|THE SADIST (1963)
||[Mar. 10th, 2009|04:19 am]
Cinema Sewer Film Stills
Review by Stephen Duesner|
ARCH HALL JR. was not an especially handsome leading man nor a particularly gifted actor. His pinched features and flop of blond hair gave him a look of mild disgust that his quick grin or exaggerated double takes could not shake. During his brief career in the early 1960s as a would-be movie idol and guitar-slinger, he made movies as entertaining as "The Choppers" and "Wild Guitar" and as relentlessly unwatchable as "The Nasty Rabbit" and "Deadwood '76," -- but none were hits.
Giving up movies and music, he became a pilot, started his own cargo airline, wrote a torrid aviation thriller and settled with his family in suburban Florida. Hall had a brief comeback on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" ("He's a Cabbage Patch Elvis," comments one of the 'bots) but the highlight of his career is without a doubt "The Sadist," a grimy black-and-white exploitation flick from 1963 that Legend House is re-releasing this week on DVD and Blu-ray.
Ingeniously shot by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (who later won an Oscar for "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"), the movie traps a group of city folk in a rural junkyard, where they are terrorized by Hall's title character, who is based on spree-killer Charles Starkweather. There's no motive to the character's torment, just a unyielding twitchy sadism that's all the more relentless for being vaguely motivated. "I have been hurt by others, and I will hurt them," Hall says in a voice-over. "I will make them suffer like I have suffered."