Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Severed Arm (1973)

A man receives a parcel in the mail.  It turns out to be a severed arm, which I expect would be perturbing for anyone whose surname is not Frankenstein, but which is doubly troubling for him.

You see, as we will learn through the magic of flashback-o-rama, five years earlier he was the leader of a group of six men who became trapped in a cave-in.  After an extended period where their food and water became exhausted, he persuaded the others that they would have to chop off the arm of one of their number and eat it as a way of staving off starvation.

Of course, no sooner had they disarmed (rimshot) their screaming victim than they got rescued.  Oops.

Needless to say, the mutilated man didn't react too well to all this, and has spent the last five years in various mental institutions.  Now however it seems he has been released to his family.  And if the parcel is anything to go by, he's got revenge on his mind.

Our lead and his four other friends gather to discuss their options, but don't really come up with anything better than 'keep an eye out for one-armed would-be killers'.  Which given that their number includes a doctor and a policeman is not very impressive.

Anyway, one of them soon ends up getting his own arm hacked off, which prompts the lead and the cop to try and find their victim-turned-persecutor.  They don't have much luck in this regard, but they do meet his daughter and persuade her to help them try to find her father before he commits any more crimes.

You would think, sometime between recruiting the daughter and the point where all three of his other friends have ended up dead, that our lead (who is a writer, no less) would consider the idea that the young lady isn't as friendly as she appears.  Because Oh Em Gee, she's totally in on all this hacking and murdering.  Sorry if I just ruined the movie for you (spoiler: I'm not actually sorry).

The acting in the film is serviceable enough, and there's a kernel of genuine creepiness to the bad guys' master plan.  Alas, the script's not exactly spine-tingling and the kill scenes - while certainly not the worst I've seen - are not well staged.  The film's also very dark a lot of the time.  That all adds up to a fairly dull movie that doesn't give me any real reason to recommend it.

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