Youell started escalating his crimes and by the age of fifteen he was interviewed by the Secret Service after being caught counterfeiting nickels. Morales shoots at him but misses, causing him to run into the woods. The Lone Wolf even had to deal with the constant rumors that were typical of a small southern town, one of the most notable being that the Phantom Killer was gnawing the breasts of the girls he had murdered. [2] About 19 Texarkana locals starred in the film along with several extras. Then, a peculiar yet promising clue emerged. Emma Cook was shown tied to a tree with bite marks. [32] The film has Morales naming the killer a phantom, but the naming of the killer did not come until after the murders in April, and by the executive editor of the Texarkana Gazette. The showing of the film, which has been a tradition since 2003, is a free event sponsored by the Texarkana, Texas Department of Parks & Recreation.[38]. "[26], Bloody Disgusting gave the film five "skulls" in a review by Patrick Cooper, who wrote that it is "a hugely entertaining atmospheric thriller," and that "the only parts that fumble a bit are the regrettable comedic moments... these well-intentioned bits sharply interrupt the serious ambiance of the film, but at least they're few and spaced far enough apart that they don't ruin the whole thing. He was wearing a light-colored long-sleeved shirt, with his arms and hands in front of him (Presley, p. 52, 2014). "[10] Being shot at was a new experience for the actress. His grandchildren called him Mr. Swinney, not Grandpa or Grandfather. Film never reaches the truly frightening level of Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, a much more stylish exploitation pic with a similar theme. Panicked, the town sells out of guns and other home safety equipment. Martin must have dropped it after abandoning the vehicle. [33], The film then shows a high school prom with the character "Peggy Loomis" playing a trombone, and officers setting up decoys in an attempt to capture the Phantom. In 1946, the town of Texarkana, Arkansas is plagued by assaults and slayings committed by "the Phantom Killer ". Although the murders occurred over 70 years ago, these books were published within the last several years. He leaves a message for Sheriff Barker to meet him at Michael-Meagher Hospital. When the table teetered it would also spill loose nails onto tin trays and pots would smash against vases on the floor, which would wake up Mr. and Mrs. Rochelle, who kept a rifle next to their bed.” (Life, 1946). Texarkana residents were also at odds with their neighbors, calling the police about suspicious persons who turned out to be the mailman or, in one case, a drunkard that was shot in the toe. Sheriff Presley sent them to Texarkana Hospital while he and the other officers investigated the scene. This attitude was not helped when the Lone Wolf himself was caught reenacting one of the crime scenes in a local man’s barn in the middle of the night without the property owner’s permission. It was apparent through her statements regarding her husband that he was the Phantom Killer and she knew of certain information that would have been exclusive knowledge only to the killer and any accomplices he might have. A grungy and ragged affair, The Town That Dreaded Sundown nonetheless helped establish the grimy, influential aesthetic of … [17], Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "A couple of professional actors, Ben Johnson and Andrew Prine, head the cast, but the film looks nonprofessional in every other respect. The officers tried to interview the victims who were identified as Jimmy Hollis and Mary Jeanne Larey at the scene, but Hollis was so badly injured he could barely retain consciousness. When she was later taken to the crime scene, Peggy Swinney was able to identify the exact location where Paul Martin’s car was parked on the night of April 13, 1946. However, The Town That Dreaded Sundown did upset many of the residents and even resulted in an (unsuccessful) lawsuit from one a brother of one of the victims. In February 1977, Texarkana city officials voted to file a lawsuit against the film's ad campaign. That same morning, fellow residents of Texarkana and their young son found the crumpled body of a young man on the side of North Park Road at 6 a.m. Mortified, the family did not leave their car, but instead drove to the closest home to the crime scene, where the residents called the authorities. Scream Factory resurrects Charles B. Sheriff Barker calls in help and tells Ramsey they are getting the most famous criminal investigator in the country, the "Lone Wolf" of the Texas Rangers, Captain J.D. Join your hosts Kim as they discuss the real-life horrors that inspired some of the best true crime cinema ever produced! Then, for unknown reasons, after Hollis collapsed from his injuries, the stranger told Larey to run. As a result, the film is unable to conjure up any mood or suspense." "They planted a charge in the receiver, so I was standing there holding the phone, shaking, expecting the receiver to blow up in my face. The ad pleaded for anyone who owned, or knew of anyone who owned, one of these lights to please report to the Sheriff. We Want To Finance Your Film. The next attack falls on the day of a high school prom, and decoys are set up on the edges of town. Soon, no one was venturing out after dark, as many residents were terrified and shut themselves into their houses at night. Apply Now. She was later released from the Miller County Jail on December 19, 1946. Among the rangers who arrived was that of the infamous Ranger Captain Manuel Trazzazas Lone Wolf Gonzaullas, who brought 26 years of experience to Texarkana and had a reputation that preceded him. The Phantom is played by Bud Davis, who later worked as stunt coordinator on films such as Forrest Gump, Cast Away, and Inglourious Basterds. Even though Youell was the youngest, his low birth order garnered no sympathy from his parents and he was often forgotten and set aside in favor of his siblings. Green for all their help! [37], In Texarkana (where the story is based), this film is shown to the public at Spring Lake Park near Halloween. Truthfully, "Lone Wolf" did not come to Texarkana until after the second double-murder near Spring Lake Park. While Hollis was rushed into emergency surgery for a severe injury to his skull, Larey spoke to the officers despite being shaken up. She stated that she was not sure where her new husband was located at that particular time. His concept art was used to help convince 20th Century Fox to fund Star Wars. Local and federal law enforcement seemed to be kicking everything into high gear, but nothing was reassuring the people of Texarkana. [2] Locations included Scott, Arkansas, Shreveport, Louisiana, Garland City, Arkansas, and Texarkana, Texas. Peggy later stated that, when Youell returned to the hotel, he was covered in blood, which she wiped away with a towel that was later found by investigators under the mattress, exactly where she said she had left it. The only evidence that was preserved was a set of latent fingerprints inside the house, the mark of a size 10 shoe outside the window, and a two cell red flashlight that was dropped where the Phantom would have stood. While most of the details had been shared with residents, local and federal law enforcement made the decision to keep a key detail out of the news. However, the town was no stranger to violence. He pled guilty to the charges, but the judge entered a plea of not guilty because the defendant was not permitted to plead guilty under the Habitual Criminal Act. McQuarrie had painted the poster for Pierce's The Legend of Boggy Creek, then later for his films Bootleggers (1974), Winterhawk (1975), and Winds of Autumn (1976). The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1974) claims that “the incredible story you are about to see is true, where it happened and how it happened; only the names have been changed.” That’s a pretty serious claim, setting this film apart from the usual “based on a true story” horror movies. Click Here! Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 42%, based on 12 reviews, with a rating average of 5.3/10. Upon inspection, she remembered repairing a button on the shirt that she was able to point out and there were metal fragments found on it that were similar to fragments also found in the Starks’ workshop. Addison Timlin (Odd Thomas) will play the lead character. The Starks lived on a 500 acre farm that housed Virgil’s welding shop, which had a reputation for helping his neighbors repair broken farming equipment when needed. However, these efforts would be for nothing, since the Phantom would soon strike again. The court denied his claim in 1979. On Monday, July 15, a man drove a brand new car onto Ed Hammock’s lot. In fact, on February 26, 1946, Peggy revealed to police that, after a spat with her husband, she went back to her mother’s home, which was situated on Richmond Road, not too far from where the February 22 assaults occurred. She said that was the way she wanted it. The car thief was identified as Youell Lee Swinney and was subsequently booked and taken to a cell at the Miller County Jail. "[25] He finishes with, "Don't be surprised if a great many more movies of legendary mass murderers come out in the near future. Thank you so much for joining us on this journey of our cold case analysis. The real killer was never found. A prison sentence was the goal of the lawmen, as there was not enough evidence to convict him of the Phantom Murders, but they could at least ensure he would not be back out on the streets if convicted as a habitual criminal. She was fully clothed, her coat buttoned, and her body resting on her back with her right hand tucked inside her pocket. [28], The beginning of the film states that the first attack occurred on Sunday, March 3. She also knew about a datebook taken from Martin’s pocket, which he threw into the bushes and was later secretly retrieved by Sheriff Bill Presley. Crew members were yelling at Andrew that it was a moccasin, but Prine wanted to finish his scene without reshooting, so the crew killed the snake afterwards. Town That Dreaded Sundown, The Addison Timlin 4.0 out of 5 stars 1,067 DVD $12.62 Only 5 left in stock - order soon. In 2003, the Texas Parks & Recreation department has started showing the original film in Spring Lake Park in Texarkana, TX. Nine Beloved Horror Movies That Are Kind of Overrated, This Sinister True Story is Reminiscent of, Dennis DePue: The Real-Life Killer that Inspired, Exclusive Interview: Actor Alexandra Shipp Talks Tragedy Girls, Seven DTV Horror Movies Way Better Than They Should Have Been, Exclusive Interview: Alex de Campi on Horror Comics. The film states that "the incredible story you are about to see is true, where it happened and how it happened; only the names have been changed." News of this attack causes the town to panic, and people begin boarding up their windows. "[22] Mark Melson, Shreveport Times Amusement editor, opined that it "may prove interesting to some viewers for one reason or another," but was "ultimately unsatisfying. However, from accounts of neighbors and friends of the family, Stanley was a cold father who did not particularly care for his own children. Director/Producer Alfonso Gomez-Rejon Talks AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN and His First Feature THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN By Christina Radish Oct 16, 2013 Share Share Tweet Email Comment A cold case is an unsolved criminal investigation that remains open indefinitely pending the discovery of new evidence. "[23], William Whitaker of the Abilene Reporter-News gave the film a negative review, stating, "where I was expecting a dramatic retelling of the mysterious case concerning the phantom killer and his bizarre murders, I was greeted with an extremely uneven picture, collapsing into the most sickening, blood-weltering scenes one minute and then lapsing into some incredibly bad comedy relief the next. Katie judged that Virgil had been shot from the outside of their living room window from the holes in their glass. Join in as they discuss the real-life horrors that inspired some of the best true-crime cinema ever produced! Curfews were placed for the all the residents and young people traveled in groups armed with self-defense pistols. Trooper Charley Boyd, with no other leads, occasionally drove by the lot to keep an eye out for the vehicle, not expecting to see much of anything. On February 22nd, 1946, Sheriff Bill Presley received a late night call that a young couple had been attacked on an unpaved road, known as Lover’s Lane. The Turner Classic Movies cable channel occasionally airs widescreen versions of the film. While the officers are waiting for the train to pass, the Phantom escapes. He claimed his sister, who was portrayed as "Emma Lou Cook" in the film, was depicted "as a high school dropout and a woman with loose and low morals; when in fact none of such was true." The Sixth Court of Civil Appeals in Texarkana agreed again that the film's producers did not invade his privacy and that he was not entitled to any money. However, the general outline of the murders largely follows reality, with mostly minor artistic license taken. Ben Johnson as Captain J Still in shock, Katie dropped to the floor to avoid any more bullets and then fled to the bedroom to search for the personal firearm that Virgil kept there. Based very loosely on true incidents that took place just after World War II around Texarkana (Miller County), it was one of the first movies in the “slasher” genre. The Town That Dreaded Sundown was Wells' fourth film and her second time working with Pierce. After her husband, and Booker’s stepfather, Clark Brown, dismissed Bessie’s anxiety as over-exaggeration, Bessie insisted that Clark start making phone calls in order to find her daughter. Horror Writers Wanted! Despite this, little was done, in the days following the attack, to find the suspect. Both of the victims were shot in the back of the head twice with a .32 caliber gun executioner style. [30], The film states that locals soon started buying guns and locks, but this did not happen until two months later in May. In real life, the attack happened on Friday, February 22. Martin had been shot four times; in the back of the neck, the shoulder, his right hand, and one final bullet in his face. Katie gathered her courage and miraculously was able to run out of the front door to a neighbor who took her to the hospital. While the town of Texarkana was initially rocked and rattled by the tragic events of 1946, The Town that Dreaded Sundown has now grown into a longstanding tradition. Carter subsequently notified Texarkana police to be on the lookout for a potentially stolen car. At the behest of Sheriff Presley, when other officers–and the Texas Rangers, who had arrived on the scene to help and find clues–arrived they found Paul Martin’s abandoned Coupe a mile away with the keys still in the ignition. The newspapers called him The Phantom Killer, and referred to his crimes as The Texarkana Moonlight Murders. The killing spree in the Summer of 1946 came to be known as “The Texarkana Moonlight Murders,” and the perpetrator was dubbed “The Phantom … "[21], Larry Fisher, a film critic for the Delta Democrat-Times, gave the film a three-star rating out of five. Also, although Larey was not properly examined for rape at the hospital, there were reported signs of vaginal bruising. The sleepy town of Texarkana (nestled alongside the border of Texas and Arkansas) has always held the hometown horrors of the original The Town … However, it was in her third statement to police that Peggy Swinney further elaborated on the Booker-Martin murders. His feet and legs jutted onto the dirt road. It is the last film shown for "Movies in the Park," which plays a film on each Thursday during May and October. Later examination suggested that the murderer had faced her when he shot her at point blank range. On May 3, Helen Reed is seen by the Phantom leaving a grocery store. Or maybe it’s a … Before the "Phantom-attacks", which occurred about eight months after World War II, Texarkana was pleasant and citizens were preparing for a good future. There are relatives of the victims still living here, and this is very unpleasant to them. At the scene of the third Phantom attack, Sheriff Presley identified the body as Paul Martin from the ID in his wallet. For these murders, she claimed she was present. He claimed five casualties and heavily traumatized three others while simultaneously throwing an entire town into hysterics. She soon escaped and received help at a house. At home that night, Helen asks her husband Floyd, who is sitting in front of a window in his armchair, if he hears somebody walking outside. Years later during the Christmas season of 1976, the film The Town That Dreaded Sundown premieres in Texarkana and the shoes of the Phantom are seen on someone standing in line. After catching a film at a popular movie theater, they parked on a secluded road known locally as Lover’s Lane. Martin and she were shot to death, and her saxophone was missing for six months. In the film, "Peggy" and "Roy" are a couple, but Booker and Martin were only friends in real life. Town That Dreaded Sundown, The - Sparkplug Volunteers Morales (Ben Johnson) and Ramsey (Andrew Prine) strategize in a Texarkana barber shop, leading to narration and a gag featuring the director Charles B. The first Texas Ranger to arrive in Texarkana was Jimmy Greer. They did both agree that the suspect had a mask over his face that resembled a pillow case with holes cut out for his eyes and mouth, but one thing was for sure, they had no idea who their attacker was. Convinced that Virgil had dropped something and broken it, Katie left the bedroom to attend to her husband, but found that Virgil was slumped dead in his armchair, blood seeping down his neck. The film starred 1971 Academy Award winner Ben Johnson along with television stars Andrew Prine and Dawn Wells. Carter reported to Max Tackett at the Miller County Sheriff’s Office, who had a hunch that this suspect was the same man who had just married Peggy Stevens less than a month earlier. Join the Wicked Horror Staff. When city officials visited Washington, DC, they were kidded about the film's tagline. However, Youell started acting out and committed his first burglary, stealing candy from a local business, while living with Cleo. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a 1976 American thriller film [4] [5] directed and produced by Charles B. When she answered that he told her to, he calls her a liar, punches her in the face, and proceeded to vaginally penetrate her with his gun. First, we're re-opening the cold case on one of America's more notorious killers in David Fincher's Zodiac (2007), before heading down south to hunt The Texarkana Phantom in Charles B. Pierce. Upon finding the car, Boyd decided to begin a stakeout on the parking lot. must have done their homework on this one The notice made a point that it was a gold-plated Bundy E-flat Alto saxophone, serial #2535” and urged pawnshops and music stores to please pay attention to anyone who may want to sell Booker’s instrument. [31] After the second attack, the characters in the film bring in Captain J.D. Tackett decided to take Lee with him to search for the stolen car and made plans to have Lee appear in various establishments to see if he might be recognized by the suspect–and he was. Morales of the Texas Rangers. Texarkana residents also turned on the Texas Rangers and the FBI, claiming that they were ten thousand dollars worth of cowboy boots and big, white hats and fifteen cents worth of brains.. The fabricated facts in the film have also caused rumors and folklore to spread for generations around Texarkana. He said Ben Johnson gave a superb performance as Captain J.D. A minor relative of Swinney recalled his habits, which included leaving the car parked in a certain Texarkana lot. Roy awakens, but is shot to death while attempting to escape. Hollis claimed that he was a young Caucasian, but Larey was certain that the suspect was African American. Factory released it on a Blu-ray/DVD combo with Pierce's 1979 film The Evictors. World War II also contributed heavily to the sudden skyrocketing population of Texarkana. The world premiere was held in Texarkana on December 17, 1976, before its regular run in theaters on December 24.[6]. Toys, Gifts, Collectibles, Board Games & Horror Lifestyle Items. THE FILM: Click an image to view Blu-ray screenshot with 1080p resolution. From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a 2014 American slasher film, a meta - sequel to the 1976 film of the same name.  He probably would have killed Larey, but luckily, some headlights appeared in the distance, which scared him off. The killer had dipped his hands in Virgil’s blood and made a pretty vile scene. However, Betty Jo had been shot twice, once in her chest that penetrated her heart and once in her face where the bullet passed through her left cheek near her nose. Further to this, she had not been heard from all night. You want me for more than stealing cars! The next morning, Linda is found on the side of the road barely alive. On January 13, 1947, Youell Swinney was indicted for felony theft as his previous convictions were also recognized by the Bowie County Grand Jury, making him a habitual criminal, a charge that could result in a life sentence. A hooded killer terrorized citizens in rural areas surrounding the border between Texas and Kansas. In this new, regular series, Wicked Horror’s resident true crime expert April Bennett takes a look at one of these cases in an attempt to better understand why it remains open. One of the rounds ripped through the skin beside her nose and exited by her ear while the other entered her lower jaw. Reach 250,000+ A Month on Display, Mobile, OTT VOD Apps and Video, Worst to First: Ranking the Fright Night Franchise, Zoo is a Compelling and Dark Love Story [Review]. At the scene, .32 caliber shell casings were found near Martin’s car, the same that had been used in Griffin and Moore’s murders the previous month. Approached by Cleon Partain, a knowledgeable car trader, the man stated that he was interested in selling his vehicle due to unemployment and an inability to make the payments. Addison Timlin plays the lead role and is supported by Gary Cole, Ed Lauter, and Veronica Cartwright. While on the road, Ramsey receives a report about an armed suspect, and a brief chase ensues. Larey promised the attacker that Hollis did not have any cash on him and even opened his wallet for proof, but the suspect kept on telling her that she was lying. Appearing before the Court without an attorney, the defendant advised the judge that he wanted to represent himself. You will receive a link to create a new password via email. "[10], Andrew Prine, who played Norman Ramsey, wrote the last fifth of the film because it had no ending. The last part of the phrase was censored or removed in advertisements, but it remained on several posters. One day in late June, the stolen Plymouth was noticed and confirmed as the same vehicle for which the police were looking. At the barber shop, Ramsey explains to Morales his theory that the Phantom attacks every 21 days. You Know You Want It! Sheriff Presley and the Chief of Police of the Texas side of Texarkana received the call and were the first to respond to the scene. As both Martin and Booker’s families buried their children, six more Texas Rangers arrived on the scene to help catch the elusive murderer who was newly named by the Texarkana Gazette. Texarkana was actually very diverse, with a massive wave of immigrants during the 1920s leading to a mixture of Irish, Italian, German, Jewish, Greek, French, and a sizeable African American population. [12] The advertising department placed the controversial phrase, "In 1946, this man killed five people...today he still lurks the streets of Texarkana, Ark." While filming the cornfield scene, Wells was almost attacked by a bulldog, but the crew scared it away by shooting at it. The shirt was almost identified by Virgil Starks’ wife, however, she could not be sure. On the date in question, Virgil was sat in the front room of their house, the curtains still wide open, reading with a heating pad resting on his lower back. After arriving, Morales explains he will be in charge of the investigation and calls the unidentified attacker a Phantom.  However, when analyzing Martin’s genitalia for signs of seminal fluid he tested negative, so it is assumed that the two of them did not have sex. Which would usually indicate that she would be staying with friends later, Morales and Ramsey receive a about. With Linda the phrase was censored or removed in advertisements, but remained! 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