The Town That Dreaded Sundown  [DVD]Ben Johnson (actor)
Andrew Prine (actor)
Format: all-region dvd (worldwide)
Runtime: 90 min
It may sound like a tacky horror flick but this is actually an intriguing true-story thriller about a serial killer who preyed on young couples in a small US town in 1946. It charts the three-month period when the hooded sadist terrorised the community and left a hardcase Texas Ranger (played by western veteran Ben Johnson) and the local police chasing shadows.
The heavy-breathing, hooded hulk certainly smacks of Michael Myers from iconic horror Halloween (released two years later), but this is no slasher flick (despite one victim meeting a rather nasty end by trombone). It's more in the tradition of true-crime docudrama complete with stentorian narration to keep you abreast of the historical facts.
But in a tale containing brutal murders, the levity from a comedy-relief cop (played by director Charles B Pierce), who resorts to dressing in drag with other hefty-looking lawmen to trap the killer, is somewhat misplaced.
Nevertheless, car chases, some Peckinpah-inspired slo-mo action and the race-against-time climax to catch the psycho at least keep things bubbling.