The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Synopsis: 65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the so-called 'moonlight murders' begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl, with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching him.
Director(s): Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Production: MGM
  2 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
86 min

In the spring of 1946,

in the small town of Texarkana,

on the Texas-Arkansas border,

a series of horrific murders

were committed

by a masked assailant known

only as "The Phantom Killer."

For three harrowing months, the Phantom

stalked the back roads of Texarkana,

following young couples

looking for privacy to isolated areas,

where their screams for help

would go unanswered.

Though several arrests were made

in connection with the brutal slayings,

which ended as suddenly as they began,

the killer's identity

was never confirmed.

Indeed, many people who lived

through that nightmare time

believed the Phantom

spent the rest of his days free,

walking the streets of Texarkana

quietly, anonymously,

until his assumed death.

In 1976, a film inspired by the infamous

Moonlight Murders was released.

Every year, on Halloween,

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

is screened somewhere in Texarkana,

in tribute to the Phantom's legacy

of death and blood.

Today, Texarkana

is a place haunted by its past,

defined by a mystery

that was never solved,

and a tragedy

that could never be forgotten.

The following happened

in Texarkana last year.

Sammy! Sammy!

You're not enjoying this, are you?

Oh, I just don't like

these kinds of films so much.

Why didn't you say so?

We can go.

Really? Do you mean it?

Stop it!

I mean, man, the last time I saw

this movie was when I was, like, 12.

God bless you and the Texarkana

Fellowship Church invites you

to stop the Devil with gospel.

Hello, sister.

You take a look at this now.

This is a godless film

that you're watching here.

And I want you to listen

to my broadcast on Friday

and come to church on Sunday.

I'll tell you all about it.

Welcome back.

This is KYGL, Oldies on the Border.

It's Halloween night,

so if you're sitting at home,

waiting for the trick-or-treaters to come by,

we'll keep you company with our usual...

Real people died, you know, young man.

Real people died.

That's right. That's right.

It's a godless film and I want to see you

on Sunday. We welcome you.

That's good. You leave.

This is a godless film.

It's good that you're leavin'.


I'm just having a good time

with you, Jami.

The only reason I play football

is to get a scholarship and go to SMU.


And how about you? Where'd you apply?

You did apply, right?

You're, like, super smart.

Yeah. Yeah, I did.

I applied to UT Austin,

NYU, and Cal State.

Wow. That's impressive.

Oh, I probably won't get in,

but, you know, aim high.

You should.

My dad used to write

for the Gazette, actually.

My grandma says it's in my blood, so...

Even though no one reads it,

I like writing for the paper.

I could do that from here

and stay close to my grandma.

- If I don't get in.

- Right.

Well, I'm glad you finally said yes.

Me, too.

- Wait.

- What?

Did I... did I do something wrong?


What the hell is he doing?

He's just a Peeping Tom.

He's not gonna do anything.

Corey, we don't know that.

But look.


He just wanted a show.

He's just some a**hole

from the drive-in.

Let's just go, though. Is that okay?


- Get out of the car.

- Don't, Jami. Stay in the car.

Get out of the f***ing car

or I'll shoot her in the face.

Do your momma and daddy know

where you were tonight, boy?

The movie. Yes.

Well, what about yours?

They're dead.

Take your pants off.

- What?

- Take off your f***ing pants.

Corey, just do it.

Okay, all right.

- Come on, man.

- Get down on the f***in' ground.

- Corey.

- Okay. All right, I am.

I'm not gonna run anywhere.

Now... Now, please, can...

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Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (born 1973) is an American playwright, screenwriter, and comic book writer best known for his work for Marvel Comics and for the television series Glee, Big Love, and Riverdale. He is Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 19 Jan. 2022. <>.

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