The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)

Back in 1946 the town of Texarkana was shocked as a hooded maniac began a reign of terror.  The killer was never caught and this film is based very loosely on the case.  The local police are baffled, they eventually call in reinforcements from the surrounding law enforcement communities and also from veteran Texas Ranger Captain J.D Morales.  Aided by Deputy Sheriff Ramsey and comedy relief Patrolman Benson (director Charles B. Pierce) they try to piece together what little evidence they have to try and apprehend the killer.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a extremely well made picture, it’s period detail is faultless and the ‘Phantom Killer’ is one of cinema’s great bogeymen.  His hooded look obviously influenced the makers of Friday the 13th Part 2 and with his heavy breathing, he gives Darth Vader a run for his money as cinema’s scariest asthmatic.  The killer is very cruel and fans of brass instruments will never look at a trombone in the same way again.  The comedy provided by the director himself as inept rookie cop Benson seems out of place in a pretty much serious film, but it for some reason works and had me laughing out loud quite often.

With it’s 1946 setting (and matching music), the film really hasn’t really aged and is still effective today as it was back in the seventies.  Definately worth adding to the collection.

  • Starring Ben Johnson  Andrew Prine  Bud Davis  Dawn Wells
  • Director Charles B. Pierce
  • Distributor Eureka