The story of a hooded, berserk killer who terrorized the border town of Texarkana, Arkansas in 1946--leaving no fewer than five murder victims in his wake. He was never caught. Based on one of America's most baffling murder cases.


Charles B. Pierce


Earl E. Smith





Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Johnson ... Captain J.D. Morales
Andrew Prine ... Deputy Norman Ramsey
Dawn Wells ... Helen Reed
Jimmy Clem ... Sgt. Mal Griffin
Jim Citty Jim Citty ... Police Chief R.J. Sullivan
Charles B. Pierce ... Patrolman A.C. Benson
Robert Aquino Robert Aquino ... Sheriff Otis Barker
Cindy Butler ... Peggy Loomis
Christine Ellsworth Christine Ellsworth ... Linda Mae Jenkins
Earl E. Smith ... Dr. Kress
Steve Lyons Steve Lyons ... Roy Allen
Joe Catalanotto Joe Catalanotto ... Eddie LeDoux (as Joe Catalanatto)
Roy Lee Brown Roy Lee Brown ... Rainbow Johnson
Mike Hackworth Mike Hackworth ... Sammy Fuller
Misty West Misty West ... Emma Lou Cook


The residents of 1946 Texarkana, Texas should be celebrating the return of their boys from WWII, but a mysterious hooded killer is stalking victims by night, murdering them in horrendous ways, and completely befuddling the local police force. Written by Losman <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A True Story See more »


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Did You Know?


The 2013 Shout Factory Blu-ray/DVD release contains an onscreen essay in the bonus features called "The Phantom of Texarkana". The author refers to this film as a "creepy Techniscope horror film". While it's true that Charles B. Pierce shot two of his previous films on 2-perf 35mm Techniscope, The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) and Winterhawk (1975), he actually shot this film on 4-perf 35mm Panavision anamorphic. It was the third film that he had shot using the anamorphic format, the previous ones being The Winds of Autumn (1976) on Panavision and Bootleggers (1974) on Todd-AO 35. See more »


Obvious fire hose rain coming from the left when Emma Lou Cook boyfriend's car is leaving the restaurant. See more »


Narrator: And when the sun went down... there was an eery, ghostly appearance to this town.
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Auld Lang Syne
Played and sung at the high school prom
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User Reviews

An accidental slasher?
27 July 2011 | by DevourmentSee all my reviews

Two years before this film, the granddaddy of your typical slasher film, Black Christmas, was released. But it wasn't until Carpenter's "Halloween" that triggered the whole thing in the 1980's.

This film although not considered a slasher, does contain the elements of one. A masked murderer killing teens in sometimes bizarre ways, like attaching a knife to the end of a trombone and playing it while trying to stab somebody with it.

Based on real life events, the movie is set in 1946 in the city of Texarkana, Texas, and plays as a Docu-thriller the doings of "The Phantom Killer", a figure wearing a white mask over his head with holes cut out for his eyes(remind you of anyone?) who left the city of Texarkana in constant fear, or better yet, left the whole city dreading sundown.

The acting is pretty average, if not below average, sometime it may seem like Ben Johnson and Andrew Prine are carrying the burden of acting all by themselves.

The film does not feel like it's set in the 1940s, it seems like the director only decided to throw a couple of old Buicks here and there and call it 1946. Probably a budget thing.

It also unfortunately attempts at comedy in which it fails terribly.

These things however, do not interfere with the fun ride the film is.

Charles B. Pierce's "The Town that Dreaded Sundown", IS a classic and should be seen by everyone interested in the slasher genre.


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Release Date:

24 December 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dreaded Sundown See more »

Filming Locations:

Texarkana, Texas, USA See more »


Box Office


$400,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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