The Town That Dreaded Sundown: Movie Review


Before we get to the synopsis, let’s roll with a bit of history.
In the spring of 1946, a serial killer dubbed The Phantom Killer terrorized Texarkana.  Over the span of ten weeks, he attacked eight people, killing five.  Seeing as how these attacks occurred at night, they were referred to as The Texarkana Moonlight Murders.  The killer was never caught or identified.  He was reported to have worn a white mask over his head with eye holes cut out.
In 1976, The Town That Dreaded Sundown was released.  It was based on the events in 1946, but it took many liberties.  For example, the movie contained more trombone-related murders than actually occurred.
Every year, Spring Lake Park – located in Texarkana, and the sites of one of the murders – hosts Movies in the Park, where they show a series of movies on the last Thursday of every month, from May through October.  The last movie shown every year is The Town That Dreaded Sundown.

In 2014, a couple – Jami and Corey – go to a screening of The Town That Dreaded Sundown at Spring Lake Park.  They retreat to a Lover’s Lane type area (assuming those still exist) and engage in some passionate necking.  The Phantom appears and removes them both from the car.  He beats Corey with a pipe until he is motionless.  He lets Jami go, telling her, “This is for Mary. Make them remember.”  Jami returns to the drive-in at Spring Lake Park and collapses under the screen.

Thus begins our movie.  With her boyfriend dead and The Phantom returning and imploring her to “make them remember,” Jami begins researching the original murders to see what was missed, and to find out who Mary was.

My thoughts:
I was not a fan of the original movie.  Some of the kills were inventive – again, I bring up the phrase “trombone murder” – but the movie dragged and had odd moments of comic relief, courtesy of Sparkplug, a bumbling police officer played by the director (Charles B. Pierce).  It was a fine early slasher, but not one I find myself being called back to.

town-phantom-in-fieldThis movie is basically a remake, but it recognizes the original film, so it essentially works as a sequel and a remake.  The term “meta-sequel” was thrown around for this movie and I suppose that fits, even if I don’t really like that term.  I’m old.  Your new terminology frightens and confuses me.

Let’s see…didn’t like original movie…scared by the younger generation…what else…
Oh yeah.  This movie.


I loved this movie.  A straight remake would have been perfectly fine, but the twist elevated it to another level.  It added a new dimension and allowed it to play just as well as its own movie as a remake.  There were just enough red herrings thrown in to keep me off balance.

town-jami-coreySince this is a slasher movie, let’s talk about the kills.  OH, THE KILLS.  They were violent and nasty and wonderful.  They nodded back to the original (hello again, trombone), while adding in some fun new visuals.

The cast was great.  The atmosphere was great.  This movie is great.  It’s always nice to find a modern slasher that expands beyond, “Let’s just kill a bunch of horny teenagers,” if only slightly.

Rating: 5/5

Renfield’s Re-Collections part 2…the Revenge!!!

Hell-o and hellcome to another issue of Renfield’s Re-Collections.

 I’m back from the dead this week and digging through the dirt and bring you the coolest crap on the dark side of the net! I’ve always collected the weird, the odd, and the horrific, and I try to pass on the knowledge of the same to you. You’ve heard that “truth is stranger than fiction”? Yeah, well the stories behind each of these items will back that statement up. This week I’ve found three more ghoulish goodies for my maid to break while “cleaning” my mauseleum.

Again, I reemphasize that neither HW nor I profit from the sales of these items. This article is for educational and entertainment purposes only.

 The Town That Dreaded Sundown Original Movie Poster

movie poster

There is a huge market for original movie posters and I can’t say that I don’t own my share! Real original posters measured 27 x 41 inches before the late 1980’s. Also, before the same time, all theater posters had a white frame around the artwork that allowed for the name of the release, date, and production company to be listed at the bottom. After 1988, (give or take a year depending on the company) the frame was eliminated for a full 27 x 40 release with the picture from edge to edge. Finally, the sign of a true original is the fold. Before 1988, “one sheets” as they were called, were sent to theaters folded as opposed to the rolled versions today. Today, if you are collecting any film’s poster prior to mid 80’s, YOU WANT TO SEE THE FOLD, it is not a defect! The only way that a poster was released and not folded was if the theater owner picked up the poster in person from the production company; such as to say that there is maybe one or two originals that were not folded by machine, but again, buying be warned, they are rare!

Secondly, the coolest part about this poster is the tagline “In 1946 this man killed five people…today he still lurks the streets of Texarkana, Arkansas.” Based on actual events that occurred, the murderer was never caught and the town feared that the tagline was bad publicity for their city.  The tagline was removed from the movie by order of the town of Texarkana, but not from the movie poster.


Dark Shadows Milton Bradley Game

ds game

I used to own this damn thing when I was younger and I wished to hell that I remember where it is today. In 1968, the first Dark Shadows board game came out with relatively decent sales. As the popularity of the television show increased, the following year Milton Bradley introduced a board game based on the popular children’s game of Hangman. The game was simple; each player gets a “scaffold”. On their turn, they spin the wheel and either gains a piece of the glow in the dark skeleton from the “coffin” to assemble in order from the skull down. If any other bone comes up from the spin, the turn is lost. If the player lands on a wooden spike three times, he must give a bone back. Plastic teeth were included to be worn by the designated “Barnabus” during each game.  Today it is difficult to find a complete set with box, fangs, and all bones. However a relatively good shape set will run someone between $60 – $85 on eBay.


Remco Universal Monsters Dracula on Card


One of my coolest and most prized possessions is my collections of 1980 Remco Universal Monsters and the Mini-Monster haunted house play case! I WILL BE BURIED WITH THESE THINGS! 1980 Remco toys released 3 ¾ inch figures of the Karloff Mummy, Lugosi Dracula, Karloff Frankenstein, Chaney Sr’s Phantom of the Opera, the Chaney Jr. Wolfman, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. They were also released in glow in the dark versions which only added to the cool factor and made kids beg their parents for more toys since you had to have both! Remco also released a Mini-Monster haunted house play case that glowed in the dark and included a revolving science table for Frank, a sarcophagus to keep your Mummy in, a cage for the Creature, and the rest of the cast were on their own. Today, most figures are off their cards, scratched paint on the noses, and their capes are easily torn. A loose figure will run around $10 – $20 depending on the condition, a carded one will go for about $50, and the case will spot anywhere from $35 – $50.

Well that is all for this week freaks. Hope you’ve enjoyed the dangerous toys as much as I have. Feel free to Tweet me pictures of the items that you have or find.  

Until next time, ”Who will survive,…and what will be left of them?”

Rev. Renfield Rasputin


Renfield, not popular for his opinions, thinks Dracula sucks and Frankenstein is a head case.