COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Scream Factory’s The Town That Dreaded Sundown
Courtesy of Shout Factory.
On May 21, Shout Factory will be releasing “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” for the first time on BLU-RAY and it will also be packaged with an addition DVD that contains the film, all of the extras and also a bonus movie called “The Evictors”(only on the DVD) that was also directed by Charles B. Pierce.
“The Town That Dreaded Sundown” is one of my top ten horror films of all time. I know that’s saying a lot, but the film is just creepy. It’s based on true events that actually took place in Texarkana, Arkansas in the 1940’s and I that is the reason I find the film scary and horrifying.
The little town of Texarkana was terrorized by a hooded killer named “The Phantom” that nobody could catch and there were only a few victims that survived the killer’s brutal attacks. They could never identify him because of the hood and there were never enough clues or fingerprints to catch him.
“The Town That Dreaded Sundown” was released in 1979 and was directed by Charles B. Pierce who also directed “The Evictors” which is also included on the DVD. It stars Ben Johnson, Andrew Prine, and Dawn Wells.
Another reason that I find this movie very creepy is that it feels more like a documentary when you watch it. The film is narrated and all of the scenes in the film are described while they are being shown.
The quality of the print is spectacular on both the BLU-RAY and DVD copies. The film is flawless and is as sharp and clear as it was when it was released in the theater. I was totally amazed at how great it looked for being released in 1979.
The special features are very entertaining and include:
“Small Town Lawman” – An Interview with actor Andrew Prine
“Survivor Stories” – An Interview with actress Dawn Wells
“Eye of the Beholder” – An interview with Director of Photography James Roberson
- Essay by writer Brian Alrbright
There are two special features that I thought were fabulous. There is an audio commentary with Justin Beahm and Historian Jim Presley.
Jim Presley seemed to know all of the events and details about what happened in Texarkana in the 1940’s and it was so interesting listening Jim. He told stories and actual facts about each murder. He would compare what really happened to what was shown in the film. This was great and a very smart approach to do something different with the commentary.
The other special feature is a film on the DVD called “The Evictors.” It is full length film that was released in 1977 and was also directed by Charles B. Pierce. It is about a young couple who move into an old house that has a violent history. Soon after they move in strange things start happening and somebody wants them out of the house.
I thought that this was a great film because it had the same feel as “The Town That Dreaded Sundown.” It was not narrated, but it felt like I was watching a documentary. It was creepy and made you feel uneasy watching it.
I really liked Charles B. Pierce’s directing style, because it is unique. All of his films feel like documentaries and in my opinion that’s what makes movies scary, because it’s something that could happen or has happened.
I really enjoyed Shout Factory’s “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” BLU-RAY/DVD combo pack. It is a creepy movie and it looks amazing on BLU-RAY. The special features are great and are very entertaining. The audio commentary is fabulous and “The Evictors” is a great bonus film. “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” is a must have for any horror fan.
For more information on Shout Factory go to www.shoutfactory.com
Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.