Severed Ties (1992) Poster


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I actually quite liked it.
poolandrews13 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Severed Ties starts with an opening narration by the main character who is sitting alone in a room in a wheelchair, Harrison Harrison (Billy Morrissette, yes Harrison x2 is his name!) that goes something like this "red, blood red on white, nothing else would do. I got so desperate for the visions I would look for ways to cut myself. I wasn't always in this chair, there was a time when I could run and play but Mother never let me play. She told me I wasn't like the other boys, that I was special and besides like she always said it was too, too dangerous". He then has a sketchy incomplete flashback to when his Father died in a fire. The main bulk of the film is told in flashback. Harrison is continuing his Fathers work in a laboratory in the basement of his Mothers, Helena Harrison (Elke Sommer) large mansion. Harrison is trying to develop a serum that regenerates organs and skin. He is basing his research on reptile genes as the reptile possesses the ability to regrow parts of it's body, well apparently anyway. Harrison finally succeeds in creating the serum. Helena, along with her accomplice Dr. Hans Vaughan (Oliver Reed, he must have needed beer money badly!) tries to sell the serum to a company called 'Nordkem' for a large sum of money. Harrison is against the idea as the serum should be available for everyone. In a struggle an accident occurs and Harrisons arm is severed. Harrison uses the serum on himself and his arm instantly regenerates, wonderful he thinks at first but soon realises there are strange horrifying side-effects with the serum he hadn't counted on. A homeless man know as 'Stripes' (Garrett Morris) witnesses this and befriends Harrison. Stripes takes Harrison back to where he lives in the sewers with other homeless people. Helena and Vaughan are left with no serum and decide they must find Harrison or they will lose the money. After bribing a corrupt cop they track him down and retake the serum and kidnap his new girlfriend, Eve (Denise Wallace). Together with Stipes and his mutant lizard arm he sets out to rescue Eve and take revenge. Directed by Damon Santostefano I actually quite liked this. It isn't brilliant or any sort of masterpiece but I had a decent enough time watching it. The script by Henry Dominic and John Nystrom is well paced and fairly entertaining. It's very silly but luckily never takes itself seriously. I think it was mean to be a comedy horror but the comedy doesn't quite work which I found to be advantageous as instead of slap-stick silliness I felt it came across more like dark comedy. The twisted 'unhappy' ending was good and felt an appropriate way to round things off. It's just a shame about the middle third which tends to drag a little. The photography is OK and Santostefano has a stab at some style occasionally by lighting certain scenes in a very staged theatrical way that gives the film a slightly surreal feeling. Characters are likable enough and what on Earth is Oliver Redd and Elke Sommer doing in this?! Their fun to watch I guess, I think Santostefano must have a shoe fetish or something because he has Oliver Reed down on his knees cleaning Elke Sommers stilettos on two different occasions and throughout the film in general there are an unusually high amount of feet and shoe shots. The special effects are variable, some very impressive, others less so. The living arm effects aren't the best and they end up looking silly at times. There are a few good gore sequences, a severed arm, a ripped off face and someone has their lungs pulled out! It's a pretty fun low-budget horror film overall that I quite liked but I don't think it's for everyone. Worth a watch if you can catch it on T.V. or find a copy going cheap somewhere.
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Hey, at least they tried to do something different
udar5516 October 2012
Young scientist Harrison Harrison (Billy Morrisette) is working hard to recreate his deceased father's gene splicing experiments. Funded by his mother Helena (Elke Sommer) and her sleazy beau Dr. Hans Vaughn (Oliver Reed), Harrison spends his days in a basement lab trying to splice human DNA with that of a lizard in an effort to regrow limbs. When he conveniently loses his right arm, he injects himself with the fluid and grows a new scaly arm. Wait, isn't this the plot of THE AMAZING SPIDER- MAN? Anyway, after that things get really weird. He runs away from home and lives with some bums led by war vet Stripes (Garrett Morris) who live in the sewer system. When mom comes looking for his formula and steals it back, Harrison creates an army of severed lizard-arms to fight her. This was the third film produced by Fangoria Films (after CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT and MINDWARP) and might be the oddest of the trio. In fact, it is surprising not to see Frank Henenlotter's name on this as it is totally up his alley and the film's look even resembles that of the BASKET CASE sequels. The film is a bit too low budget to be a classic, but it does have some original ideas and good gore effects by KNB. Perhaps most surprising are the performances by Sommer and Reed. They could have totally phoned their respective roles in, but both give it their all. Originally titled ARMY (haha, get it?).
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Dumb Gore Movie.
unpop29 October 2000
Take a Barker concept ("Body Politic") & mix it with a dash of latter-day Herbert West - the results would in all probability resemble this dumb gore movie. Perhaps seasoned veterans (in this case Sommer & Reed) need a trash backdrop such as this to really let loose - and do they ever! The kind of film, that if your attention wavered (or you needed to go to the toilet...) , by the time you "came back", you'd swear you're watching a collection of out-takes from SOCIETY, BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR & RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART 3 (apologies to Brian Yuzna). What the hell; Sommer is GREAT (a performance that would make Tim Curry look like a master of understatement), Johnny Legend's voice would seem more at home in a DeathMetal outfit - even some bargain-basement Freud thrown in for those of an academic bent. Unfortunate proof that a sincere love of horror movies doesn't automatically = superior product; probably a project that should have been produced by those who actively hate the genre in order to gain a degree of perspective.
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Armed and Dangerous. A Tragedy.
WisdomsHammer27 February 2018
The son of a domineering, and conniving widow (Elke Sommer), whose henchman lover is some kind of Nazi doctor (Oliver Reed), tries to recreate his father's gene experiments. The son loses his arm after getting it caught in a door during an intense argument with them and in an act of desperation tries the formula he's managed to concoct so far on himself. Instead of growing back a normal arm, he grows a sort of tentacled monster arm that can detach, crawl off and kill. He runs away from his mother and befriends a bunch of homeless people who take him in (Garrett Morris's character among them). His mother and her brutal accomplice follow him to get the formula. For B-movie fans, this is a pretty awesome treat. My biggest complaint is that they made this a tragedy with a heroes and not a feel-good revenge movie. I got sick of seeing the hero constantly being stepped on and acting like an idiot. He's got an army and a brain but doesn't seem to know how to use either. I realize that wanting a happy ending is my own personal preference. Others will enjoy it regardless. The effects are cheesy but fun, and the acting is well done on every one's part except for the main character, unfortunately. Sommer and Reed are deliciously wicked. The sets are great and the whole production was well done, in my opinion. If it weren't for the main character's acting and the way the script treated him, I would rate this much higher. In many ways, this reminded me of Idle Hands, which I enjoyed a little more. Definitely recommended for any B-movie lover who likes a cheesy, gooey mess of sci-fi and horror.
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Silly Fangoria produced gore comedy.
HumanoidOfFlesh12 April 2008
A young scientist is trying to carry on his dead father's work on limb regeneration.His overbearing mother has convinced him that he murdered his own father and is monitoring his progress for her own evil purposes.A young doctor uses reptilian DNA he extracts from a large creature and when his arm is conveniently ripped off a few minutes later,he injects himself with his formula and grows a new murderous arm...Admittedly the special effects in "Severed Ties" are pretty good and grotesque,but the rest of the film is awful.The severed arm is behaving like a snake and kills few people.Big deal.The acting is mediocre and the climax is silly.3 out of 10.
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An armful of mutation trouble.
lost-in-limbo23 October 2006
A young scientist Harry Harrison is continuing his late father's scientific research into limb regeneration with flying colours, but his interferingly dominate mother and her doctor lover want to sell off the serum. When he finds out, there is an accident involving Harry losing an arm. So, he tries out the serum and what eventuates is a genetically deranged arm that has a mind of its own.

Oh we've seen this oh so many times before, but what lifts this very campy and quite rubbery shonky junk is the performance of movie icons Elke Sommer and Oliver Reed. Actually it's not a bad flick by Fangoria films; just there are better ones out there, which are similar in vein. "Servered Ties" simply lacks it own distinctive style. The oddball nature and unpleasant splatter resembled "Re-animator" and even a touch of slapstick stuck out like something from "Evil Dead 2".

The comic story is truly whacked out with it's black humour, but it can get melodramatic and a bit in dry in the fun factor. Surprises do crop up, especially the flick's final outcome. Which is well accepted, as I thought it could have copped out with something more accessible. For a low-budget production the FX makeup can look rigid and very goofy, but there's some grotesque moments that will make you smile than actually cringe. Even a brush of sexual tension streamlines the story, thanks to Elke Sommer's sternly juicy performance as the mother. Oliver Reed is quite humorously deadpan in a wicked sense and he pulls it off extremely well. They were both immensely diverting as the couple you loved to hate. Billy Morrisette is delightful in a erratic performance as Harry. Director Damon Santostefano briskly paces the film and orchestrates some stylish scenes of gripping and bamboozling horror.

Yeah it's juvenile and basically silly nonsense, but you got to hand it to it for some undemanding entertainment.
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Part Lizard , Part Psycho , All Crap
Theo Robertson20 September 2003
The TV guide described the plot of SEVERED TIES as thus : " An experiment on a severed arm goes awry " so right away I thought this was going to be about an arm that`s got a mind of its own as seen in THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS or THE HAND or someone getting an arm transplant as in BODY PARTS . Both premises are tried and tested , or to be more accurate tired and tested so I was curious as to how the producers would approach the story . I actually thought they were making an arthouse movie like PI down to the use of B&W photography at the start of the film but the makers seemed to have tired of this approach after 20 seconds and decided to make a splatter comedy similar to THE EVIL DEAD . I`ve very little to say on this except that I disliked THE EVIL DEAD movies and I disliked SEVERED TIES and it seems really unfair that films like this use an obscene amount of rubber when the third world is crying out for condoms
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I liked it... Pretty good silly/gore/comedy movie...
SideSkroll29 October 2008
If you like Brain Dead, or The Return of the living dead movies you're in for a ride. This one although a bit light on the gore part features a funny cast and a, although silly, interesting plot. The director and/or writers of this were not aiming for an Oscar by any means. They just wanted to give a funny gore fest, and I for one, appreciate their effort. BTW, the girl that plays the mute girl... Is so freakingly amazing hot... Too bad She hasn't been in anything besides this movie. Does anybody know if there's a DVD version of this film? And if thats the case... Would you happen to know where I could get It? Or maybe Download it, I don't know.. Help me out guys. I am looking for the unedited version if possible.
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epeteet8 March 2007
While I liked the above mentioned films more, SEVERED TIES was definitely a good horror-comedy. It was not quite as gory as i had expected. This is probably because my brother and his girlfriend put way too much hype on it. Don't get me wrong, it did have some sweet gore, just don't expect it to be on the level of EVIL DEAD II. There was also some pretty funny parts in the movie, especially the extremely creepy preaching bum. Some of the stuff that dude said had me rolling. I also liked how the old time music in this movie was similar to the music playing in THE SHINING when Jack Nicholson is at the bar. The setting was cool too, kinda like a colorful cross between RE-ANIMATOR and STREET TRASH.

Basically as far as horror-comedy/splatter flicks go, it was better than EVIL ED but definitely not as good as BAD TASTE or DEAD ALIVE. If you like this be sure to check out BODY MELT, SLIME CITY, and of course the RE-ANIMATOR movies.
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