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The Sadist (1963)

Unrated  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  1967 (West Germany)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,696 users  
Reviews: 88 user | 44 critic

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.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Arch Hall Jr. ...
Charles A. 'Charlie' Tibbs
...
Ed Stiles
Marilyn Manning ...
Judy Bradshaw
Don Russell ...
Carl Oliver
Helen Hovey ...
Doris Page
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What Fiendish Passion Twisted His Mind--Made Him Torment, Torture, Kill? See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

1967 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Profile of Terror  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Star Arch Hall Jr. ("Charlie Tibbs") and Helen Hovey ("Doris Paige") were actually first cousins; his mother and her mother were sisters. See more »

Goofs

Carl Oliver's position against the car in the first scene with Charlie changes between shots. He varies from being against the fender near the engine bay to being next to the driver's door. See more »

Quotes

Charles A. 'Charlie' Tibbs: School's out, teacher!
See more »

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User Reviews

Torturous tension
30 July 2010 | by (Cleburne, TX) – See all my reviews

Three teachers are driving to Los Angeles for a Dodgers game when they're sidelined with car trouble. They pull into an automobile junkyard for assistance, but the place appears to be deserted. If only they were so lucky. It isn't long before they're set upon by the unhinged Charlie Tibbs and his silent girlfriend, Judy. Held at gunpoint and subjected to almost nonstop psychological torment by the murderous couple, the teachers may find this auto graveyard to be their final resting place as well.

Having been curious about it via a reference book, I made a point of catching The Sadist on TCM a few years back. I found myself ordering the Collector's Edition DVD the very next day. As far as 60's horror goes, I'd say it's close behind Rosemary's Baby. It's a tight little affair that doesn't take long to get going. Once the three teachers meet Charlie and his gal, it's wall-to-wall tension for the remainder of the film. Charlie is as unpredictable as he is sadistic, and these people are completely at his mercy. We're kept on the edge of our seat by never knowing what sick game he'll come up with next, or how long it'll be before he tires of his captives. I was impressed with the film's relentless, nary a hope nature. Some scenes are genuinely shocking, particularly for 1963. Who figured a soda pop could bring about such dread? The Sadist is really rather groundbreaking when you look at it. It can be seen as sort of a blueprint for some of the torture films that would follow in years to come. It's also worth noting that it's subdued shocks are more effective than the graphic shocks seen in the majority of those later films.

The acting is fine all around, but the film belongs to Arch Hall Jr. Long considered a camp king, he is chilling as the Starkweather-inspired sadist. He plays Charlie as a real oddball with some bizarre quirks and mannerisms. This could have come off as cheesy, but it doesn't. His performance feels authentic, and he is believably threatening... as long as he has a gun to hide behind, anyway.

It's also a wonderfully shot picture. Vilmos Zsigmond, who went on to award wins, delivers some stunning cinematography his first time out. With his keen eye and Landis' direction, a sense of desolation really shines through.

The Sadist is one that's not to be missed.


19 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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