Intruder, The / I Hate Your Guts! / Shame (1962)

Intruder, The / I Hate Your Guts! / Shame (1962)

“There’s no two ways about it: this here thing’s gotta be stopped, and it’s gotta be stopped right now!”

When a white supremacist agitator (William Shatner) shows up in a southern town about to integrate its schools, he enlists help from a newspaperman (Frank Maxwell) and a local bigot (Robert Emhardt) to stir up hatred while romancing Maxwell’s teenage daughter (Beverly Lunsford) and putting the moves on the disturbed wife (Jeanne Cooper) of a neighbor (Leo Gordon). Will Shatner succeed in his goals of preventing integration and sowing violence?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Deep South
  • Racism and Race Relations
  • Roger Corman Films

Made on a shoestring budget (of course), this Roger Corman-produced, Charles Beaumont-scripted independent film is a marvel of brave innovation: rather than centering a white savior showing up in a racist town to save Blacks, we’re shown a white anti-hero who easily stokes existing bigotry into increasingly violent outcomes.

I’ll admit I kept waiting for a “big reveal” — Shatner’s true motivations must surely be good — that never came; what we see here is what we get, in unvarnished docu-realism:

While the storyline ultimately ends with an “easy out”, it’s made crystal clear that nothing has changed in this town. A near-lynching of an innocent black teenager (Charles Barnes):

… only doesn’t happen given another man’s non-race-related personal grudges against Shatner. Film fanatics should most definitely check out this unusual flick, which remains one of the most potent films about racism from its era.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • William Shatner as Adam Cramer
  • Taylor Byars’ stark b&w cinematography

Must See?
Yes, as a brave and unique (if flawed) independent film. Listed (appropriately so) as a Sleeper in the back of Peary’s book.


  • Good Show


2 thoughts on “Intruder, The / I Hate Your Guts! / Shame (1962)

  1. Agreed, must-see. As per my 1/14/21 post in ‘Revival House of Camp & Cult’ (fb):

    “Wake up, boy – that mob is the boss!”

    ‘The Intruder’: Two years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, producer/director Roger Corman released the film he would later describe as the work he was most proud of in his entire career. *(He had one of his best writers – Charles Beaumont – do the screenplay.)

    Apparently, this is also the one film Corman ever lost money on.

    Predictably, many voices surrounding Corman cautioned him about the ‘wisdom’ of shepherding such a film. He had such difficulty in securing a distributor that Corman and his brother more or less decided to put their own money into it, scaling the initial budget of $500,000 down to $90,000. As well, they presented a less-incendiary script to Missouri townsfolk (who later objected to the film’s view of racism).

    Seen today, and in light of what just happened in DC, ‘The Intruder’ is perhaps most valuable in showing how a “gutless” man can stir up violence while simultaneously falsely claiming to encourage the establishment of ‘what’s right’ through strong but more peaceable measures.

    Looking back on the experience, Corman’s brother Gene said, “Obviously we did it because we wanted to, and we think it’s a damn good job.”

    *Corman pointed this out the year he attended the Tokyo International Film Festival when they scheduled the film for a special screening. Corman introduced the film prior to the screening.

  2. I am very fascinated by this film, on so many levels! Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a dramatized “making of” movie? (Corman deserves to be immortalized in that way!)

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