Tom Alderman's THE SEVERED ARM took me by surprise. Not having seen this before, and based on the title alone, I expected something along the lines of Michael Caine's THE HAND or THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS. And there are also dozens of other medical horror movies where a person loses their arm or leg, and said limb somehow does not die. Many times the limb actually goes on to commit murder or other mayhem until it is stopped by police or whoever. Speaking for myself, I have never been a fan or medical TV shows like ER. But I do appreciate a good feature length medical thriller. I am a big fan of THE INCREDIBLE TWO HEADED TRANSPLANT since that was my first exposure to the medical terrors growing up. Anyway, getting back to THE SEVERED ARM, I was expecting a medical thriller. It turns out that the director wanted to do a little something different then what people expected. When this movie came out in the early seventies, the Itallian giallos were at their peak box office success and the movie going public craved new genre fare, thanks to the successes of Mario Bava and Dario Argento. Well, director Tom Alderman studied the works of Argento and Bava well. Basically THE SEVERED ARM is a US made giallo. It has all the elements of the genre; like the gloved, killer whose face is never shown, the police procedural parts are here, the kiler uses a device to alter his voice when calling his victims or the authorities. It does have some cheesy parts but it is a pretty decent thriller for a low budget independent nature. I will point out here that obviously this movie lacks the beautiful cinematography that is done in the Giallo masters overseas. And there is no rousing giallo-esq score. The music here is a big disappointment. It is pretty much all sythesezer music (synthezer music would break thru would get big in the 1980s) but here it is terrible and out of place. One other other negative point to mention is that my copy the movie is very poorly lit and it is hard to make the action sometimes in the darn fuzz. If you like Giallo thrillers, you may want check out THE SEVERED ARM; it even has a Dario Argento type twist ending....
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