Okay. So The Town That Dreaded Sundown from 1976 got a sequel. So let me get through this quickly.
THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (1976)
I honestly had never seen the original before the sequel came around, so I figured it was about time. After watching it, I can’t help but wonder if I had seen it but just completely forgotten it. It’s that forgettable. It’s that worth forgetting.
Okay. It has two things going for it. Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island is in it and gets chased by a masked killer.
And the masked killer is freaky creepy. In fact, the sack over the head has been stolen again and again in movies (Friday the 13th part 2, The Strangers, etc.).
But the truth is, aside from a few tense scenes that capture the spirit of slasher movies that were to come, The Town That Dreaded Sundown is neither a slasher movie nor a horror film. It’s sort of a docudrama mystery set in 1946 and loosely based on a true story about a series of murders that rocked a small town.
It’s also not much of a mystery and it’s ridiculously farcical at times—like Keystone Cops silly. And to top it all off, there’s an undercover scene in which the cops all dress in drag.
Oh. And then there’s the part in which the killer ties a chick to a tree…and whips out a trombone. WTF? This movie is a disaster.
THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (2014)
The remake revisits the legend, pays homage to the first film, and gives us a pretty standard slasher flick all at once. Granted, it’s a pretty forgettable modern slasher flick, but it’s entertaining in the moment.
The intro perfectly mimics the opening of the first film, and the new movie is based on the premise that the actual town shows the 1976 film every year at Halloween. And it’s during the showing of the film at a drive-in that the murders begin. See? Pretty cool.
The film is loaded with sex, brutal kills, and chase scenes. The infamous trombone scene from the original gets two tributes: it’s playing on the drive-in screen during the first kill. Later, an interracial gay hookup is interrupted by the killer, who stabs the gay away with the same musical instrument.
The gay gets it in the end.
The cast is amazing. Veronica Cartwright (Witches of Eastwick, Invasion of the Body Snatchers 78), Anthony Anderson of Black-ish, Josh from The Blair Witch Project, Gary Cole (Vamp U, Cry_Wolf, The Ring Two), the late Edward Herrmann (The Lost Boys), and gorgeous (and shirtless) Wes Chatam of Husk.
Speaking of gorgeous, Andy Abele, the man behind the mask, should not be wearing a sack over his head….
I’d love to get him in the sack.
The remake focuses a bit too much on the relationship between the main girl and her new man for my tastes. I kind of don’t give a shit. Just kill people already. And finally, the ending is like something right out of Scream. Seriously.