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(1963, Fairway International) Arch Hall Jr, Helen Hovey, Richard Alden, Marilyn Manning. The greatest low-budget, psycho-horror movie ever made, period, bar non. Three people driving into LA for a Dodgers game have car trouble and pull into an old wrecking yard where they're held at bay by a bloodthirsty psycho and his crazy girlfriend. They put their captives through pure hell in this thriller that was easily 10 years ahead of its time. It's inconceivable that the same people made hilarious schlock like EEGAH and WILD GUITAR could have made such a riveting, minor masterpiece. You'll break a cold sweat watching this one. A great, great movie. Our highest recommendation. 35mm.
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From beginning to end...Ultra-Violent and Shocking!
The 1:66.1 widescreen presentation and film print are excellent, includes an interview with Arch Hall Jr. by Ray Dennis Steckler, and theatrical trailers.
Marilyn Manning as Judy Bradshaw, Tibbs' girlfriend, is underplayed very well, and adds contrast and balance to Tibbs.
I can't add anything more than what's already been covered here review wise, but suffice to say if you've seen "The Thrill Killers", and "Faster, Pussycat! KILL! KILL!, you won't be disappointed.
Second best DVD choice would be the Alpha Video release, as it's cheaper and easier to obtain.
Rubber-faced Arch Hall Jr. and his child bride menace some innocent travelers unfortunate enough to cross paths with them. Loosely based on the adventures of real-life spree killer Charles Starkweather. A shame that Charlie did not live long enough to see Archie's masterful performance.
They did not use experienced actors and sometimes it shows. But all the actors work hard (whether they are experienced or not) and take their roles very seriously and for the most part are not bad at all!
The plot - Three schoolteachers drive into a filling station and end up being tormented by a psychopath and his addlebrained girlfriend. That's it.
More entertaining then "Bad Lands" and much more watchable then "Natural Born Killers"! More memorable then both. The non-actor Arch Hall Jr. out-shines and out-psychos Martin Sheen and Woody Harrelson in the same role and makes them both look tame.
Hall Jr. could have made an entire career out of playing this psycho. He looks and acts like the murdering animal he is accused of - with his low forehead and thick features and crab walk - he is a Neanderthal in blue jeans - ugly, over bearing selfish, mean, and without conscious. He even lets out animal-like howls when cornered or hurt. But he is not totally one dimensional - he is often clever in out-thinking his victims - there are hints of indignation involving his past and he seems to justify his killing spree as a vendetta that is resentment over society's treatment of his almost mute girlfriend Judy, "You can save your pity on her for mister her fathers dead and mothers a drunk." "Teachers always laughed at Judy and said was stupid"
This film has super black and white photography by A-movie cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond.
Great soundtrack music during the opening credits with crazy eyes staring at the audience. Really sets the mood.
There's Alfred Hitchcock-like suspense culminating in a very lively "Most Dangerous Game" chase.
Special note - the beautiful Helen Hovey is awesome going from the ultra demure, and naive stick in the mud Doris to taking a face full of dirt and then to a "Fay Rae style" hunted prey during the last reel of the film. -And no stunt double. The denouement where Helen pauses to listen to a baseball game is a hoot.
Fun, tense, engrossing, crazy, darkly funny, violent and suspenseful from beginning to end. You will find yourself yelling at the characters.
If you are the kind who's tastes are for the likes of Jack Hill's Spider Baby, Edward Ulmer's Detour or the Alfred Hitchcock hour - you will love The Sadist.
There are many inexpensive DVD versions of The Sadist out there - such as the one by Alpha Video. I have seen Alpha's and some of the others - All those that I have seen appear to be from ratty tenth generation film stock.
I only recommend the near perfect print from All Day Entertainment! For some dumb reason they stopped selling this version on Amazon. But you can still order it at the All Day site. And I do not work for All Day Entertainment! All Day's has a real cool cover too.
Allday's DVD really does this mini-classic justice as well. The 35mm source print used is excellent and matted to 1.66:1 per cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond's specifications. There are only the slightest traces of wear (occasional very light speckling, a few blemishes), and the print is respectably sharp, with rich tonal values. Allday actually apologizes in their notes about a few flaws they couldn't fix, but overall it still looks great. Extras include chapter stops, informative production notes, a selection of Fairway Intl trailers, and the real bonus of the set, a commentary by DP Vilmos Zsigmond. This is a real treat not only for fans of this film but for just about any stripe of movie freak. His conversation runs the gamut: personal recollections and technical aspects of shooting The Sadist; his prior experiences in Europe and then coming to America; working on many other films including Easy Rider, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Close Encounters; detailed explanations of photographic techniques, etc. Find out how The Sadist shares stylistic traits with Citizen Kane and how Zsigmond feels about being repeatedly mistaken for Laszlo Kovacs! Exploitation fans, snap this up before it's impossible to find.