The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976) - Charles B. Pierce

The Town That Dreaded Sundown isn't bad, but it isn't amazing either. It's presented as a quasi-documentary with a narrator describing key events as they happen in the film. The soundtrack and the narration really throw off the creepy vibe. However, the fact that this is based on a true story is really interesting and makes this worth the watch. 

A hooded brute is stalking the young people in a small Texas town and savagely murdering them. The film revolves around the efforts of the police in the area and an expert ranger to apprehend this serial killer. As they begin the largest manhunt in Texas history. Their suspect alludes them at every turn. Becoming an enigma and earning the title of the Phantom Slayer.

Made in 1976, Sundown was a big influence on the slasher genre. Stupid teens in love, necking over at "The Point" The Phantom Slayer looked to be a big part of who Jason Voorhees was supposed to look like in Friday the 13th: Part 2. I feel like this movie had a huge impact on the horror society and it was vastly overlooked. Yeah the movie is dated but things were scarier back then. Aside form the soundtrack and narration you have a really solid horror movie here. That is, all the way up until the end. What a cop-out.

I liked the movie and I can't wait for the remake to come out. If anything it will be a nice upgrade to a movie that needs it. This one was really well paced, but the ending and the overall vibe killed the creepy qualities. The scenes with the Phantom are great. Really suspenseful. Then it's killed with narration that's too loud or a soundtrack that doesn't make sense. I recommend this movie for Halloween playlists all around. It's perfect to play in the background while beer pong is going on.

"Texarkana looked normal during the daylight hours. But everyone dreaded sundown..."

  • Based on the real-life string of mysterious killings that terrorized the people of Texarkana, Texas, in 1946. The murder spree became known as the "Texarkana Moonlight Murders" and ultimately would claim five lives and injure many others. The only description of the killer ever obtained was of a hooded man. To this day no one has been convicted and these murders remain unsolved.

  • A remake is being developed by Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is to direct from a script by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Addison Timlin will play the lead role.

  • According to the interview with Andrew Prine on the Region 1 Shout! Factory release, Prine had to write the ending for the movie because the script didn't have an ending.