A severed hand is the lower extremity of the forearm of a human being, and in some cases, an animal, that is no longer attached to the body. Severed hands may come about as a result of amputation, but in most cases, they are perpetuated through violent acts. Serial killers such as Jason Voorhees, may liberate a victim of their hands through a variety of bladed weapons like machetes, while others may lose their limbs through other means.
In 1963, Joseph F. Robertson produced The Crawling Hand, which was directed by Herbert L. Strock. The premise of the movie involves the severed hand of a dead astronaut that is discovered by a college student after it washes up on the shore. It takes possession of him and begins slowly killing the residents of a small town.
In The Addams Family mythos, a living severed hand known as Thing T. Thing (generally just referred to as "Thing") was a member of the Addams household and could be trusted to carry out routine functions. The hand was capable of locomotion by crawling about on its fingers and mustered enough strength that it could even propel itself short distances. The origins of these disembodied phlanges is unclear and it is even possible that the hand may have always existed as a single entity, having never been a part of a larger organism at all.
In the 1987 film Evil Dead II, the central protagonist Ash Williams had the misfortune of having his hand possessed by a demonic entity. The hand rebelled against it's owner and tried to kill Ash by bludgeoning him with random household items including dinner plates. Ash was forced to chop the offending organ off, but the hand, still possessed, continued it's efforts to kill him. Fortunately for Ash, he managed to survive the encounter.
On the AMC television series The Walking Dead, the character of Merle Dixon was handcuffed to a pipe on an Atlanta rooftop during a zombie outbreak. To free himself, he was forced to severe his hand with a hacksaw and cauterize the wound using the flame from a downstairs gas stove. (Walking Dead: Vatos)
Even watered-down horror fare such as MTV's Scream: The Series will occasionally boast a bloody severed hand. Ex-high school teacher Seth Branson learned this the hard way. The masked Ghostface killer cut off his right hand, then cauterized the stump with a hot iron. At least he got all the wrinkles out. (Scream: Jeepers Creepers) He then taunted Branson's lover, Karen Lang, with the hand by holding it and waving to her. (Scream: Let the Right One In)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Life Serial - Severed mummy hand at the Magic Box.
- Spawn: The Dark Ages 6 - Lord Covenant cuts off Guy DuBlanc's hand.