This movie was bound to have a modernized version made, and probably one of the last good slasher films out there that could handle an update. Years back the Gray brothers of the Guts and Gory fame talked about lensing a remake of this film, and apparently it fell through.
Continuing its library-mining operation, MGM is developing a remake of 1976 horror movie "The Town that Dreaded Sundown." MGM had no comment but the Lion has been asking agents for possible takes from writers to reboot the Charles B. Pierce film. The original movie was based on five unsolved murders attributed to the Phantom Killer during three months in 1946 in and around the city of Texarkana on the border between Texas and Arkansas. Pierce shot large parts of the movie in and around Texarkana with extras recruited from local residents. MGM has been focused on reboots since it emerged from bankruptcy in early 2011 with Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum as co-CEOs. Upcoming projects include "Carrie," "Hercules" and "The Magnificent Seven." Birnbaum opted out of staying in the exec suite to focus on producing via an exclusive deal with MGM. (2012 Press Release)
So here we are in 2014, and we finally have a remake. Though the "fans" have removed that tag and have been calling it a "meta" (after, meaning a sequel) film which is hilarious.
The plot is indeed a Phantom killer copy-cat, terrorizing a modern-day Texarcana. Sounds like a safe way to do this film, and cater it to today's iPhone and YouTube-loving audience. I can't fault them for going this route at all. However, the fact that this killer is a copy-cat doesn't mean that the movie isn't a remake. We have to remember that Roy Burns was a copycat, and A New Beginning is still a Friday the 13th sequel. Additionally, the 2009 Friday the 13th film can also be called a "meta" however it is indeed a remake. And yes, I know people will fight me and call it a reboot, reimagining, and so on. Same dick, just in a different hole.
I am personally looking forward to the film because The Town That Dreaded Sundown is among my favorite horrors of the 70s and 80s. With this new take on the film, it will no doubt follow modern slasher movie trends, jump scares, gore and TnA – which is acceptable. However, what made the original effective is that it successfully teetered between drama, horror, mystery, slasher and thriller/suspense with a hint of Duke of Hazzard hijinx with some creepy stalking scenes. I will say this: I am not sure if I want to see a trombone kill in 2014.
The original was also successful in that it never gave up the killer, never hinted to he or she may have been. The movie also never offered up any hard suspects throughout the entire film. This new film needs to follow those same lines, but we all know they will:
- a) not only give up the killer, but tell his backstory
- b) unmask the killer (bad idea)
- c) expose him and kill him at the end, however he may not be fully dead (need those sequel bucks)
All of this being said, let's just hope they did not take the name and completely fuck it up beyond any repair. Let's also hope this isn't just a Friday the 13th, Halloween, TCM ripoff.
Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) Trailer