Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Sadist

The Sadist (Sweet Baby Charlie, Profile Of Terror) Directed By James Landis, Starring Arch Hall Jr. (1963). 
Literally four years after Charles Starkweather, "The rebel with out a brain" and his 13 year old girlfriend Caril Anne Fugate went on a killing spree in reality, this film came out. Fairway-International Pictures and The Arch Halls (Jr. and Senior respectively) would be the very first to capitalize on the real life serial killer atrocity. 
   Before cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond went onto Hollywood super stardom with credits like The Deer Hunter, Deliverance and Close Encounters, he shot this film along with Ray Dennis Steckler's Incredibly Strange Creatures and Blood Of Ghastly Horror.
   Just before this film, Arch Hall Jr. played the lovable lunk head rock star Bud Eagle, but instead of a guitar this time he plays a revolver. He is incredible as Charley Tibbs, a gutless killer who relishes in petty theft and murder of the frailest weaklings. Tibbs is the kind of guy that would really enjoy slowly pulling the legs off a spider or shooting fish in a barrel.

Bud Eagle called in sick, I'm taking over
   A bunch of starchy shirt, skinny tie wearing squares and a prim and proper lady (Ed, Carl and Doris), break down in a junk yard and unfortunately for them, they are not alone.
   They all mention that they are school teachers and are about as likable as cardboard cut outs.
I hope a stiff wind doesn't come along and knock us over

   Charley shows up finally with his trollop Judy (Marilyn Manning) tucked under his arm and a gun pointed at the teachers, who get stranded on the way to a Dodgers game. 
   Arch Hall Jr. looks especially menacing in this role, like a greasy faced runt with crisco dripping from his pompadour. He's immediately threatened that they have anything of value in their pockets (a few baseball game tickets). Tibbs has an automatic gripe against their social status and detests anything linked to education. Charlie cackles like a moron and holds all three characters hostage as his girlfriend snaps her gum.

Don't call us inbred, we're second cousins
   Even though the entire film takes place in one single location, it's never dull and should inspire other film makers, shooting on a lesser budget to make something as interesting and thought provoking.
   Pretty teacher Doris Page is confronted by Charlie, after he holds a knife to her throat, he says "how does it feel to be touched by dirt"? Then he shoves her goody goody face in the gravel. I could see how Tim Van Patten was influenced by Arch Hall Jr. for his Stegman character in Class Of 1984.   

Even your neck thinks its too good for my blade

   He relentlessly antagonizes these unlucky authority figures and blindly despises them because they make him feel psychologically inferior. 
   As he terrifies the wimpy school teachers by shooting out tires and headlights (which were apparently live rounds), he guffaws like a mongoloid with brain damage. As the oldest teacher Carl pleas for his life, the maniacs guzzle NeHi soda and cackle in his face! 
   The two that survive, don't even bother to fight Charlie or his girlfriend Judy as they have a picnic and dance to music. The teachers just wait to die like slaughtered cattle.
Best enjoyed while shooting public school officials

   Two cops eventually show up, but die like stuck pigs. The killers admire their celebrity status over the police radio and of course chuckle about it. Charlie acts like the "Wicked Witch Of The West" with her hourglass timer and constantly measures peoples lives using objects like a soda bottle or how fast they can fix a car. The last twenty minutes are a dynamic show stopping thrill ride even for 1963 standards, don't miss it or you'll regret it.
   Helen Hovey who played Doris fell off the face of the earth and never acted again. The other cast members worked in one form or another with Hall or Ray Dennis Steckler, Don Russell later worked on The Nasty Rabbit
   I think a good double feature with this would be The Incident By Larry Peerce, another early 60's film about gutless punks terrorizing people, this time, a group of subway riders. It's alittle more sleazy than this film, but has many familiar faces and takes place in a minimal amount of locations.
Highly Recommended! 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...