The Sadist (film)

The Sadist

Promotional movie poster for the film
Directed by James Landis
Produced by L. Steven Snyder
Written by James Landis
Starring Arch Hall, Jr.
Richard Alden
Marilyn Manning
Don Russell
Helen Hovey
Music by Paul Sawtell (uncredited)
Bert Shefter (uncredited)
Cinematography William Zsigmond
Edited by Anthony M. Lanza
Distributed by Fairway International Pictures (United States)
Prima Film (Canada, 1971)
Release dates
  • April 1963 (1963-04) (U.S.)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $33,000

The Sadist (also known as Profile of Terror and Sweet Baby Charlie) is a 1963 black-and-white exploitation film written and directed by James Landis, and stars Arch Hall, Jr. The film was distributed by Fairway International Pictures of the United States and Prima Film of Canada.

The film is loosely based on the killing spree of Charles Starkweather, upon which the later films Badlands (1973) and Natural Born Killers (1994) were also based. It was shot by famed cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond over a period of 2 weeks for $33,000 with a cast of five, one of whom doubled as the film's production manager.[1] It was Zsigmond's first full-length film as a director of photography, and he is credited as "William Zsigmond."

The film is a favorite of director Joe Dante, who owns the 35mm print that has been the source for many of the DVD releases of this film.[2]


Three high school teachers, Ed, Doris, and Carl, are driving through California's Antelope Valley on their way to a Dodgers game in Los Angeles. The group’s Chevrolet Bel Air has some trouble and they are forced to pull off to a gas station/junkyard on the side of the road. After examining the vehicle Ed concludes that the fuel pump will need to be replaced. Doris and Carl search the junkyard looking for the owner, but they cannot find him.

In the residence Carl finds a warm meal with a table set for four, but oddly enough nobody is in the house. The three realize this is very peculiar and start to seriously worry about their situation. At this point Charlie Tibbs, a rather large man wielding a Colt .45, and his girlfriend Judy show up. Charlie and Judy have spent the past several days heading west from Arizona, leaving a trail of corpses behind them. Law enforcement is on the hunt for them, but Charlie has managed to stay a step ahead by changing vehicles frequently and then killing the people who offer their help.

Charlie demands that Ed finish repairing the car and informs him that he and Judy will be stealing the Belair and taking off when Ed is done. Charlie threatens that if the three don't cooperate "it'll be the end of them." During the next several hours Charlie and his girlfriend torment Ed, Doris, and Carl.



Alden recalled that in order to save money the ammunition used in the film was real.[3]


Ryan Gilbey of The Guardian, writing about the 1973 film Badlands in 2008, said that "Terrence Malick began writing his screenplay Badlands, based on [Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate's] bloodthirsty road trip, in 1970, when he was 27. The story had already been loosely dramatised in the 1963 film The Sadist, though hardly anyone remembers that one now."[4]


A remake of The Sadist is the first half of Impact Theatre's production of Splathouse Double Feature: "The Sadist" with "Eegah!", a stage-and-film hybrid that featured newly-shot footage for each production. The production on the remake began in 2012 as the first project of the newly formed theatre troupe, p.d. and the bug. Michael Garrett McDonald stars as Charlie with Sarah Coykendall playing Judy. The three teachers are played by Joseph Mason, Cassie Rosenbrock, and Mike Delaney. The newly filmed footage for The Sadist was shot and directed by Edwin Fernando Gonzalez. The first professional production of Splathouse Double Feature: "The Sadist" with "Eegah!" opened July 3, 2014 at Impact Theatre in Berkeley, California.

DVD release

In 2007,[5] Apprehensive Films released The Sadist onto DVD.[6]


  1. "Trailers". Trailers From Hell. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  2. Video on YouTube
  3. p.5 Weaver, Tom Richard Alden Interview I Talked with a Zombie: Interviews with 23 Veterans of Horror and Sci-fi Films and Television Tom Weaver McFarland, 2009
  4. Gilbey, Ryan. "The start of something beautiful." (Archive) The Guardian. August 21, 2008. Retrieved on November 13, 2013.
  5. "Apprehensive Films [us]". IMDb. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  6. "The Sadist DVD". The GrindHouse. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
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