Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974)

Article 3306 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-17-2010
Posting Date: 9-2-2010
Directed by Laurence Harvey
Featuring Laurence Harvey, Joanna Pettet, Stuart Whitman
Country: USA
What it is: Serial killer thriller

A female hitchhiker is invited to spend the night in the home of a Korean war veteran and his sister. When she discovers the man hacking a body with a cleaver, she escapes and tries to tell the police… but they won’t believe her.

If you were just to look at the title of the movie and know that the title tune was warbled by Lou Rawls, you might well expect it to be a drama with romantic overtones, and not a serial killer flick with cannibalistic overtones. I say overtones because the cannibalism is implied rather than made explicit, but that also may be due to the fact that my copy runs only 82 minutes, shorter than IMDB’s time of 85 minutes and much shorter than a Belgian video version that runs 99 minutes; in short, there’s something missing. I’m guessing that some of what’s missing involves a Korean war flashback that in my print is singularly uninformative. There are also a whole slew of other plot elements that are either abandoned or seem extraneous, such as the opening sequence with the hot rodder, the sheriff’s run for re-election, and the police investigation. Though these sequences do play a little into the plot, they are given far more emphasis and time than is necessary for the story as is. Perhaps the longer versions make better use of these elements, and perhaps not. At any rate, those elements did seem to promise a more complex story than we have here. Incidentally, this is Laurence Harvey’s last movie both as actor and director; he died of cancer before it was released.

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