I Bury the Living/The Severed Arm 2003 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
I picked up this low-price DVD because “I Bury the Living” was recommended to me, and the small price was well worth the good quality of this 1958 suspense/horror movie. Although in B&W, the picture quality is very good, as is the sound, and the entire film has all the earmarks of a high standard production such as good use of lighting and shadow, various visual effects, professional actors and a clever, well-planned script. The story moves along at a good pace as it escalates in suspense, and Richard Boone is very effective in portraying the psychological turmoil his character experiences when faced with a situation reminiscent of sticking pins into a voodoo doll. The idea is quite brilliant and would surely appeal to viewers who prefer an intelligent horror/thriller/supernatural theme without gory and gruesome scenes, but with enough strangeness to stretch the imagination. In this story, the pins are put into a cemetery map to denote people: black pins for the dead, and white ones for those who have purchased a cemetery plot but are still living. The suspense begins as soon as Boone, the new cemetery director, puts black pins into the map instead of white, resulting in the sudden death of those people. The viewer relates to his anguish as he becomes convinced that he has some supernatural powers causing these deaths and begins to wonder if replacing black with white pins will bring those ones back to life. Just on the verge of desperation and suicide, there is a twist that many of you won’t see coming, and it may be satisfying or disappointing - depending on your expectations. In any case, this is a refreshingly good, clever and well-made horror/suspense film worthy of 4 stars, but together with the other film, “The Severed Arm” this DVD only averages 3 stars.
In total contrast to “I Bury the Living” in every aspect, “The Severed Arm” was obviously made on a very small budget in 1973 and is quite simply the worst film I’ve seen in a long time. It is mediocre at best, extremely dull and flat with poor lighting and even poorer script delivered by average actors. Even the sound seems to be of rather low quality, and there is very little suspense in this predictable plot, even though the ending does have a bit of a twist. I can imagine that the story itself could be salvaged with a much better script and more inventive directing, making it a psychological thriller about the long-term effects of a desperate act to cut off and eat a man’s arm after a group of men were trapped in a cave-in for over a week and were starving to death. Some years later, a mysterious axe-wielding attacker takes revenge on the members of that party by chopping off their arms, but the climax shows that things are not as they seem. Nevertheless, the twist at the end doesn’t save the film from barely rating 2 stars, and it seems a shame to have this low quality budget movie on the same DVD as “I Bury the Living” unless it serves only to show by contrast just how good the latter film really is! For such a low-priced DVD it still has some extra features and is overall pretty good quality, so it is definitely worth the few dollars just for a good film like “I Bury the Living”.