Taking on two dreaded slashers

Okay. So The Town That Dreaded Sundown from 1976 got a sequel. So let me get through this quickly.


town that dreaded orig

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.

town that dreaded dawn wells

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.

town that dreaded 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.

town that dreaded trombone


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.

town that dreaded remake

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, a gay hookup is interrupted by the killer, who stabs the gay away with the same musical instrument.

town that dreaded gay

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.

town that dreaded wes smaller

Speaking of gorgeous, Andy Abele, the man behind the mask, should not be wearing a sack over his head….

andy abele of town that dreaded

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.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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