Hello it is day 19 and The Walking Dead was AWESOME.
But that is not why we’re here.
Also PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:
AMC is running an all-day Friday the 13th marathon tomorrow starting at 9am Eastern time. BE THERE! It might be my mystery franchise next year! They aren’t good movies but they’re all just so wonderful. Also one of the more surprisingly solid horror remakes!
Anyway let’s begin
The Town that Dreaded Sundown (2014)
FULL DISCLOSURE: I haven’t seen the original in its entirety. I know it’s a cult classic but the acting is just so bad. And not in a fun way either like bad in a Discovery Health kind of way. Like a History Channel dramatization. But anyway I loved the new one!
It’s about the town of Texarkana, which is technically two towns that straddle the border of Texas and Arkansas. It was the sight of these horrible murders in the 50s by a masked guy known as the “Phantom” killer and he was never apprehended. The film sort of plays fast and loose with fact but overall it pretty much happened. The original was presented as a sort of docudrama, while this one was straight up horror.
Anyway so this movie is like a meta-sequel rather than a remake. Kind of. I’ll explain. We start off in the real town of Texarkana, TX where it is Halloween night and the town is having their annual showing of 1976s The Town that Dreaded Sundown. When Jami decides the movie is making her uncomfortable, her date Corey obliges and takes her home. She has the idea of hitting a deserted back road to *ahem* YOU KNOW WHAT, and then suddenly someone dressed as the original film’s Phantom killer pops up and kills Corey and tells her to deliver the message to the town to “never forget.” So as the Phantom killer has returned to Texarkana, Jami takes on her own investigation while the town goes nuts and the Phantom killer, well, kills.
I really really enjoyed this movie and it had some horror cliches but it’s just such a cool concept. Kind of like Scream 3 except good. It’s a movie that plays as both a remake of the original and also a sequel to it but it also takes place in a world outside of the original movie because the original movie exists as a movie in the context of the new movie. So it’s sort of like a modernization of the story while also being a REVISITATION of the actual events. And once you find out all the twists and turns that gets even more complicated, but also a little easier to understand.
Now, those of you who didn’t just have a stroke, I recommend the movie. You don’t really need to see the original to enjoy this one, you just need to know a bit about it and the events that inspired it.
Anyway this is a movie that was made in an attempt to reclaim all the great things about 80s slashers, but really mostly just the Friday the 13th series. It’s about a GROUP OF YOUNG ADULTS who go INTO THE WOODS and get STUCK and DIE HORRIBLY.
There is, I guess, more to it than that but it matters neither to me, nor apparently to the filmmakers. But that’s a good thing, because it’s pure homage. In a movie that features Brian Doyle Murray and Joel Murray and cameos by Robert Englund (Freddy Kreuger), Tony Todd (Candyman, an underrated classic), and Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhes, occasionally Leatherface, and he also played Victor Crowley, the monster in this movie!), you can’t expect anything but caring, loving, brutal, horrifying, gore-soaked fan service. I’m excited to watch the sequels.