Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Fade back in time with me for a moment: it’s the late 1980’s. The video market is a booming business. Everything, absolutely EVERYTHING, is on videotape then – or shortly will be. Even, as I discovered in my late mother’s personal effects, videos about cutlery and cookware. So videotapes were all over the place then, right? Are we agreed on this?

Ok, now picture me as a fresh-faced young 26 year old kid walking around a K-Mart store in St. Louis County (dig this: I now work next door to where the very store I bought these movies from used to be located – it’s a Home Depot now). The first place I head in stores like K-Mart would be the electronics departments. So one day mine eyes (seeing the glory) happened to land upon some Rhino videotapes for sale in the store. Amongst the finds that time was a movie not familiar to me: THE SADIST.

Interesting cover (different from the poster above). It featured a young man I recognized, holding a gun with an absolutely horrifying look on his face. The videotape box said something like “Before there was a Freddy or a Jason, there was THE SADIST!” So yes, I was intrigued and I picked it up. Noted that it also said “Starring Arch Hall, Jr.”

Wait, Arch Hall, Jr.? Naw, this can’t be the same Arch Hall, Jr. whom I remember playing a guitar and singing about girls named Vickie and Valerie, could it? As it turns out, yes, this was the very same Arch Hall, Jr. I remembered. But boy, was he different here!

From 1963, the story of THE SADIST closely parallels that of Charlie Starkweather who, a short number of years before, became a “spree” killer and had a young teenage girl in tow, Carol Anne Fugate. Charlie was eventually caught, tried and electrocuted for his crimes; Carol Anne served a number of years in jail (justly or not; it’s still up for debate) as an accomplice. She eventually was paroled and became a nurse and a productive member of society. At least it ended well for Carol Anne.

Ok, so we have THE SADIST. Arch (I’m going to refer to him in the familiar here as he and I are Facebook friends – he’s a great guy, very nice and open to his fans) plays Charlie (there’s that name again!) Tibbs and Marilyn Manning co-stars as his main squeeze, Judy Bradshaw.

In an interview I heard years ago with Arch, the interviewer told Arch that the movie was still very “unsettling”. This is an apt description, so I’m using it here, too. Arch agreed with the comment about it being unsettling.

I don’t believe that most 1963 moviegoers had experienced anything like this up until then. Far from the nice guy, hero type he’d been playing in other movies, Arch, as Charlie, is absolutely frightening here.

Kudos go to Marilyn Manning as well. As Judy, she barely has any dialogue but I dare you not to shiver as she, child-like, eats a sweet treat while a man tearfully begs her not to let Charlie kill him. It’s as if she can’t hear what the man is saying or maybe she can but is completely unmoved by the man’s cries for mercy. This is powerful stuff and although at that point in my life I’d seen cinematic dismemberments and the like, I was still not as stunned as when I was watching this scene.

The pacing of THE SADIST is relentless. There is no “comic relief” at all in this movie. As you watch it, if you are looking for even just one piece of decency from Charlie to his victims, man you can forget it! No quarter is given and I’m sure this was a shocker to 1963 audiences, even after having seen Hitchcock’s PSYCHO. Norman Bates, when in his right mind, was quite a likeable fellow; Charlie Tibbs, on the other hand, no, not the fellow a young lady would want to bring home to meet the folks.

The ending of THE SADIST is perfect, actually, with just desserts being served by the plateful. Karma definitely runs over Charlie’s dogma.

THE SADIST is a work of genuine power and here you’ll see Arch Hall, Jr. at the peak of his power as an actor. This is the kind of role that should have made him a superstar in the Hollywood Community, although to those of us in the know and who love cinema such as this, he IS a superstar!

As fate would have it, Arch seems to have been happier when his movie days were over. He went on become a pilot and, as a civilian, flew cargo missions into Vietnam. During the course of his civilian service to the military he received the USAF Civil Air Medal twice, once in 1975 for his volunteer work in Cambodia and also in 1991 while involved in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He was back in Asia in 1979 working as a volunteer in a UNHCR refugee camp orphanage located on the Thai/Cambodian border.

Arch retired from the airline biz in 2004, but has continued to fly a private jet to various places for a couple of years now. He also continues to teach as a flight instructor and even has his own Thorp T-18 “Tiger” Airplane.

As if that weren’t enough to keep him hopping, Arch even found time to write a novel, APSARA JET, under the name Nicholas Merriweather. He describes the book as “Quite erotic and is about major league narco trafficking in the skies of South East Asia.” The book is still available on Amazon or you can get your own SIGNED copy of the book by visiting Arch’s website,

Although you can find THE SADIST on many multi-DVD sets, Arch himself is selling the movie on his website. Not only that, but now it’s available in Blu-Ray!

He mentions on his site that he does most of his communicating through his Facebook page, but if you’re looking to purchase things from his online store, by all means head on over to the website. You might even ask him to autograph whatever it is that you buy!

Then there’s the music. He was a musician even before he was an actor. Arch Hall and the Archers had a good run in their heyday and luckily for the fans they still perform together on occasion, including former bandmates Alan (“Undercover Angel”, “Angie Baby”) O’Day (I’m also Facebook Friends with Alan, but hey, it’s starting to sound like I’m bragging…) and Joel Christie, at venues such as THE PONDEROSA STOMP, CHILLER THEATER & THE MONSTER BASH.

Thank you Arch and Marilyn Manning (wherever you are) from your pal Mike here at “The Splatting Nun” for your courageous performances in THE SADIST. You made it what it is today: an unforgettable, blood-chilling, one-of-a-kind shocker!


Before I got to posting this on THE SPLATTING NUN, I sent it to Arch via a Facebook Message. I was looking for his blessing to do so and to correct any errors I made or add some things that he thought would be of interest. He was kind enough to do all that for me and so an extra special thanks goes out to him for his assistance.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. Hmmm. Could have been also been called THEY SAVED HITLER’S DIODODES or ROBO-FUHRER. Not really giving anything away by doing my own version of retitling this movie because some of it was already given away as I was doing research on it.

So, yes, Adolf (of sorts) makes his entrance during the latter half of the film. Not too surprising since one of his most infamous henchmen and supporters, Dr. Josef Mengele (pictured on the back of the DVD cover), runs the underground compound located slightly below somewhere in the Antarctic in this epic.

Jake Busey, son of Gary Busey (a fave of mine), is the only star here I recognized or knew anything about. The rest of them I don’t recall ever seeing before.

Christopher K. Johnson chews the scenery up (ala Christoph Waltz in INGLORIOUS BASTARDS) as Dr. Mengele, although it’s doubtful that Johnson’s performance will garner him an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actor.

Make no mistake, this is NOT a zombie film – well, not in the “traditional” sense of being a zombie film. If there’s any flesh-eating going on, I didn’t see any by the undead Nazis (unless it was implied), but instead by a virus.

That, however, should not deter you from seeing this. NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH does contain a few surprises, although you can basically tell from the get-go who’s aligned with whom in the storyline.

Mind-blowing twists in the story is something I like (a lot) and there are a few here. As you can see from the DVD insert above, there is a Nazi UFO launched and a funny, almost-Mexican Standoff in the snows of the Antarctic

Be sure and sit (or forward) through the credits for the little tag at the end. No, it doesn’t appear to be setting things up for a sequel, but instead is mining one more laugh from a climactic scene. You’ll know which one I mean when you see it. And see it you must!

Good gore effects and a few “I don’t believe I just f*ck*n’ saw that” moments. It’s another fun entry from the folks at “The Asylum”.

Where to find at your local stores? Well, try Wal-Mart.

At my hometown Wal-Mart, they put out the new DVD titles on Tuesdays and there’s usually a small assortment of what I call “effed up” movies (this is NOT a slam; I happen to LOVE these kinds of films). They’re usually sold at bargain prices (this one was 10 bucks), so do yourself a favor and skip over those crappy Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson movies (which seem to breed like rabbits), and go for the bizarre ones. Like NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.

You can thank me later.


One of the greatest joys that one can get in doing a blog is to sometimes hit a goldmine. In this case, a write-up I posted earlier on "The Splatting Nun" for the book/movie NIGHT OF THE RUNNING MAN.

Lee Wells, who wrote the book and also the screenplay for the movie, came across my write-up while doing an internet search. He left me the following e-mail:

"Hey Mike,

By pure chance, I came across your blog of February 24th on my novel, NIGHT OF THE RUNNING MAN, and I just wanted to thank you for putting your good comments out there. Glad you enjoyed the book. It represented probably 100 hours spent with Las Vegas cabbies. As to the movie, it was originally bought by MGM, was set to star Mel Gibson, and be directed by Stuart Rosenberg who directed COOL HAND LUKE, but it all went through the studio craziness with tempers and money arguments, and when the dust settled, HBO produced the film. Ah, the movie business! The upside was HBO is all over the world and the film made it into all these different countries.

Currently doing a final polish on a new book, a psychic suspense novel called FRACTION OF A SECOND.

Thanks again, Mike, and all the very best with your work. You have a cool way with words!


My thanks to Mr. Wells for finding me and leaving such a kind message. Can hardly wait to find and read FRACTION OF A SECOND!