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A geneticist takes his assistants to his old family home to locate the deadly product of his late mother's revolutionary research into rapid human evolution - his monstrous tentacled baby brother - before a mad scientist gets to him first.
David Allen Brooks
The characters of Charlie and Judy were inspired by real-life serial killers Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate. Although the character of Judy acts like a very young teenager (like the real 14-year-old Fugate), a radio announcer was added to clarify that Judy is 18 years old, in order to sidestep censorship problems. See more »
Charlie has a crippled walk which comes and goes throughout the film. See more »
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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