Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Sadist (1963)

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Sadist (1963)

    Title The Sadist
    Year 1963
    Rated UNRATED
    Released 07 Aug 1963
    Runtime 92 min
    Director James Landis
    Writer James Landis
    Actors Arch Hall Jr., Richard Alden, Marilyn Manning, Don Russell
    Plot Three people driving into Los Angeles for a Dodgers game have car trouble and pull off into an old wrecking yard where they are held at bay by a bloodthirsty psycho and his crazy girlfriend.
    Language English
    Country USA
    Awards N/A
    Production Fairway International
    Website N/A
    .................................................. ..........................
    People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

  • #2


    It isn't often that I refer to something as a "hidden gem", but that's how I feel about The Sadist (also known as Sweet Baby Charlie). Surprisingly, I'm making this claim about a movie starring Arch Hall, Jr. and Marilyn Manning. If you're familiar with Eegah from TV's Mystery Science Theater 3000, they were the romantic leads. Yes, the goofy schmuck who was proud of his dune buggy and the girl who charmed a prehistoric caveman to his death portray some of the genre's best psycho killers of the 1960s. I could not believe it either when I first experienced The Sadist. Several years later and I not only think of this title first when Hall's name pops up, but constantly point towards it as a testament of what he could produce.



    Hall plays Charles Tibbs as a sort of demented man-child. He takes such glee in causing pain in others through violence and mental abuse. The synopsis above is correct as it's nearly 90 minutes of Hall and Manning (as his girlfriend, Judy) knocking around three school teachers, causing them to feel weak and worthless in a situation they struggle to fathom as actually happening. Both psychos giggle to themselves and to each other as they watch their victims squirm, beg for their lives, and have their morals shattered. I know if someone told me the teen heartthrob from Eegah would play a convincing thrill killer, I'd laugh. It's the kind of performance that's genius while crossing over into the absurd. Joe Dante mentioned there are traces of Dwight Frye in Hall's performance and I agree. His laugh is like something a junior high kid would do to mock someone else yet Hall plays it straight.





    The story is similar to 1973's Badlands, but predates it by an entire decade among other titles like Natural Born Killers. It's likely based on the real life events involving Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate who terrorized the country in 1958 with a cross country killing spree. It fits in with the juvenile delinquent films of the time in which teens appear as ruthless animals destroying the American ideals that permeated society, especially with what was presented in television at the time. The end of the 1950's and beginning of the 1960's still had that American dream of the household with 2.5 children and the white picket fence. By the end of the 1960s, a youth backlash was present as the Vietnam War heated up and draft dodgers fled the country to escape fighting for a cause they didn't believe in. The gap between the new generation and the old became apparent and the younger citizens started to lose respect and belief in the federal government, culminating in total distrust by the 1970's and the Watergate scandal. You can find that generational gap in The Sadist. Charles and Judy, representing the youth, show absolutely no respect for their teachers-turned-hostages. They downright humiliate and beat them before ending their lives. Charles calls one of them the "big talker", a nickname politicians often get. Again, it feels like precursor to what would happen in American society a few years later as new generation saw the government as the enemy. The story's location is a junkyard with battered and worn down cars. The automotive industry at the time represented Americana. To see the older generation terrorized in a graveyard of sorts, surrounded by dead vehicles, accentuates the death of the older sensibilities as they clash with the new.





    The Sadist also contains elements horror films would later utilize. The junkyard collection is removed from the hustle and bustle of contemporary civilization. It reminds me of The Hills Have Eyes and Wrong Turn where relics are left behind by past owners to indicate an unsettling history. In the aforementioned movies, it's because crazed cannibals slaughtered and ate their victims. You won't find anything like that here. However, there is the theme found in The Virgin Spring and The Last House on the Left of humanity's violent and inhumane qualities able to seep through any person if they're pushed hard enough. The female teacher spends most of the time unable to comprehend how Charles and Judy could be sold cold and vicious. By the end, she refuses to save one of the killers. Let's just say that fans of Eegah and the catchphrase "watch out for snakes" are in for a nice surprise. You'd almost think it the movie was being meta if it weren't made only a year after Eegah. There's even a Friday the 13th Part 2 moment where the female survivor / final girl hides inside a dilapidated house while the viewer can see the killer running towards the structure in the background through the window.



    The screen caps are from the 2009 DVD by Johnny Legend, but I recently viewed this via Code Red's BD. Restored from the original camera negatives, the cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Deer Hunter fame shines through beautifully. It's his first work, but you can tell why he went on to win an Academy Award and receive several nominations.

    The Sadist is such a treat starring an unlikely source while encapsulating, not only fractures of contemporary American society was undergoing, but presenting horror situations the best of the genre would later use to great effect.
    People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

    Comment


    • #3
      I can't share your enthusiasm for this one, but I will agree that it looks surprisingly great. They had to have spent the whole budget on the cinematographer's salary.

      Comment


      • #4
        Whatever they paid Zsigmond, they got a sweet deal. Probably wasn't much as it was his first feature film.

        So you're saying you don't want to finally change your avatar into one of Arch Hill, Jr.?
        People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

        Comment


        • #5
          Yeah, I'm not big on seeing Arch Hall Jr's face so that's a definite no. Actually I think an avatar in general in unlikely. Truthfully I've been posting way too much and my natural shyness is kicking in. Might be better to scale that back a bit.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by sagittarius View Post
            Yeah, I'm not big on seeing Arch Hall Jr's face so that's a definite no.
            It's going to haunt your nightmares.



            People hyping up latest comic book movie to be the GOAT and I'm like "psshh, you guys must not have seen Bigfoot rip off a man's dick before in 1980's Night of the Demon."

            Comment

            Working...
            X