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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/TheHouseByTheCemetery http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hand_of_death.jpg]]]]

A particular shot commonly used in action flicks, gangster movies and murder mysteries. All that is shown is AnInsert of a hand or a pair of hands, and possibly the murder weapon itself. This gives a sense of building tension without revealing the murderer's identity. Sinister black gloves are optional.

Often, the character is [[TheSlowWalk walking slowly]]--one might say... [[OminousWalk ominously]]--with a gun in his hand, held down by his side. [[BadassLongcoat He may well be wearing a trenchcoat.]]

Common in slasher films. Even more common in {{Giallo}}.

Not to be confused with the TouchOfDeath.



[[folder: Film ]]

* Used in ''Film/{{Psycho}}'''s infamous shower scene. Creator/AnthonyPerkins wasn't on the set while it was filmed; he had an engagement elsewhere.
* ''Film/AShotInTheDark'' does this with several botched attempts at killing Clouseau.
* ''Film/{{Clue}}'' is full of these. Everyone seems to wear black gloves at one point or another.
* ''Film/TheUsualSuspects'' does a fair amount of this.
* Not only did Creator/DarioArgento use this trope a lot, he frequently [[InsertCameo donned the killer's black gloves himself for the inserts]]. In Germany, his ''Film/TheBirdWithTheCrystalPlumage'' was even [[MarketBasedTitle retitled]] ''The Secret of the Black Gloves''.
* Subverted masterfully in ''Film/TheSting''. The audience knows that an assassin named "Salino" has been assigned to kill Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford). From that point on, there are numerous shots of a pair of hands in purple gloves doing various things. In the final shot they are loading a revolver. It turns out that they ''aren't'' Salino's hands at all. [[spoiler:They are the hands of the bodyguard that Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) hired to keep an eye on Hooker. He shoots Salino.]]
* Gloved in proper classic black in ''Film/TheRadiolandMurders'' before some (but not all) of the titular hits. Appropriate since this was a homage to the radio era.
* Modernized in ''Film/RedDragon'' gloved in latex. Traces of talcum powder imply the murderer removed the gloves at the crime scene. Sure enough, a partial print is found.
* Used in ''Film/StrangeDays'', since we see the murders through a recording of the killer's perspective.
* Used for all the murders in the slasher parody ''Film/StudentBodies''.
* For most of ''Film/CircusOfFear'', the killer is only seen as a gloved hand.
* Subverted in the opening scene of ''Film/{{Charade}}'', where a gun pointed at the heroine by a black gloved hand turns out to be a child's water pistol.
* Used in ''Film/IronMan3'': Tony leans over, trying to reach Pepper, and the villain's hand bursts up out of the floor and tears the arc reactor right out of his suit.
* The Ripper is only seen as a pair of boots and a hand holding a knife until their true identity is revealed in ''Film/KnifeForTheLadies''.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''[[Literature/TheGraveyardBook "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife."]]''


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Parodied by ''Series/PoliceSquad''. We repeatedly see the killer's shoes as he walks, and we see his gloves and business suit sleeves as he sets up the bombs. When Drebin finally confronts the bomber, it turns out to be [[spoiler:the suspect's wife, still wearing the glove, sleeve and shoes... and otherwise dressed like a housewife]].
* Used frequently in ''Series/MidsomerMurders''.
* Also used frequently when showing the set-up to the murder in ''Series/WhodunnitUK''.
* A frequent occurrence in the BBC ''Literature/MissMarple'' adaptations.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The hand of the robot operator in "The Sontaran Experiment" is handled this way, to save his reveal for a cliffhanger.
** "The Brain of Morbius" introduces Solon with a shot of his hands as they cover the sculpture he's making of Morbius's face.
** This how the killer is depicted in the first episode of "Black Orchid", allowing for a dramatic reveal of his face in the second.
** Heavily overused in "The Five Doctors" for the person responsible for bringing everyone to the Death Zone, until their identity is revealed.
* Frequently used in the first season of ''Series/BronBroen'', with many shots of the killer's gloved hands driving a car or committing acts of violence. The later seasons used it much less.
* ''Series/MissFishersMurderMysteries'': A gloved hand is shown drawing a knife and advancing on Osman Efendi in "Death Do Us Part". A spray of blood informs the viewer of his fate.
* ''Series/FrontierCircus'': This technique is used in "Calamity Circus" to conceal the identity of the saboteur.
* ''Series/JonathanCreek'': How the killer is portrayed in "The Clue of Savant's Thumb": first stalking Joey and later [[DeathByLookingUp toppling a statue off the roof]].
* ''Series/TheDoctorBlakeMysteries'': In "Lucky Numbers", the kidnapper is only shown as a gloved hand until the reveal of his identity.


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* In ''Theatre/TheCatAndTheCanary'', a hand twice emerges from a hidden panel, first to [[spoiler:throttle Mr. Crosby]] and then later to [[spoiler:steal the necklace from around Annabelle's throat]].