this is actually a pretty effective image.

GHOST FISTS WERE FAST AS LIGHTNING.

GHOST FISTS WERE FAST AS LIGHTNING.

Orlac wakes up and looks wildly around his expressionist hospital room, but nothing is there, so he lies back, relieved. But then he’s all HEY, WHAT’S THIS THING IN MY LAP, I DON’T REMEMBER MAKING A GROCERY LIST BEFORE I FELL ASLEEP, but turns out it’s a note from someone-or-other informing him that his fresh new hands belonged to a murderer. I was under the impression he already knew that, but I guess Orlac thought the doctors had popped his own hands back on him like fleshy Duplo blocks. No wonder he was so put out by the floating head. Orlac flips the fuck out and gets out of bed, trying to hold the hands as far away from himself as possible, and then he passes out. Man, everyone in these movies makes such a federal case out of everything. LOOK, YOU JUST HAVE SENTIENT KILLER-HANDS, GUY, SOME OF US HAVE REAL PROBLEMS.

got a booger on my finger and i can't get it off.

got a booger on my finger and i can’t get it off.

In the next scene, Orlac wanders stiffly into the döctor’s office and walks right past his desk like a weirdo, holding his hands rigid as though they’re covered in snot, and then he just stands there and stares with his sunken eyes, all IS IT TRUE, DO I HAVE MURDER-HANDS and the doc’s like YEAH, BUT DON’T THANK ME FOR SUCCESSFULLY REATTACHING SOME VERY DELICATE LIMBS OR ANYTHING, and then Orlac just stares and silently freaks out, veins threatening to burst out his forehead.

HNNNNNNNGGGGGGGG

HNNNNNNNGGGGGGGG

Meanwhile, Yvonne is preparing for Orlac’s return home, and has flowers for days. She can hardly wait the thirty minutes it will take before he arrives. SHE JUST CAN’T WAIT TO GET HER HANDS ON THOSE HANDS. Oh, and probably his other parts too, which are presumably not murderous. I hear his spleen is a bit of a bastard, though.

Angsty Orlac decides that his iniquitous appendages will not be allowed to touch another person, which will likely make Yvonne’s vagina reassess its life situation. I’m sort of digging the idea of everyone’s body parts in this movie having their own separate desires and motivations, so I’m just gonna pretend that’s what’s going on. Orlac tries to put his wedding ring on his new hand, but it doesn’t fit, because aside from being a murdering scumbag, Vasseur evidenly also suffered from fingular gigantism. This scene actually kind of gave me the sads for some reason. Orlac slips the ring in his pocket and heads dejectedly home to greet his wife. She gives him a flower, but he just stands there staring with his hands by his sides, and he won’t even hug her or anything, and she’s a bit put out, understandably. Her vagina begins to whisper to her that perhaps they should start considering other options.

In the next scene, Orlac slooooooowly approaches his piano and begins to play, as his wife watches stealthily from the doorway. There isn’t any dialogue, but it looks like it’s not going too well, because Orlac slumps back and puts the cover back down over the keys. His wife creeps up from behind and embraces him, telling him she loves him, because Yvonne is just a sweetheart, yes she is. Orlac kinda reaches for her, clearly wanting to embrace her in return, but he holds back, not wanting to touch her with Vasseur’s icky murder-tainted hands. She hugs and kisses the hell out of him anyway, and it’s all very tragic. Seriously, it is a pretty affecting scene, because how weird would it be to be doing stuff you used to do with hands that hadn’t previously belonged to you? That’s some straight up body dysmorphia shit right there.

MUST…NOT…CRUSH…WIFE'S…HEAD…

MUST…NOT…CRUSH…WIFE’S…HEAD…

Then, a shifty-looking Orlac stops by a newspaper shop and asks the clerk if she got him the paper from January 15th. She’s all FUCK YEAH I HOOKED YOU UP and he passes her the money like he’s scoring PCP. Then he goes to a dark-as-hell café and sits down to read it. The article he’s interested in, obviously, is about Vasseur being taken to court, and relevant information includes the fact that Vasseur pleaded not guilty, but that his FINGERPRINTS (*dramatic gopher*) were all over just everything, including the body, the walls, the kitty, the toilet seat, a half-eaten Reuben in the fridge, and the vaulted ceilings, somehow. More significantly, the “treacherous” prints decorated the murder weapon, a knife with an X on the handle, and thus was Vasseur sent to his fate. Orlac rides a major bummer about this, and then has a vision of a hand stabbing a dude in the heart while the confused café owner gives him the stinkeye, probably wondering if he’s got a potential dine and dash on his hands. (Pun intended and immediately apologized for.)

Orlac skulks home, but when he gets there, he sees an X-handled knife stuck in the door. He reaches for it and I thought it was gonna disappear, but nope, he snatches it right up, which leads me to believe that someone is fucking with him at this point. Maybe Yvonne isn’t quite as awesome as I imagined her to be and is trying to drive her husband batshit so she can have him committed and take all his dough. DAMN THOSE SILENT FILM FEMME FATALES. Orlac hides the knife inside the piano and goes through another CURSE YOU HANDS tirade.

The next scene shows a distraught Yvonne in her nightie, writing a letter that’s making me go WHUT because it’s saying stuff like I DON’T WANT TO OBEY YOU and DON’T COME AGAIN and YOU CAN KILL ME BUT I’M NOT DOING YOUR TERRIBLE SHIT ANYMORE and stuff like that. So maybe someone ELSE is fucking with Orlac and forcing Yvonne to be complicit? I’m sorry I doubted you, Yvonne. You’re clearly just a cog in the man’s machine, girl.

Next, Orlac is lurking around his house again with his hands outstretched like a freak, and really he should quit doing that because it’s not helping matters. The hands make him retrieve the knife out of the piano. Yvonne hears Herr CrazyHands messing about and goes into the music room to find him thrusting the knife at thin air. You know, for practice. She’s all WTF, YOU’VE CHANGED, MAN and he’s all GET OUTTA HERE ‘FORE THESE HANDS THROW DOWN ON YOU KNIFE-STYLE and she  flees the room and descends into her patented histrionics. Then Orlac tries to stab his own hand, but the other hand is like NOPE, WE A TEAM, SON and makes him drop the knife. Orlac collapses, again, because he just can’t even.

Then we see the maid having a complete nervous breakdown as a man in a black cloak and hat approaches her in the house. She tells him the same stuff that was in the letter, that she wasn’t going to obey him anymore, and wait a minute, was that her or Yvonne writing that letter a couple scenes back? The two women look sort of similar, especially with all that thick 1920s silent-movie eye makeup. I guess I’ll figure it out at some point. The man gets all up on her threatening-like and we finally see his face, and I think it’s the same guy whose head was whizzing around Orlac’s hospital room, who I had thought was supposed to be Vasseur’s ghost, but I guess not…? Is Vasseur alive but just lay there playing possum while the döctors lopped his hands off? WHAT NEFARIOUS PLOT IS THIS?!? Creepy Maybe-Vasseur is all IMMA CALL HIS DAD IF YOU WON’T TALK HIM INTO THIS SHIT and the maid is all NOOOO DON’T WANNA and then Maybe-Vasseur tells her to “seduce his hands” (um, okay, I guess some people are into that) and the maid slouches off a little way before turning back to him and going DO I GOTTA and he’s all YUP, and then the maid comes into Orlac’s music room, where Orlac is moping on the couch in his usual state of existential misery. SO HEY, THOSE ARE SOME SEXY-ASS HANDS YOU GOT THERE and Orlac’s all THE HELL YOU DOING WOMAN but then he reaches for her and puts his hands on her head, one on top of the other, and even though he’s not really moving them I guess he’s like massaging her head to death because her eyes get as big as billiard balls and she’s like YOUR HANDS ARE HURTING ME CUT THAT SHIT OUT so I guess the hands maybe have some kind of magical retracting spikes or a powerful electric current or something. Which would actually be pretty rad. Orlac is all MY BAD and pulls his hands away in horror before sprinting out of the room. Then the maid collapses, because evidently there’s a carbon monoxide leak somewhere in the house that causes everyone to drop like potato sacks at the slightest distress.

JUST GO AHEAD AND FAINT, YOU KNOW YOU WANNA.

JUST GO AHEAD AND FAINT, YOU KNOW YOU WANNA.

Orlac busts into his döctor’s office with his hands splayed crazily outward and is all FETCH YOUR BONESAW, PHYSICIAN, AND KINDLY REMOVE THE OFFENDING ANATOMICAL COMPONENTS and the doctor just looks at him like ARE YOU KIDDING DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT WAS TO SEW THOSE ON but really all the title card says is “the creditors,” which makes no damn sense at all. Is he implying that Orlac would want his money back for the hand-attaching surgery and the doc is all NO REFUNDS MATE, or is he saying that if Orlac doesn’t have any hands at all, then he won’t be able to play piano and won’t be able to make any scratch to pay his creditors? I don’t get Austrian medicine.

After this baffling scene, there’s a shot of Yvonne praying in a chair as four barbers (?) stand behind her holding towels at the ready. She asks for another month, so I guess the barbers are the creditors, all arrayed there like an old-timey dance troupe asking for money. Still doesn’t explain the towels, though. They all shake their heads NOPE in unison, so I guess that answers her question. If this had been a talkie I would have expected the barbers to sing NO WAY JOSE in perfect four-part harmony.

Then Orlac is still in the döctor’s office trying to pull off the hands and going YOU GOTTA UNDERSTAND, DOC, THE HANDS WANT BLOOOOOOOOD and the doc is all YOU SO CRAZY and then I guess the carbon monoxide followed Orlac to the doctor’s office, because he collapses in a heap across the desk.

The creditors NOPE Yvonne again, and then we’re back with the doc, who is all UH, YOUR BRAIN IS IN CHARGE OF YOUR HANDS, DUMMY, THAT’S LIKE BIOLOGY 101 and Orlac’s like BUT…BUT…MURDER HANDS and then Yvonne talks the barbers into one more day, and Orlac sags out of the doctor’s office because DOCTORS JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND.

Next, Yvonne commands the maid BRING ME MY COAT JEEVES I’M OFF TO PROSTRATE MYSELF BEFORE MY FATHER-IN-LAW, who is super wealthy and can presumably give them some money to pay the sinister barbers and their debt-towels. Maid’s all DON’T DO IT, GIRL, ORLAC SENIOR IS A HATER but Yvonne just looks all huffy and determined. We next see her knocking at the door of Herr Orlac Dad, and this spooky old man pokes his head out and says he’s not allowed to let anyone in, especially not anyone from THERE, which I guess means Orlac’s house, that den of iniquity where a respectable pianist lives in relative comfort with his loving wife and faithful maidservant. Hedonists. But plucky Yvonne manages to charm her way in and they make their way down this long, arched hallway which is dark and completely devoid of furniture, which seems like a waste of some prime square footage. At least install some bookshelves or something. Even a suit of armor would liven up the place.

Frankenbutler leads Yvonne to another empty room where another old man is sitting on some kind of throne (no, not THAT kind, gross). She’s all HEY, YOU KNOW HOW YOUR SON LOST HIS MONEY-MAKIN HANDS IN AN ACCIDENT AND COULD YOU PUT ON YOUR DECENT DUDE PANTS AND BORROW US A COUPLE BUCKS but of course Orlac Dad is a stone-cold Republican who just mumbles something about bootstraps and welfare queens before dozing off in front of Fox News. Yvonne’s tears and pleas fail to penetrate his scab-encrusted shell of hatred and bitterness, and he takes great pleasure in telling her NOPE, ALWAYS HATED THAT KID, HOPE Y’ALL STARVE and Yvonne is all WHY YOU GOTTA BE A BITCH THAT WAY and leaves empty-handed.

Orlac, unaware that his wife has been trying to help him by appealing to the non-existent humanity of his buttheaded Y-chromosome contributor, is staring longingly at some of his old records. Startled by the maid, he breaks one, and then the maid is all up in Yvonne’s face saying YOU SHOULD TELL ORLAC TO GO SEE HIS DAD, THAT SHOULD TOTALLY GO WELL, and Yvonne is all SOMEHOW I DOUBT THAT, but the maid has some kind of plot going with the whizzing head fellow, so she gotta play her part in the drama. Orlac is mooning over the letter he wrote to his wife just before the accident, marveling over what his handwriting used to look like. He picks up a quill and starts to write with the murder-hands, and the writing is all jacked-looking, quite unlike his previously perfect Palmer script. Somewhere, a penmanship teacher gives him a virtual rap across the knuckles with a ruler.

Yvonne tells Orlac to go see his dad before they’re down to their last pack of ramen, and in the face of his reluctance, she’s all DUDE, YOUR DAD IS A DICK, AND ALSO, IT’S COLD IN HERE, HOW ABOUT WE TURN UP THE HEAT, OH THAT’S RIGHT WE CAN’T BECAUSE WE’RE BROKE BECAUSE YOUR DAD IS A DICK. Orlac flexes his hands and looks all tweaked when she starts to cry, so you can probably guess where this is going.

The murder-hands knock at Orlac Dad’s door, and Orlac goes inside. He makes his way down the expressionist hallway of doom and then the hands begin pulling him toward the throne room (no, not THAT one). On the floor, he finds his dad deader than Vaudeville with the X-handled knife poking out of his chest. He’s all WAIT, DID I DO THAT and streaks away to report the murder to the police, who follow him back to the house and are all like WTF IS WITH VASSEUR’S KNIFE and then the inspector is Sherlocking about the place with his magnifying glass, and can somehow tell that the fingerprints all over the table belong to Vasseur also, since I guess he spent so long looking at those damn prints during the investigation that he’s memorized every arch and whorl. Orlac looks on from the shadows, losing his shit.

The manservant shows the police a letter he received that told him his sister was ill and that he had to come see her, which is written in Vasseur’s handwriting and was apparently a ploy to get him out of the house while all that patricide was going on. The investigators are befuddled, but the main guy is actually pretty on the ball because he’s all VASSEUR KICKED THE BUCKET YEARS AGO (I thought it was just like a couple months, but okay) BUT HIS HANDS ARE STILL KILLIN’ which seems like a weird conclusion to come to on the evidence presented, but I’ll give him a pass because he’s probably right this time. Orlac hides his hands behind him, whistling and trying to look inconspicuous as he slooooowly backs out of the house.

As he’s creeping through the streets, he’s approached by whizzing head guy, who asks him to follow. They go to a tavern or something and sit down. Orlac’s like THE FUCK ARE YOU and head guy says YOU GETTIN ALL YO DADDY’S MONEY, GIMME SOME OF THAT SHIT and Orlac’s like YOU SERIOUS? YOU ALL FLOATING AROUND IN MY DREAMS AND SHIT AND ALL YOU WANTED WAS MONEY? THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM and he laughs and laughs at the absurdity of it all, and head guy smirks and says I DID IT FOR MY HANDS, MAN, so I guess this is Vasseur and he’s alive somehow, PRAISE JEEEEZUS! He pulls his arms out from under his cloak and they look like they’re made of wood from elbow to fingertip. He explains that he really is Vasseur, and that he really was executed when they said he was, but that the same doc who replaced Orlac’s hands TOTALLY GAVE VASSEUR A HEAD TRANSPLANT, so where’s this döctor’s Nobel Prize, is what I’d like to know. Head transplant is pretty hardcore. Vasseur’s all CHECK OUT THIS BOSS NECK SCAR and Orlac suddenly isn’t laughing anymore. I have to say at this point, though, that this is a REALLY convoluted way of extorting someone out of a million francs, you know? Don’t get me wrong, I’m no criminal mastermind, so I’m not judging. It just seems like there would be easier ways of going about this.

a man. a plan. a wooden hand.

a man. a plan. a wooden hand.

So Vasseur is all GIMME THE MONEY OR I’M GONNA TELL ERRYBODY WHO KILLED YOUR DAD and Orlac’s all UM…WHO DID KILL MY DAD BTW and Vasseur’s all DUH, YOU DID and Orlac’s like FUNNY, I DON’T RECALL DOING THAT, WE’LL HAVE TO AGREE TO DISAGREE and Vasseur’s like MY FINGERPRINTS ARE ALL OVER JUST EVERYTHING, EVEN IN THAT LITTLE GAP UNDER THE STOVE, HOW DO YOU THINK I MANAGED THAT, BITCH I’M MAGIC and Orlac’s all K, PRETTY GOOD TRICK I GOTTA ADMIT, BUT FOR REAL, HOW THE FUCK YOU DO THAT and Vasseur just smirks and drinks and won’t tell him, but is all EVEN IF YOU DIDN’T DO IT YOU CAN’T PROVE SHIT, ALL EVIDENCE POINTS TO YOU, SUNSHINE and then Orlac seems to have a brainwave vis-a-vis proving his innocence, and departs the bar while Vasseur looks after him with the smuggest expression ever to grace a transplanted head.

Orlac races home and begins rummaging around in his piano, presumably looking for the knife which would prove he didn’t kill his dad, but you don’t think Magic Armless Wonder Vasseur was THAT sloppy, do you? The knife isn’t there, of course, and Orlac’s all WELL THERE GOES MY PLAN, BETTER BRUSH UP ON MY PRISON LINGO and collapses yet again. Yvonne rushes to his side and he’s all I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS and she’s all WTF IS GOING ON, BABE, YOU SEEM EXTRA DEMENTED TODAY and he’s all THE HANDS ARE MAKING ME DO BAD SHIT and the maid listens to them from behind the closed door. Yvonne’s all THERE THERE, MAMA WILL MAKE IT BETTER and she pulls his hands to her breast and he pulls them away, all NOPE, DON’T TEMPT THEM, THEY GOT A MIND OF THEIR OWN FOR REAL, and the maid listens guiltily. Orlac says that he has to give Vasseur the money, but Yvonne’s all TELL THE PROSECUTOR EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED and Orlac’s like YOU CRAY? THEY WON’T BELIEVE THIS SHIT and she grabs his hand and is all like THEY’LL BELIEVE YOU LIKE I BELIEVE YOU, and I’m just like, damn. Good ol’ Yvonne. She’s a keeper, that girl.

We next see Orlac and Yvonne in their Sunday best, meeting with the inspectors. He tells them the whole loony story, even acting out some parts, and the inspectors are like PULL THE OTHER ONE, CHUM and snicker at each other like assholes before writing out an arrest warrant. One of the inspectors is like YEAH, THANKS FOR THAT, and I thought he was being sarcastic, but maybe he does kinda believe Orlac, because he tells him to take the money to Vasseur that evening and they’ll take care of things from there. And lickety-split, that’s what happens: Orlac goes to the bar, Vasseur waggles his wooden arms at him, and then all the cops jump out of the shadows, guns drawn. One of the inspectors says that the guy calling himself Vasseur is really a Mr. Nera, who is the accomplice of the doctor who did the transplant, a known crook named Dr. Serral. The inspector then pulls the wooden arms off Pretend-Vasseur and shows that he has normal arms just like everyone else. So I guess he never got a head transplant either. What a gyp. It’s all very Scooby Doo, but there are still unanswered questions! Orlac’s dad is still dead, and the fingerprints found at the scene still belonged to the dead Vasseur, SO EXPLAIN THAT ONE, FLATFOOT. ORLAC STILL GOT VASSEUR’S MURDER-HANDS. So Orlac gets arrested  for murder anyway.

But just then, Maid Deus Ex Machina runs in and says, NOPE, NERA WAS THE MURDERER TOO and everyone’s like HOW THE FUCK DOES THAT WORK and she’s all PIPE DOWN, IMMA TELL YOU. Turns out that Nera made wax casts of Vasseur’s fingertips before he died, and made rubber gloves with those fingerprints on them, and the maid then produces the gloves, and holy SHIT, this is even more complicated than I thought. Couldn’t Nera just have…I dunno, kidnapped Yvonne and ransomed her, or something? This kind of criminality takes COMMITMENT, man. And how does that explain how Nera was appearing as the floating head and the gigantic kung-fu fist? That dude’s got some serious connections in the afterlife, I guess.

Oh, and also it turns out that Vasseur wasn’t even really a killer at all, since Nera used the Vasseur-gloves to kill the guy whose murder sent Vasseur to the gallows in the first place. The plot has thickened so much at this point that it’s totally like that ketchup commercial from the 70s with that Carly Simon song where the ketchup was so thick it like wouldn’t even come out of the bottle, you guys. So now Orlac is all like HOORAY, I DON’T HAVE MURDER HANDS I HAVE HAPPY HANDS and Yvonne collapses, predictably, and everyone lives happily ever after, except for Vasseur, who was wrongly executed, and Orlac Dad, who was stabbed but also kind of a dick, and Nera, who’s going to prison but who cares because fuck him. Orlac runs his hands all over his wife’s face and smooches the hell out of her, and my heart, she is well and truly warmed. Awwww.

Stay tuned for more of my “Scary Silents” series, same bat time, same bat blog. Until next time, Goddess oüt.

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