The Town That Dreaded Sundown

A hooded serial killer terrorizes a city.

 

United States
1976
Feature Film
Realism: 
Plausible
Character Focus: 
Serial Killer Film
Stalker: 
Sneaker
Trespasser
Catastrophes: 
Crash
4
It's part of the procedural...
3.04
3.04
5.04
5.04
2
3
2
Photography
Ambiance
Editing
This slasher takes place in 1946 Texas, 30 years prior to its release. The featured serial killer wears a white hood on his head and has a loony's M.O. He attacks his victims in creative ways and often takes pleasure in making them suffer. He rarely uses the same weapon, as if experimenting with death. The camera loves him and studies his every move; an interesting cinematographic choice.
We’d feel more vulnerable if our main protagonists were future victims instead of policemen. We are unfortunately expected to keep up with their procedural and their soundtrack right out of a spy film. Here and there, a narrator with a deep foreshadowing voice compensates to restore the wasted build-up, reminding us that we are watching an evolving tragedy.
Some actors pull it off better than others, doing what they can with stiff characters. Many exist only to die and the rest could use more chemistry. The Town That Dreaded Sundown has light humor but an otherwise ruthless tone. It is presented as a whodunit, is gorier than terrifying and more exploitative than story-driven. It is a generic succession of rigid dialogue and shocking murders.
Universal Classic Monsters Reviewed: 2020 Edition

Horror critic Steve Hutchison analyzes 31 Universal classic monster movies. How many have you seen? Each article includes a synopsis, five different ratings, and a review.

Scary, Tense, Shocking & Sad

Here’s a selection of 200 horror and horror-adjacent movies, ranked, rated, and reviewed by critic Steve Hutchison. All movies are considered scary, tense, shocking, and sad. These are not for the squeamish!

Fun, Sexy & Gory

Here’s a selection of 200 horror and horror-adjacent movies, ranked, rated, and reviewed by critic Steve Hutchison. All movies are considered fun, sexy, and gory. It’s the ultimate party mix!

Scary, Shocking, Gory, Weird & Sexy

Here’s a selection of 200 horror and horror-adjacent movies, ranked, rated, and reviewed by critic Steve Hutchison. All movies are considered scary, shocking, gory, weird, and sexy. Let’s get down and dirty!

80 All-Japanese Horror Movies

This book contains 80 descriptions of horror films reviewed and ranked by critic Steve Hutchison. Each description includes five ratings (stars, story, creativity, acting, quality), a synopsis and a review. All movies were produced exclusively by Japan. How many have you seen?