The Town That Dreaded Sundown

The Town that Dreaded Sundown

Ashe never got to see a ton of modern classics from his youth, so we’re making him watch them all as a nostalgia-less adult. Check out the inaugural article for more info. My Halloween journey continues. I was going to do a different film this week, but after I had so much trouble finding a copy of Monster Squad and looked to be in a similar situation with this one, I swapped with something that’s on Netflix right now for your viewing pleasure. Put pleasure in the biggest irony quote marks ever though, because this movie, well… If you’re unfamiliar with the plot, it’s pretty simple. This film purports to tell the true story of The Phantom Killer — a real serial murderer who operated in Texarkana, an aptly-named city on the border between Texas and Arkansas, in the 1940s. I say “purports” because I actually did some research on the subject for an article I wrote a few years ago. To say they took liberties with the story is like saying that Inglourious Basterds took liberties with the events of World War II. It’s not even close, and not in the fun way (like with Basterds).


discs murderer lives

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Murderer Lives at 21 (UK release) A murderer is stalking the streets of Paris, and his only calling card is a literal calling card bearing the name “Monsieur Durand.” The police are getting nowhere fast, but when a petty criminal offers evidence that the killer resides in a local boarding house a top detective goes in undercover to ferret the murderer out for arrest. Hilarity ensues. I’m not kidding about it being hilarious either. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot would go on to make Wages of Fear, Diabolique and others, but his debut film shows an assured hand with both the visual style and a fantastic tonal balance between the mystery and the laughs. The dialogue moves at a ’40s screwball comedy pace, and it’s loaded with wit, smarts and innuendo. Even more impressive is the film’s final shot… especially knowing it was shot during the Nazi occupation of France. [UK DVD extras: Interview]

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published: 01.25.2015
published: 01.24.2015
published: 01.24.2015
published: 01.24.2015

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