The Sadist

Notorious serial killer Charles Starkweather’s story has been molded into a feature film many times, from Badlands to Natural Born Killers, Kalifornia and a sizeable handful of straight-up bio-pics — but none are as gleefully chewy as The Sadist, this year celebrating its fiftieth freaky birthday. Stepping it up considerably from his usual deer-in-the-headlights disposition, ‘60s Z-grade movie icon Arch Hall, Jr. (Wild Guitar, Eegah!) delivers a chilling portrayal of a teenage thrillkiller engaged in a perverted cat-and-mouse with three unlucky folks whose car breaks down at a dusty desert junkyard. With his massive, oily pompadour, an arsenal of nonstop giggle fits and a permanent palsied snarl, Hall’s joyously playing to the back row here, and his deliciously over-the-top performance places him amongst the pantheon of The Greatest Simperers That Ever Simpered. Add to this some bitchin’ camera choreography from a very young Vilmos Zigmond, and the spirited wackiness of a campy off-Broadway play, and you’re ready to yell “BINGO!”
Dir. James Landis, 1963, 35mm, 92 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Sadist”!
YouTube Preview Image