The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)


Charles B. Pierce directs Ben Johnson, Andrew Prine and Dawn Wells in this true crime thriller about a sack masked killer who terrorised Texarkana in the 1940s.

A tonally uneven film with more positives than negatives. Some moments don’t work; an inconsequential car chase included to jazz up the trailer no doubt, hick cop comedy, the infamous trombone stabbing. But in the main this matches Zodiac in its paranoid atmosphere. You are gripped by its reportage of sweaty, unsolved, nihilistic desperation. Also for a drive-in cheapie the period location work is stunningly filmed. Ignore its occasional naff bits and this has very lofty intentions and fine quality for a piece of violent exploitation.

7

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