Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Severed Arm, Where is the Rest of Me?

We've all done it.  Sat around with a few friends....downed a few beers...and our conversation turns to experimentation in our youth.  Everyone has similar stories of the first time they dabbled in cannibalism.  Perhaps it was an act of youthful experimentation.  Or, maybe it was an act of survival after a plane crash in the mountains.  Maybe some of us got stuck in an elevator with help over an hour away.  These stories bring us together and allow us to reveal so much of ourselves through metaphor.  As we realize that our once hidden stories, are ones that are shared by the masses, we gain a sense of acceptance.  Today we examine 1973's "The Severed Arm," an uplifting tale that will inspire.  Most of us will empathize with the plight of the group of friends in this tale.
Six buddies hit the wilderness to explore an abandoned mine...never a good idea.  Of course, once hundreds of feet underground, a cave-in traps them.  After a few days, Jeff (David G. Cannon), a TV writer and survivalist wannabe, comes up with a plan of pure genius.  Instead of resorting to cannibalism "Dawn of the Dead" style, merely randomly choose one of the group members, and eat him piece by piece.  Thus if a rescue occurs, the selected member would survive, depending on how much of himself he has left.  Ted (Ray Dannis) draws the short straw, and instantly changes his mind.  His hungry friends are keen on honoring agreements.  As they restrain Ted, Jeff and his buddies cut his arm off.  Seconds after the makeshift surgery, rescuers arrive.  Ted, sans arm, is now a total lunatic, and Jeff implores his friends to claim that Ted's arm was crushed during the cave-in, and they had to amputate it.  With Ted on his way to an insane asylum....what could co wrong?
Five years later, Jeff receives an amputated arm in the mail.  Most likely an omen of ominous times ahead.  Investigation reveals that Ted has recently been released from the asylum.  The group reconvenes for the first time in five years and theorize an irate Ted will track them all down for revenge.  They're right.  After the meeting, an ax-man sneaks into Ray's (John Crawford) house, the doctor who did the cutting five years ago, and hacks him up.  Now Ray is a drooling schmuck sans one arm.  Knowing they cannot go to the cops and confess their actions of five years ago, the group strategizes on their next step.  Unfortunately for them, a psycho, ax-man already has a plan.  As Jeff gets a cryptic message from the killer that he is next, him and Mark (Paul Carr), a police detective who is a member of the cursed group, intensify their search for Ted.  Jeff and Mark enlist the assistance of Ted's daughter (Deborah Walley), but can she be trusted?  This search will reveal surprising and horrific facts about what exactly is going on.  They better hurry, as other group members are meeting bloody fates.
This hard to find film, which hit the theaters the same time "The Exorcist" debuted, will leave you a bit queasy.  Though the group members do not represent a clan that we are likely to sympathize with, their bloody fates are not ones we would wish on anyone.  Plot twists contribute to a very clever ending. If you can find "The Severed Arm," you are in for a horror story which is just a bit different. 


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