20 April 2014

The Sadist (1963)
93 min.
Directed by James Landis.
With Arch Hall, Jr., Helen Hovey, Marilyn Manning, Richard Alden, Don Russell.
A remarkable little psychothriller on a variety of fronts.

Ed (Alden), Carl (Russell) and their female friend Doris (Hovey) are on their way to a Dodgers game in Los Angeles when their car breaks down in a remote area.

They stop at a deserted auto shop for what they hope are some minor repairs. But they discover the out-of-the-way joint is serving as a base of operations for psychotic killer Charlie (Hall) and his demented girlfriend Judy (Manning)!

The two maniacs take the helpless trio by surprise and hold them as hostages, subjecting them to humiliation, torture and even murder.

But can they use their wits to survive Charlie's crazed rage?

Also known as Profile of Terror, this adept low budget horror from 1963 is notably effective.

A bit creaky at first, but quick to pick up steam, this has excellent performances (especially from Hall and his 'final girl' Hovey) and a genuine knack for suspense (check out the scene where Alden and Hovey try to start a car in an attempt to escape their attackers).

Indeed, Hall is perfectly cast here - and truly menacing as the scowling murderer - but the true surprise in The Sadist is its distinct absence of any real low points.

It's strong from start to finish, simply but intelligently paced, and remains provocatively fresh.

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