The Unseen: Black Water, Night School, The Severed Arm

Published on March 14th, 2014 in: Horror, Movie Reviews, Movies, The Unseen, Underground/Cult |

By Brad Henderson

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We all have those films that have slipped under our radar or those that we just didn’t get around to seeing yet. These films could be blockbusters, indie flicks, or just films that weren’t publicized or spoken about enough. In this feature, I’m going to be discussing three films you need to see that you probably missed or maybe even forgot about.

Black Water (2007)

Films about animals attacking are in abundance. After the success of Lake Placid and Anaconda we got a wave of new ones and they still arrive weekly to this day. Of course, Lake Placid is completely different from Sharknado and Sand Sharks, but we still get crazy animal films by the dozen. Even in the ’80s we got a slew of animal attack films. Most of them were decent but the subgenre lost its touch when we hit the ’90s and up to now. Black Water is a film that seems to have been tossed into the pile of cliché animal attack films even though it should be pulled out and allowed to surface to the top so people can enjoy its exhilarating ride. When Black Water was released even I dismissed it. Lake Placid 2, Rogue SuperCroc, Supergator, and Primeval were all released in 2007, too and I was burnt out on films like this. Black Water just got away from me and I ignored it until a couple of years ago. I was sorry I did. It isn’t goofy, it doesn’t have any silly shit, and it is one of the most suspenseful films I’ve seen in a long time. There are very few films that make me nervous and Black Water is one of them.

Night School (1981)

I love slasher and Giallo films. Night School is one that blends both in a new form. It has aspects of the standard Giallo film but also stays true to your normal slasher. People might disagree with me that Night School is Giallo and that is fine, but you can’t argue that it is at least Giallo inspired. Between the killer, the deaths, the music, and the sexual plot, it has Giallo written all over it. Night School is not only an underseen Giallo, it is an underseen slasher and it’s confusing that it wasn’t more popular with the rest of the great slashers from the ’80s. It isn’t goofy at all and it takes itself very seriously. I agree that it’s more of a thriller with a touch of the cat and mouse game rather than your typical slice and dice from back in the day. Night School is so much more than people actually think it is and would love to put this film in more people’s eyeballs.

The Severed Arm (1973)

My parents would go out of town frequently to gamble and I would be left with a number of rentals from a video store in town called Movie Gallery. In our Movie Gallery someone was obsessed with buying old horror films and bringing them into the store. I’m not talking about old films that were reissued onto DVD but the ones on VHS. Almost every month there would be a couple of new titles here or there and I would be ecstatic and rent them right away. One weekend I came across a cut box that I couldn’t read too well, but after working the pieces together I saw it was titled The Severed Arm. While looking at the cover and reading the quick synopsis on the back, this film looked like something I would really enjoy. It seemed like it had never been done before so I gave it a shot. Holy Shit. Not only is The Severed Arm a “slasher” (it is and it isn’t) but it is also a kickass psychological thriller with an ending that will make you shit yourself or spit your soda out. This film was way before its time but was lost to time because it didn’t follow that formula from the ’70s and ’80s to get teens into the theatre. The Severed Arm wanted to be different and it succeeded at that. It did receive a shitty DVD release on a label that released a handful of horror films during its run but didn’t last too long. Ultimately, The Severed Arm was buried in the depths of hell. The DVD version was a set including I Bury The Living, which plays great as a double feature but The Severed Arm takes the. . . upper hand?

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