The Sadist (1963)

Article #639 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-14-2002
Posting Date: 5-9-2003

Three travelers try to get their car repaired at a junkyard and become captives of an insane psycho.

If I mention the names Arch Hall Jr. and Marilyn Manning, you might recognize them as the teenage couple from EEGAH: well, here they are again, and the resemblance ends there. For one thing, they were the heroes in that movie; here they are the villains. This is particularly apt in Arch’s case; despite the fact that he was supposed to be cute and cuddly in EEGAH, he was actually creepier than the monster; here, cast as a psycho, he looks the part. This would be damning him with faint praise if I left it at that, though; he also acts the part, and convincingly; he is one of the scariest psychos in screen history, and if there is any justice in this world, he will be judged by his terrifying performance here rather than as a teen idol or a rock star. In fact, this movie is an unbelievably harrowing thriller; you’re sucked in early on and it doesn’t let go until the final moments. In fact, I feel like trotting out an endless succession of suspense cliches, such as pulse-pounding or heart-stopping, because this movie actually lives up to them. It is a little unsteady at times, particularly in the opening scenes, where the dialogue sounds a little forced and contrived at times, and the ending is a shade disappointing, but these are minor quibbles in a movie that tightens the screws this well. A rarity, and a triumph.


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