Elsewhere, Veronicagrows concerned for Archie when she realizes the lengths he would go to seek revenge against the person terrorizing Rive…  This indicated the entry of the FBI into the Texarkana murders case, another large law enforcement agency to aid the small town. Even though, the following day, the Texarkana Gazette ran the unexciting headline Murdered Shot to Death (1946) there was little information given to the public besides everything that had already spread around the town. Decades after its release, the B-movie will stalk theaters once again, this time with bigger names behind it. While most of the details had been shared with residents, local and federal law enforcement made the decision to keep a key detail out of the news. Ironically, the real-life location of the showing is not far from one of the actual attack sights of the Phantom. Unfortunately, since Sheriff Presley and the Texarkana police department were not properly trained in collecting evidence, the crime scene was not adequately preserved and what evidence could have been collected was destroyed due to mishandling. However, these efforts would be for nothing, since the Phantom would soon strike again. On April 20th, after the FBI examined Booker’s body, they found that she tested positive for semen and her vagina had marked bruising which reportedly could have been from either penile penetration or penetration from a pistol grip. On May 3, 1946, Peggy’s sister and Youell Swinney had an argument over money that the couple owed to her. Free shipping for many products! This is one of those “there was a real killer, then they made a movie about it and filmed it right here and now he’s back” kind of movies. He would show none of these signs in his next three attacks. When first responders arrived to process the scene, the ambulance and law enforcement vehicles attracted a lot of attention from nearby citizens. The sheriff believed that the attack on Larey and Hollis was just a part of the normal criminal activity in Texarkana, or even an isolated event, so the police department did not believe that an active, involved search of the suspect was necessary. The writer also created completely fictional scenarios, including a chase between law enforcement and the killer, which have colored the public’s perception of the truth for many years. Upon arrest of Swinney, the murders abruptly stopped. News of the bizarre and horrific killings transfixed an entire nation on the small town of Texarkana, Texas in early 1946, and the case remains one of the most notorious unsolved crimes in U.S. history. March 24, 1946 another couple was confronted in a different area also known as a “lover’s lane.” This time, both victims were not so lucky. The Texarkana Phantom’s attacks (which later inspired the classic horror movie The Town That Dreaded Sundown) took place between February 1946 and July 1946. However, the main focal point of the article, and its accompanying photos, was that the citizens were so scared by the attack on the Starks, they were booby trapping their houses in order to protect themselves. Toys, Gifts, Collectibles, Board Games & Horror Lifestyle Items. The Town That Dreaded Sundown tells the story of a masked murderer who terrorized Texarkana in 1946 – and it was so captivating that a sequel was made just a few years ago. Town That Dreaded Sundown, The - That Phantom Killer Peggy (Cindy Butler) and Roy (Steve Lyons) choosing to take a chance after the prom, Captain Morales (Ben Johnson) and deputy Ramsey (Andrew Prine) reviewing their strategy, and a bad outcome, in The Town That Dreaded Sundown, 1977. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a movie loosely based on a movie called The Town That Dreaded Sundown which itself was loosely based on real events. In her first statement to police, Mrs. Swinney was unable to account for her husband’s whereabouts during the times the crimes were being committed (on February 22, March 23, April 13, and May 3, 1946). The story became the basis for Charles B. Pierce’s 1976 film The Town That Dreaded Sundown, a narration-heavy crime thriller that follows the Texas Rangers tasked with apprehending the serial killer, who, in real life, was never found. Please enter your username or email address. They also had access to a crime lab in Austin, that could handle evidence collected at the crime scene. Advertise With Wicked Horror. However, the town was no stranger to violence. The killing spree in the Summer of 1946 came to be known as “The Texarkana Moonlight Murders,” and the perpetrator was dubbed “The Phantom Killer” by the press. When the trouble first started, he was moved repeatedly again, but this time between his brother, his mother, and his grandparents, despite his father still legally retaining full custody. There have been numerous unique cases throughout history, some of which remain unsolved to this day, such as the Jack the Ripper killings, the Zodiac murders, and the Black Dahlia slaying. In the two months that followed, 1,300 suspects were dragged to the police station and interviewed before being released. The time has come to take on The Town That Dreaded Sundown. While there were some similarities that can be tied to the events of Texarkana, there are several inconsistencies between real-life events and the film. Even those in Little Rock, about two and half hours away, were locking themselves in their houses, afraid that the Phantom would start to move where he killed. I will spend the rest of my life behind bars this time!” the suspect replied, hysterical. Nor had she left the instrument behind, which would usually indicate that she would be staying with friends. Next: It True Story: Real-Life Crimes That Inspired Pennywise, All the latest gaming news, game reviews and trailers. One of the rounds ripped through the skin beside her nose and exited by her ear while the other entered her lower jaw. The music store and the suspect were in Corpus Christi, 450 miles away from Texarkana, but the sales clerk was familiar with the public notice and was suspicious of the suspect’s odd behavior. I don’t know what I was expecting, but from what I knew it didn’t seem to fit the mould of something from ‘the creators of Insidious and Paranormal Activity‘. Pierce, and written by Earl E. Smith. On October 31, 2013, in the small town of Texarkana, the local drive-in theater is hosting the Halloween annual showing of the 1976 film The Town That Dreaded Sundown, based on the true story of the Phantom Killer who murdered several people in Texarkana in 1946. Upon finding the car, Boyd decided to begin a stakeout on the parking lot. Katie was shot twice in the face while attempting to call the police. Married couple Virgil and Katie Starks, both in their 30s, were shot in their home located on a 500 acre farm 10 miles northeast of Texarkana. While The Town That Dreaded Sundown may have played with the facts of the actual case, it did keep the memory of the tragic events alive for decades. A “meta-sequel” produced by Jason Blum in 2014 only helped to further blur the truth. At the scene of the third Phantom attack, Sheriff Presley identified the body as Paul Martin from the ID in his wallet. However, Youell started acting out and committed his first burglary, stealing candy from a local business, while living with Cleo. Click Here! Also, the Starks did not exactly fit into the Phantom’s usual victims; they were married, older, and well established in the community. The newspapers called him The Phantom Killer, and referred to his crimes as The Texarkana Moonlight Murders. On January 13, 1947, Youell Swinney was indicted for felony theft as his previous convictions were also recognized by the Bowie County Grand Jury, making him a habitual criminal, a charge that could result in a life sentence. Centered in Texarkana, Texas in 1946 a series of assaults and murders by a man wearing a sack over his face turns the friendly town into a community that quickly becomes scared of it's own shadow. This attitude was not helped when the Lone Wolf himself was caught reenacting one of the crime scenes in a local man’s barn in the middle of the night without the property owner’s permission. Peggy was arrested and taken to Miller County Jail to await the arrival of her husband, the apparent non-paying tenant, car thief, and quite possibly the prime suspect for the Texarkana murders. Carter subsequently notified Texarkana police to be on the lookout for a potentially stolen car. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a 1976 horror film by producer/director Charles B. The annual showing of The Town that Dreaded Sundown attracts a crowd of several hundred people who anxiously wait for the show as a Halloween tradition (something that features in the 2014 remake of the same name). Also, one of the spectators of the crime scene that lingered dangerously close to the parked car found the keys about 100 yards away and picked them up with his bare hands to turn them into the police. The Town That Dreaded Sundown (TTTDS) is a good example of why true stories should rarely be copied verbatim when making films.. Once I’d become accustomed to the older style of acting that pervades this film, in which the actors seem to have been told to ‘make it look like you’re acting, acting with all the sweat that you can muster!’ These events are depicted in The Town that Dreaded Sundown. Her daughter from her first marriage, her beloved Betty Jo Booker, had not returned from her Saturday night gig playing saxophone at the VFW. However, The Town That Dreaded Sundown did upset many of the residents and even resulted in an (unsuccessful) lawsuit from one a brother of one of the victims. She was fully clothed, her coat buttoned, and her body resting on her back with her right hand tucked inside her pocket. The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1974) claims that “the incredible story you are about to see is true, where it happened and how it happened; only the names have been changed.” That’s a pretty serious claim, setting this film apart from the usual “based on a true story” horror movies. Convinced that Virgil had dropped something and broken it, Katie left the bedroom to attend to her husband, but found that Virgil was slumped dead in his armchair, blood seeping down his neck. Five people were murdered by an unidentified assailant that the press dubbed The Phantom Killer. Moore was found face down in the backseat, her purse opened as if the perpetrator sifted through it for cash and valuables. He was then arrested in front of a hotel and was found with a .45 caliber revolver as well as bloody clothing. He caught up with her, sexually assaulted her, but let her go after the attack. The officers immediately secured the house in order to prevent previous mistakes that had been made by this investigation. When the table teetered it would also spill loose nails onto tin trays and pots would smash against vases on the floor, which would wake up Mr. and Mrs. Rochelle, who kept a rifle next to their bed.” (Life, 1946). Morales is called in to assist Texarkana Deputy Norman Ramsey in one of Andrew Prine's finest performances ever. He pledged to the people of the town that he would stay until he jailed or killed the Phantom and supposedly earned the nickname of Lone Wolf since he had a nasty habit of taking on perpetrators in physical confrontations and exit the fight victorious. However, before he escaped in the night he punched Larey in the face one last time. At the horrifying scene the police unable to control the crowd gathered at the scene from interfering. The officers tried to interview the victims who were identified as Jimmy Hollis and Mary Jeanne Larey at the scene, but Hollis was so badly injured he could barely retain consciousness. Although the Rangers did not have specific educational requirements, they were trained in the latest techniques of navigating a crime scene, which included analyzing ballistics and fingerprints, communicating, and record keeping. See related Ridley Scott interview: The Martian, Prometheus sequels Ridley Scott interview: Blade Runner 2049, Alien and more 2.4 The Town That Dreaded Sundown At the end of tonight's exhilarating episode, Jughead grimly states that "Riverdale would no longer be the town with pep, from now on it would be the town that dreaded sundown."  He probably would have killed Larey, but luckily, some headlights appeared in the distance, which scared him off. For one, the M.O. Although the population doubled and the economy was thriving, crime was also on the rise. Appearing before the Court without an attorney, the defendant advised the judge that he wanted to represent himself. Presley arrived to a gruesome scene of a collapsed body which was reportedly lying on its left side, his head and the trunk of his body on the leaves and grass. The rise in public transportation resulted in population growth and a subsequent increase in crime. He pled guilty to the charges, but the judge entered a plea of not guilty because the defendant was not permitted to plead guilty under the Habitual Criminal Act. A grungy and ragged affair, The Town That Dreaded Sundown nonetheless helped establish the … First, we're re-opening the cold case on one of America's more notorious killers in David Fincher's Zodiac (2007), before heading down south to hunt The Texarkana Phantom in Charles B. 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However, when he did send the bullets extracted from Griffin to the Texas Ranger lab, it was concluded that both victims were shot with a .32 automatic pistol that was most likely to be a Colt model. They left five dead, three injured, and an entire town traumatized. Some were grieving Texarkana residents, but many others were out of towners who retained morbid curiosity about the double homicide. The story is a sharp clean police thriller that sucks you in and keeps you until the final nail biting (doubly so because real stuntman real train danger). Martin must have dropped it after abandoning the vehicle. She also knew about a datebook taken from Martin’s pocket, which he threw into the bushes and was later secretly retrieved by Sheriff Bill Presley. She stated that she was not sure where her new husband was located at that particular time. A slender man dressed in a white shirt spotted Lee and abruptly fled the scene. In this article, we will be taking a look at the true stories that inspired some So begins The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Charles B. Do you think that the murders were committed by Youell Swinney? Regardless of the judge’ s recommendation, the jury still found Youell Swinney guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison on February 11, 1947. His suspicions were confirmed when a complaint was called in from a Murfreesboro, Arkansas farmer Jim Mays, who was also a landlord. The movie: In theory, The Town that Dreaded Sundown should be one of the most bone-chilling films of all-time. His wife immediately ran to the telephone, but before she could use it the assailant fired two more shots, both entering her face. This would unfortunately be one of the many blunders that would occur in the course of this investigation. Less than a month later on April 13 the killer took the lives of Paul Martin (17) and his friend Betty Jo Booker (15) – both shot with the same gun used as the previous double-murder, a .32 automatic Colt pistol. As both Martin and Booker’s families buried their children, six more Texas Rangers arrived on the scene to help catch the elusive murderer who was newly named by the Texarkana Gazette. Thirty days after Larey and Hollis’ attack, on the morning of March 24th, a father and son discovered two bodies shot in a car that was parked on a quiet street. That same night, Peggy and Youell rented a hotel room where Youell left Peggy for at least 5 hours, returning after midnight. Soon, Sheriff Presley and the rest of law enforcement were made aware that Paul Martin was the last person seen with Betty Jo Booker, who was reported missing. They did both agree that the suspect had a mask over his face that resembled a pillow case with holes cut out for his eyes and mouth, but one thing was for sure, they had no idea who their attacker was. While the town of Texarkana was initially rocked and rattled by the tragic events of 1946, The Town that Dreaded Sundown has now grown into a longstanding tradition. Even though Youell was the youngest, his low birth order garnered no sympathy from his parents and he was often forgotten and set aside in favor of his siblings. The bodies were identified as young couple Richard Griffin and Polly Ann Moore after law enforcement officers found the female’s class ring that had both the high school name and her initials on it. Texarkana residents were also at odds with their neighbors, calling the police about suspicious persons who turned out to be the mailman or, in one case, a drunkard that was shot in the toe. Click the button below to start this article in quick view. The new version of The Town That Dreaded Sundown comes from the team of producer Ryan Murphy, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and screenwriter Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, whose shared TV credits include Glee and American Horror Storyand they apply a similar visual style to The Town That Dreaded Sundown. On February 22nd, 1946, Sheriff Bill Presley received a late night call that a young couple had been attacked on an unpaved road, known as Lover’s Lane. You Know You Want It! It was at this time that Peggy’s friend called to inform her that her husband was in town looking for her, armed with a .32 caliber pistol. A hooded killer terrorized citizens in rural areas surrounding the border between Texas and Kansas. Ben Johnson stars as Captain J.D. So begins The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Charles B. Pierce’s 1976 film that attempts to tell the story of the Texarkana Moonlight Murders, as they have since become known. Soon after, police appeared and a relatively large crowd subsequently formed to see what had happened. It also has the unfortunate distinction of being the real “Town That Dreaded Sundown,” although the town displays no outward signs of it, other than showing the film each October. Corey Holland and Jami Lerner leave the film to talk and kiss in a secluded area. Simply put, it is a must-see. Sheriff Presley sent them to Texarkana Hospital while he and the other officers investigated the scene. The go-to source for comic book and superhero movie fans. Love Real Life Ghost Hunting Shows? The film purported to be a true depiction of the crimes, with only the names of the victims changed. Horror Writers Wanted! Sparkplug, primarily for comic relief. Curfews were placed for the all the residents and young people traveled in groups armed with self-defense pistols. The real killer was never found. So, instead of charging him with murder and having a jury possibly dismiss the case, authorities on both the Texas and Arkansas sides decided to get Swinney off the streets. Pierce, who also played patrolman A.C. Benson a.k.a. Leads on the location of the stolen automobile were followed to no avail. Texarkana was actually very diverse, with a massive wave of immigrants during the 1920s leading to a mixture of Irish, Italian, German, Jewish, Greek, French, and a sizeable African American population. The driver of the car, Jimmy Hollis (25) and his girlfriend Mary Jeanne Larey (19) were ordered out of the car after being told by the intruder that he "did not want to kill them". Upon running the plates, Tackett learned they belonged to a car that had been stolen on the night of March 24, the same night Richard Griffin and Polly Ann Moore were murdered. to stealing cars. However, in spite of this, there was some evidence found at the scene of the crime that came in handy. 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