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"The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

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"The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

Old 09-23-13, 12:38 AM
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"The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5





The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)



Selected by islandclaws



IMDB ENTRY

ON DAILYMOTION
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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

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Last edited by Chad; 09-27-13 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 10-05-13, 07:04 AM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

The Daily Motion "app" on my TV isn't working anymore, so tablet viewing it is. Probably for the best, given the quality of the picture so far.
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Old 10-05-13, 02:29 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

"...not realising the exact nature of the assignment, volunteers to be one of the decoys..."
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Old 10-05-13, 05:02 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

Gee Wally, why don't you just read me the whole screenplay while I enjoy the pretty moving pictures!

This had to have been influenced by Texas Chainsaw, but clearly was an influence on Friday the 13th later. It's too bad they decide to cut in all the Keystone Cops stuff to lighten the mood after each of the murders. Another title would have been better too, because it alludes to something like Salem's Lot rather than the psycho killer film that it is.

If they had allowed only the slasher horror elements to remain, and removed all the voiceovers, this film would easily still be remembered in the same way Texas Chainsaw, Friday the 13th, and Halloween are today.
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Old 10-05-13, 06:47 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

I found this movie to be hokey and dull. Thank goodness I didn't believe the hype and blind buy the Scream Factory BD.

The only remotely interesting thing about this picture is the killer's costume. Oh yeah, and the death by trombone.

My rating: *1/2 out of *****

By the way, you can stream this on Redbox Instant.
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Old 10-05-13, 07:08 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

Overall, it's an OK movie--but the attempts at humor were really odd and throws off the flow. Too bad. Without that, it would an above-average slasher film, though the killer's mask was too KKK-ish for my tastes.
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Old 10-05-13, 07:38 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

It has been awhile since the last time I had seen it..which was in the movie theaters. As I watched it broght back memories of how this movie went. I remember Sparkplug and about the killer. I wouldn't buy the dvd at the price they're asking which I believe was over $30....way too much. Best kill was the trombone by far. As old as the film is it seems to be in better shape than most of that time period. Others are usually too grainy or fuzzy/ blurry to restore. I won't take any credit for watching this since the link for Dailymotion ends the film just before the trombone killing. There's also one other killing at the very least if memory serves me correctly. The one where the couple is attacked in the home.

Last edited by 3onameathook; 10-05-13 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 10-05-13, 08:13 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

Was it just me or was the video quality at Daily Motion horrendous? I could barely tell what was happening half the time.
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Old 10-05-13, 08:31 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

Originally Posted by 3onameathook View Post
The one where the couple is attacked in the home.
The interesting thing about that scene is the woman is Dawn Wells (aka Mary-Ann from Gilligan's Island). I always thought she was gorgeous as a kid and it was nice to see her in something different.
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Old 10-05-13, 09:29 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Was it just me or was the video quality at Daily Motion horrendous? I could barely tell what was happening half the time.
Most of what I had seen looked good with the exception of possibly 5 minutes or so where you couldn't see anything that was going on
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Old 10-05-13, 11:57 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

I remember everyone talking about this movie last year. I wasn't that impressed with it. Maybe I'm just getting jaded in my old age.
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Old 10-06-13, 12:32 AM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

It has some interesting ideas and a unique style for its era, but I don't think it's a particularly effective movie.
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Old 10-06-13, 12:58 AM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

Originally Posted by cproaps View Post
Gee Wally, why don't you just read me the whole screenplay while I enjoy the pretty moving pictures!
Movies that have an off-screen narrator who isn't actually a character in the film bother me. I guess that maybe director Pierce wanted to enhance the documentary feel of the film, so he added the voice-over.

Originally Posted by cproaps View Post
This had to have been influenced by Texas Chainsaw, but clearly was an influence on Friday the 13th later. It's too bad they decide to cut in all the Keystone Cops stuff to lighten the mood after each of the murders. Another title would have been better too, because it alludes to something like Salem's Lot rather than the psycho killer film that it is.
Interestingly, director Pierce played Officer "Sparkplug" Benson, so I'm assuming that he really liked the comedy relief. As for the title, I see your point to an extent...but it's SUCH a great title that I certainly can't fault him for using it.

Originally Posted by cproaps View Post
If they had allowed only the slasher horror elements to remain, and removed all the voiceovers, this film would easily still be remembered in the same way Texas Chainsaw, Friday the 13th, and Halloween are today.
As it stands, it had about the same impact on me as the original The Toolbox Murders--not a classic, but not a total waste of time either.

There's a remake/sequel currently in the works; it's due out sometime next year.
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Old 10-06-13, 01:44 AM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

I can certainly see how this movie might have influenced later masked killer films like Friday the 13th. I found the movie itself quite good and if the storyline is not as suspenseful it's because it sticks to a documentary style feeling throughout but that gives it an added realism. Cool seeing Dawn Wells in a small part also. The only thing I didn't like were the incongruous comedy bits that ruined the atmosphere. Also the whole thing had a made-for-TV feel to it but I checking IMDB it seems it did get a theatrical release - and with an R rating no less.
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Old 10-06-13, 03:14 AM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

I never caught this until today. I'm with most of you on this. The tonal shifts didn't work well together ... going from pseudo-documentary, criminal investigation, extended murder sequences, and that awful comic relief by Spark Plug. It should've gone all in on one of those: either focusing on the detective/police story or went all-out slasher/horror.

Anybody else catch a cameraperson riding along on the train in plain sight at the big shootout at the end?
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Old 10-06-13, 07:05 AM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

Originally Posted by rbrown498 View Post
Movies that have an off-screen narrator who isn't actually a character in the film bother me...
I agree. Coincidentally, I watched The Picture of Dorian Gray yesterday, which is off-screen narrated by Oscar Wilde. Which you (presumably) would have no clue about, except that the subtitles identify him as such...

I was assuming - except for the "real" aspect - that the title referred to vampires, too.

The humour didn't bother me at all, but the lack of acting from most of the police force, many of whom seemed to be just reading their lines aloud, was a bit annoying.
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Old 10-06-13, 12:38 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

The blu-ray transfer from Scream Factory! was very good. Film has a solid atmosphere and I'm kind of a sucker for the docudrama approach from this era. The hokey voiceovers, etc. take me back to films I'd watch with my babysitters while having the crap scared out of me. If I can make room for it in the challenge I may check out The Evictors.
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Old 10-07-13, 06:01 AM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

I actually loved the film and was very pleased with it being a blind-buy for me. I like the documentary/48 Hours feel. Kind of ahead of it's time covering a relevant crime in a dramatic re-enactment. The only thing I didn't like was the comedy elements were a little awkward. Not sure what they were trying for there.

And that deputy, he was one smooth acting Marlboro Man type. Exactly how a deputy from AR/TX should be.
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Old 10-07-13, 08:07 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

Watching this on Daily Motion was problematic. It was clearly taken from an old vhs source with plenty of noise and low lighting. The nighttime scenes were very difficult to follow, so I really had no idea what was going on during the murder scenes. The audio and video went increasingly out of sync, by the end of the movie there was a good 15 second gap between the audio and the video, so it's hard to for me to accurately judge the movie itself.
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Old 10-19-13, 03:48 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

Thought about picking up the BD when Shout Factory had it as their daily sale, but Amazon showed it as a previous purchase. Wasn't in my horror shelves but randomly found it in a Target bag of misc stuff today. How is the commentary? And how about the bonus film, The Evictors?
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Old 10-19-13, 07:51 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

I was disappointed in Town that Dreaded Sundown after years of hype before it was widely avaliable. The voiceover narration and docudrama vibe I though were it's best aspects; the way an authoritative voiced implored viewers to watch out because the phantom was among us. It reminded me of old radio program theatrics and seemed to break through the forth wall. The comedy segments were horribly mispaced for a horror movie but for a crime drama intending to show police as baffling it make sense, despite the poor execution. I was going to watch The Evictors but am not in much of a hurry now.
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Old 10-21-13, 09:36 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

This is one of those movies that has great parts to it but just doesn't add up to a truly great movie. I think the look of the killer is really creepy and effective. That mask is great. You can see why it was an inspiration for Friday the 13th. I also think some of the deaths are really well done. Come on. How can you not appreciate the trombone killing? It's bizarre, hilarious and fucked up all at once. But the movie can also be pretty dull in stretches, and the attempts at comedy really fall flat. It's one of those movies that I sort of like despite its flaws but could never say I love and can completely understand if others don't like. Except the trombone killing. That's fucking great.

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Thought about picking up the BD when Shout Factory had it as their daily sale, but Amazon showed it as a previous purchase. Wasn't in my horror shelves but randomly found it in a Target bag of misc stuff today. How is the commentary? And how about the bonus film, The Evictors?
Since I watched the movie last year, I decided to go with the commentary. It was all right but a bit dry. If you're looking for a lot of information about the film, you should skip it. The track is mainly focused on the real killings on which movie was based and the differences between the movie and real life. There is some information about the movie and director, but it was mainly about the real Phantom Killer case.
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Old 11-02-13, 07:23 PM
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Re: "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" Reviews/Discussion - 2013 Horror Challenge: Day 5

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