A gang of teenage delinquents terrorize a small community by stealing cars and stripping them for parts, then selling the parts to a crooked junkyard owner. The police and an insurance company investigator set out to break up the gang.
Arch Hall Jr.,
Jerry falls in love with a stripper he meets at a carnival. Little does he know that she is the sister of a gypsy fortune teller whose predictions he had scoffed at earlier. The gypsy turns him into a zombie and he goes on a killing spree.
Ray Dennis Steckler
Ray Dennis Steckler,
Janet is a young student at a private school; her nights are troubled by horrible dreams in which she sees her mother, who is in fact locked in an insane asylum, haunting her. Expelled ... See full summary »
While I've long been familiar with z-movies "Eegah!" and "The Wild Guitar," this film, from the same people, slipped under my radar for years which is really a shame. Every bit as good as any big-studio, low-budget production from the era (perhaps even better than most), "The Sadist" is truly a gem that'll never receive the recognition it deserves.
Loosely based on serial killer Charles Starkweather, Arch Hall Jr plays Charlie Tibbs, a psychotic delinquent who, aided by his girlfriend, holds three travelers hostage at gunpoint as they attempt to fix their broken-down car, which Charlie intends to use for his getaway. The film is slowly paced and has little plot, but there's so much going for it particularly as the tension begins to mount. The acting is fantastic all around, not the hokey z-acting that I anticipated. The characterizations are rich and layered, Hall being a completely convincing standout (despite his "Cabbage Patch Kid" looks). The cinematography is fantastically detailed, with a variety of haunting visuals and innovative shots. The musical score is unobtrusive and perfectly suits the on screen action (and lack thereof).
The thing that astounds me most is how well this film has aged. The junkyard location is sort of timeless, the dialogue isn't stilted and dated like most other films of the era and no pop culture (except Coca-Cola) date it to any specific place and time. Even "Psycho," a film whose success they'd intended to ride the coattails of, is far more dated than this one. It's a psychological character movie, pure and simple. And it's because of the simplicity of the whole thing that it'll continue to stand the test of time. The one and only complaint that I have is the title, that doesn't quite suit it. Nonetheless, it's a great classic thriller and I hope that it will find the audience that it deserves on DVD.
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