The Severed Arm (1973)

Article 3853 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-21-2012
Posting Date: 3-2-2012
Directed by Thomas S. Alderman
Featuring Deborah Walley, Paul Carr, David G. Cannon
Country: USA
What it is: Psycho killer revenge movie

When six men are trapped in a mine and are facing starvation, they draw lots to see who will give up a limb so they can eat. Minutes after the loser has his arm cut off, they are rescued, and lie about the reason the arm was amputated. The amputee swears revenge. Five years later, after the amputee is released from a mental hospital, someone begins cutting the arms off of the other men trapped in the mine…

This movie has a pretty poor reputation, and I’ll admit there are definite problems here; there are flaws in the script, the acting is merely functional at best, there’s some pretty stupid behavior going on (Why do some of the survivors try to rely on the help and advice of a relative of the alleged killer? Why does a man going to a mill in expectation that he will be attacked by the killer investigate the place while keeping all the lights off?), and the movie gives away its biggest plot twist by keeping the face of the killer in the shadows despite the fact that we meet the alleged killer in person fairly early in the story. Yet, I think there’s some decent things about this one. I like the basic premise, it does come up with some interesting suspense-generating ideas (I like the sequences where a man who may be attacked at any moment finds himself in an elevator that has a stop on every floor before he reaches his destination), and though the movie is a bit slow-moving, I never really found myself bored with it. So I’m calling this one a bit of a mixed bag, but I think overall it is worth a look.


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