The Town That Dreaded Sundown Reviews
This may not be for everyone that wants to just see a body count and blood. And the parts with the police that are a bit goofier may put off some viewers who want the movie to be taken a bit more seriously. For me though, I enjoyed it and it was something different than most slashers you would see from the time. This movie I feel had a reputation for being gritty and brutal, which it's not. It's just different, and in the horror genre that's what I'm always looking for.
Shot partially documentary style and has some laughs.
Not overly violent but very enjoyable.
The film is somewhat loosely based on the actual crimes attributed to an unidentified serial killer known as the Phantom Killer; it claims that "the incredible story you are about to see is true, where it happened and how it happened; only the names have been changed." The actual Phantom attacked eight people between February 22, 1946 and May 3, 1946 in or near the town of Texarkana, Texas, which is on the border of Texas and Arkansas. Most of the murders occurred in rural areas just outside of Texarkana, in Bowie County, Texas, while the film has them occurring in Arkansas. However, the general outline of the murders largely follows the reality, with mostly minor artistic license taken. As in the film, the real killer was never identified nor apprehended. I remember "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" cover in the videostore back in the 80s, but I never saw it then. "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" is slightly strange and uneven in its structure, with quite graphic and violent scenes that changes into bad situation comedy scenes with fitting music. I personally donīt understand why the director Charles B. Pierce took that road as he couldīve stayed on the dramatic path and not ruin the film with this comic relief that makes no sense. The story is there so why ruin it? Itīs a pretty nicely shot movie with great scenery and solid props in all departments. Some scenes are quite good and you can see that Charles B. Pierce took inspiration from the late and great Sam Peckinpah. But..., the acting is quite terrible from pretty much everyone giving the film such an amateurish sense and feel. The only exception is of course the star of the movie, Ben Johnson. To sum it up, "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" reaches halfway, but not much longer.