Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

(1976)
This film piqued my curiosity because of the fantastic Ralph McQuarrie poster art along with the ridiculously appealing movie title. Slasher aficionados must see this intriguing missing link released two years prior to Halloween and two years after Black Sunday.

The moment I pressed play I was reminded that I simply love late 70's B-movie horror. I love the look, the colors, the font in the opening credits, the overall vibe. The dead serious narration between scenes is the icing on the cake. Based on true events (more so than one would expect), the film takes place in 1946 on a border town between Texas and Arkansas. The murder of a young couple making out on Lover's Lane marks the beginning of a deadly killing spree.

The most decorated and respected ranger in the state is enlisted to solve the case. This grizzled old bastard (played by Ben Johnson, whom I'd never heard of before, but whose performance carries the movie and deserves mention) storms in and explains to the local authorities that they're doing everything wrong and enlightens them on how they should be spending their time. His plan is to lure the killer into a trap via cops pretending to be teenagers making out in cars. I did not see this coming and it made my entire weekend.

 Believe it or not this scene was based on fact. 
The killer sports a potato sac very similar to the one that Jason made fashionable in 1981's Friday the 13th Part 2. The kill scenes are chilling, one involving a trombone in particular. If I haven't sold you yet then get this - Maryanne from Gilligan's Island plays one of the victims!    

13 comments:

Catfreeek said...

I've had this sitting in my queue and almost pressed play several times. Now I'm hoping to squeeze it in, you sold me!

Octopunk said...

Nice one, JSP! I'm assuming when you say late 70s horror you're talking about the American stuff. Or, more specifically, not British stuff.

I have to make a correction. You made a mistake when you said

"The killer sports a potato sac very similar to the one that Jason made fashionable in 1981's Friday the 13th Part 2."

Correction: the sac was never fashionable.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

We've disagreed on this for years Octo! One of these days you'll suddenly realize just how dashing Jason looks in the potato sac and overalls.

Mr. AC said...

Sounds like fun + I've had a wee crush on Maryanne since I was a lad. Also, please tell me that's a fake handlebar mustache.

AC said...

Wow. I'm disturbed yet intrigued.

Octopunk said...

No, it's JPX who hates the pillow case. But I will never be able to resist fanning that flame.

DCD said...

The man in that picture looks like Uncle Vernon from the Harry Potter flicks...

JPX said...

Jason is supposed to wear a hockey mask, not a potato sack! How menacing can you be in a potato sack? If Jason was chasing you all you would need to do is grab that sack so his eye-hole becomes misaligned. Boo to Jason in a potato sack!

Octopunk said...

It's like beautiful music...

Timothy Brannan said...

This is the third time I have seen this classic in the Challenge this year.

This movie scared the crap out of me when I was a kid and it first came out.

I am going to have to re-watch it for the challenge next year.

Mr. AC said...

Has anyone seen the 2014 remake of this?

Trevor said...

I vote for "potato sacs are scary."

Mr. AC said...
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