The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: A Texas Ranger hunts for a hooded serial killer terrorizing the residents of a small town, set in 1946 Texas. Loosely based on a true story. Runtime: 90 mins Release Date: 24 Dec 1976
Well I have to say that this movie is excellent. I was lucky to have my father be in this movie. I grew up in Atlanta,TX and moved from there in 1995. If you ever see the heavy set taxi driver, thats him, the officer at the police station dressed as a woman with the cigar, that was also him. My father did stunt driving and rebuilt the autos in the movie. You will be suprised what I can tell you that went on behind the scenes of the movie. Like when they tied Dawn Wells to the tree, well she was screaming not because of the phantom, but a snake that was on the ground in front of her. The snake <more>
came up during the shoot and they didn't tell Dawn about it, she just seen it. That is why her screams are realistic. One scene with the rain, look closey at the windshield wipers, if you notice its fast one minute, then slow, only because the motor went out and my father was on top of the car moving it by hand. Did you also know that most people that played in the movie did not know how to even drive or crank the vehicles? Back then there was push button starts, they kept breaking keys off in the ignition trying to crank it that way, but all the ignition does is unlock the collum. Needless to say they went trough alot of ignition switches. Boy what all I can say and not enough room to do it. I highy recommend this movie to anyone.
Women were Crying & Screaming in the Theater! (by legwarmers1980)
I saw this movie when it first came out in Miami, Florida. When the 6feet 8inch. psycho killer wearing a potato-sack as a mask with the eyes cut-out, appears, and butchers the lover-lane couple, with his heavy breathing and the potato sack mask going in and out, a young woman in her 20s ran out of the theater hysterical, and a few other women were screaming! Made a few years before the slasher films of the 1980s, this film was way before its time. The killer was brutal, sadistic, and very realistic. The murders were done in a very realistic manner, and with a cast of almost complete unknowns, <more>
it had a documentary feeling to it. Veteran character actor Ben Johnson was excellent as usual, and a nervous looking Andrew Perine did a creditable job, but it was the killer who stole the show. Excellent movie, tame by today's standards, but a horror classic never-the-less.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown is one of my favorite movies of all time. I collect anything I can find on the movie. I own lobby cards, pictures, posters. The movie has comedy, but is also really tense. The movie stars the great actors Ben Johnson and Andrew Prine as determined lawmen trying to stop the phantom. The director and producer of the movie Charles B. Pierce also stars and is very funny as Sparkplug, as he is sometimes called. As I mentioned the movie has comedy such as Sparkplug and others going undercover dressed as women hoping to catch the killer, but believe me the comedy is a <more>
welcome relief from the very frightening scenes with the phantom killer, who is one of the scariest killers I've ever seen in a movie. Based on a true story and with Dawn Wells of Gilligans island fame as one of the phantoms victims, you cant go wrong. I highly recommend this great film.
He still lurks the streets of Texarkana, Arkansas. (by Nightman85)
Another chilling docu-thriller from director Charles B. Pierce who made The Ledgend of Boggy Creek in 1972 , this film being his best!It's 1946, in the small town of Texarkana, Texas-Arkansas a hooded murderer is terrorizing the community and making the local law enforcement desperate.Based upon the real events that surrounded one of America's most baffling serial killers, this solidly made film is a compelling and generally under exposed fore-runner of the slasher genre. Director Pierce gives this film a nicely authentic feel of the era as well as a great atmosphere of dread. The <more>
movies strongest scenes are the re-enactments of the murders, which are effectively heart-pounding! Among the memorable moments is a creepy 'murder-by-trombone' and an intense stalking sequence with a bloodied Dawn Wells. Along with these thrilling bits comes some mild comic relief with the local police that thankfully don't hamper the proceedings. The moody music score is also a good touch. The cast does well, veteran actor Ben Johnson is good as a criminal specialist, as is Andrew Prine as a local deputy. Director Pierce himself appears as a bumbling police officer.An entertaining thriller from its shocking opening to its haunting conclusion, The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a B movie winner.*** 1/2 out of ****
Terrific film shamefully ignored over the years! (by Coventry)
"The town " is an early triumph in the serial-killer section of the horror genre, handling about a small American town terrorized by a masked murderer shortly after the end of World War II. Actually based on true events, the maniac picks out his victims on Lovers Lanes and shoots them without mercy. This important low-budget production, from the hands of the legendary producer Samuel Z. Arkoff, completely depends on unsettling atmosphere and the icky sound editing. The isolated location of a town of the edge of Texas and Arkansas has something raw, primitive and terrifying. This <more>
aspect is stressed extra by the grim voice-over that repeatedly informs us about the facts. Although you never get to know much about the killer's identity or personality, it's one of the most fascinating madmen in film history. His heavy breathing and primitive mask similar to the one Jason Vorhees wore in F13 part 2 make him look truly chilling and mysterious. What's also great about this movie is that it features so many tricks and familiar sub-plots, only they were used here of the first time! Profiling of the killer, copycat behavior etc All this makes "The Town that Dreaded Sundown" a vastly underrated and film and more horror fans should reckon its brilliance. Too bad it's so hard to obtain a decent copy of it. I spent years looking for this film before finally seeing it in poor picture quality. The only few flaws to detect is the lousy and typical redneck humor that director Charles B. Pierce inserts in order to lighten the demanding tone of the film. The same mistake also almost ruined Wes Craven's "Last House on the Left".
Horror and crime, for once, work hand in hand (by StevePulaski)
The Town That Dreaded Sundown achieves at a style of horror filmmaking films of the same genre don't even consider anymore; documentarian style. I'm not talking low budget, shaky camera. I'm talking haunting narration, no name casts, a well developed story, and the perfect mixture of murders as well as crime-drama.This all feels like an episode of CSI, only better, more developed, and more entertaining. The film is based off the real murders that occurred in the mid-forties in Texarkana, Arkansas. The killer wore a white sheet with two little holes for eyes. He was dubbed <more>
"The Phantom Killer" and went on to kill five people and attack three of them. To this day, he has never been caught. Being that the film dates back to 1976, it states that "today, he still lurks the streets of Texarkana, Arkansas." Obviously, in 2012, he's most likely long-gone dead. Or is he? The age of the killer in the film, like in the real life case, are very unclear. He is seen to be a very tall man, modestly built, and casually dressed, despite the mask. Never do we see anything we could identify in a police lineup. It's as vague and as ordinary as the man in the real life case.The film also packs in some excellent, chilling narrations from Vern Stierman, a popular voice in film. His narration is a main contribution to why the film plays like a documentary. The way he narrates the events, announces the character's occupations, etc doesn't feel like a lazy way at character development as much as it feels like a well conducted docudrama.In the suspense field, the film is pursued with knowledge, surreality, and success. We get the dark, eerie atmosphere of the setting in the mid hours of the night, combined with some fantastic chords in the music. The chords don't serve as much as a jump scare that makes you laugh at yourself for becoming bait, but it offers substance and a murder to go along with it. It's not simple trickery like we're so used to.I normally don't like when films try to do one too many things. This one tries to do two things and is successful at both; be a horror film as well as a crime-drama. Since the film is going for more of a docudrama atmosphere, both feel well developed and fitting, rather than the film immediately changing what it is trying to be halfway through. It's not a movie that had ambition to be a horror film, but then got sidetracked in the second or third act.The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a creepy horror film and an effective crime-drama, never feeling like it is insisting upon itself on either level. When you think about it, how many horror films succeed at pulling off two genres that don't totally go hand in hand? Only one comes to mind instantly.Starring: Ben Johnson, Andrew Prine, and Dawn Wells. Charles B. Pierce.
Well made, sometimes effective horror film that is based on a true story. (by hu675)
Set in the late 1940's Texarkana, Arkanasas. The residents of a small peaceful town are terrorized by a mysterious hooded killer. Who's been stalking and killing random victims during the night. When the police from the town are hopeless and confused by the terror. A professional detective from Texas, Captain J.D. Morales Oscar-Winner:Ben Johnson arrives in Texarkana to help the police office. Who is also charged in the case is Deputy Norman Ramsey Andrew Prine . Although these vicious, then unusual crimes stopped as quickly as they begin. Morales and Ramsey are running out of <more>
time.Directed by the late Charles B. Pierce Bootleggers, The Evictors, The Legend of Boggy Creek made an well made horror film that is occasionally scary and suspenseful. This sometimes, unusual movie is also narrated by the late Vern Stierman. Which is surprisingly effective, when it is used. Pierce himself appears in a supporting role as Patrolman A.C. Benson. Who is the comic relief of the movie but that's the only complain of the movie. Sometimes, i felt the film's sense of humour sometimes hurts the effectiveness.Since the movie is only available in a bootleg release. You can find this movie in Full Screen or Widescreen. You are better off finding this in Widescreen. Since it is extremely well shot by James W. Roberson in Panavision. The movie is also gimmicky at times, especially during the conclusion. Since this picture has become an Cult Classic over the years. Now...There's an remake in the works and it might be shot in 3-D! If you haven't seen this, this is worth seeing. The look of the hooded killer is giving homage later in "Friday the 13th Part 2". The killer in this movie, who is truly scary is played by stuntman Bud Davis as the Phantom Killer. ****/***** .
Proving that it's the totality of a person's work that should rightfully categorize whether someone has a talent for directing, The Town That Dreaded Sundown proves that there is more to Charles B. Pierce than his more well known albatross Beast of Boggy Creek II and to a lesser extent The Norseman. Centered in Texarkana, Texas in 1946 a series of assaults and murders by a man wearing a sack over his face turns the friendly town into a community that quickly becomes scared of it's own shadow. Ben Johnson as Captain J.D. Morales is called in to assist Texarkana Deputy Norman Ramsey <more>
in one of Andrew Prine's finest performances ever. Charles B. Pierce supplies the movie's comic relief as lead-footed hothead A.C. "Sparkplug" Benson that provides genuine bright spots in an otherwise dark movie. What makes this such an interesting story is that the case remains unsolved to this day as apposed to all the connect the dots maniacal killer movies that flood the market. There is no happy ending and sometimes the bad guy does win, just like in real life. A very underrated movie that isn't too long and yet pulls you as the storyline progresses. How many films do you know that have an attempted murder of Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island fame? Just one my man, just one. Well done Charles, I knew you had it inya!
1946. No-nonsense Texas Ranger J.D. Morales a fine and dignified portrayal by Ben Johnson and earnest Deputy Norman Ramsey an excellent and engaging performance by Andrew Prine join forces to apprehend a vicious mysterious hooded psycho played with creepy heavy-breathing intensity by Bud Davis who's terrorizing the small rustic community of Texarkana, Arkansas. Director Charles B. Pierce, working from a solid script by Earl E. Smith who also pops up in a small part as helpful shrink Dr. Kress , relates the absorbing story at a steady pace, offers a flavorsome evocation of the <more>
40's period setting, ably crafts and sustains a strong atmosphere of dread, and hints at some pretty dark and depraved stuff throughout. The startling moments of savage violence pack a ferocious kick, with the infamous trombone murder rating as a definite memorably sick highlight. The use of both rural backwoods locations and locals in small roles gives this picture a sure feeling of authenticity. Dawn Wells makes a bravura appearance in one of the film's single most harrowing set pieces as near victim Helen Reed. Both Jaime Mendoza-Nava's haunting score and James W. Roberson's crisp widescreen cinematography are up to par. Vern Stierman's somber narration further enhances the overall gloomy and unsettling mood. However, the annoying comic relief deputy character played by Pierce seems painfully out of place. That criticism aside, this movie certainly deserves its cult status as a proto-slasher trailblazer.