A Dire Portent Indeed – The Severed Arm (1973)

More than anything else, The Severed Arm is a very boring film. It sounds great and the title is apt as the entire movie revolves around severed arms and one in particular, but that is about as far as it goes. It all begins with some cave explorers who get trapped and after weeks of being so, they run out of food and water. To get by, it is suggested that they turn cannibal and consume a piece of one of them so that they might hold on a little longer in case they do happen to get rescued. Suffice it to say, they draw straws, do the deed and are then promptly discovered and saved with the men immediately regretting their actions and one man less an arm.

For a slasher, this movie was somewhat disappointing and definitely slow-moving and over-long by at least half an hour. There are long stretches of film where little happens and it feels like one has been watching it for days when this happens. The best bits just so happen to bookend the film, that being the beginning when the men are all trapped in the cave and the surprise ending which was a bit of poetic justice when it all comes down to it. If the pace had just picked up a bit, the kills been a bit bloodier and coming far more often than they did, the picture might have been far better than it was. The acting was not all that terrible, though neither was it all that good and overall, the picture had a very grimy quality about it, not necessarily a bad thing but given the turgid nature of it all, only lent to the tediousness of it all.

Despite having a strong title and an even better concept, The Severed Arm fell apart in execution, at least when it came to everything between the first and last act. Seek out something else and avoid this stinker unless a slasher completest.

1 out of 5

2 replies »

  1. Marvin Kaplan had some hilarious asides as a radio DJ, and the device of receiving threatening phone calls that originate inside the station predates not only 1979’s WHEN A STRANGER CALLS but especially 1974’s BLACK CHRISTMAS.

    Liked by 1 person

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