10 February 2000 | danr51
No Budget Triumph
Forget everything else that Arch Hall jr. appeared in. This is one unforgettable, independently produced gem. I remember first seeing it in the wee hours of the morning many years ago and it left a horrifying impression.
SADIST doesn't impact through gore, but sheer psychological torment and absolute fear. No cute gimmicks, just a candid depiction of an excruciating incident. Struggling independent film makers should check this out as brutal proof of what an innovative artist can truly achieve with practically no money.
Three school teachers (two men and a young prim and proper woman) arrive at a deserted rural service station after having car trouble. From the word-go you have that apprehensive feeling that something is not right. Misfit Charlie Starkweather (Hall), along with his girlfriend, Judy, make their sudden appearance, holding them under the gun. Hall brilliantly portrays one of the most dangerous pychopaths in the history of cult cinema. He simply loves to intimidate, threaten and murder. Period.
He boasts to his next victims that he murdered the station owners and orders them to fix their car so he and his female partner-in-homicide can make their getaway. They've acquired an infamous reputation as road killers and are being hunted by the law.
What makes this film so powerfully suspenseful is that it follows real time from start to finish, imprisoning the viewer (like the victims) within every second by second development. YOU are definitely there and you have enough time to fearfully wonder what you would be feeling and doing if you were in the their unfortunate place. The photography is very impressive, utilising many unique angles, giving you a clear sense of the entrapping, isolating surroundings.
I won't be a clot and tell you what happens but I am confident enough to bet that you will be extremely freaked by a totally unexpected surprise/shock that haunted me for a long while after seeing it.
This film has so much integrity that it couldn't be camp no matter how hard it tried, but it does have the ironic humor in the respect that the joke ends up being on you. You won't be relieved by even the slightest ha ha, and I challenge the boys at MST3000 to try to lampoon this. I bet they can't. That's how effective this obscure, disturbing slice of cinema actually is. The kind of picture that no one has the courage to make in todays' commercially cowardly "Oh no! We'd better not offend anyone", movie scene. Pity.
If you don't believe anything I've said, then challenge me by checking it out.