the town that dreaded sundown real story
The Town That Dreaded Sundown is not only among the best slasher movies ever made, but is also one of the very best true crime films. However, before she could arm herself, she realized her attacker was breaking down the back door to come after her inside the house. Both of the victims were shot in the back of the head twice with a .32 caliber gun executioner style. As an adult, Youell Swinney was described as a Caucasian man, 5′ 11″, weighing 166 pounds with a tattoo of a heart and skull that spelled the word revenge on his arm. The only evidence that was preserved was a set of latent fingerprints inside the house, the mark of a size 10 shoe outside the window, and a two cell red flashlight that was dropped where the Phantom would have stood. Join the Wicked Horror Staff. The following day, the Texarkana Gazette ran the headline, Couple Shot Dead in Auto. The car thief was identified as Youell Lee Swinney and was subsequently booked and taken to a cell at the Miller County Jail. Texarkana, a town located in both Texas and Arkansas, is known largely for its unusual tourist attraction: The only post office and courthouse located in two states. and Texarkana, Tx. After Youell was moved from his father’s to his mother’s repeatedly his older brother Cleo and his wife finally took Youell in, to offer stability to the troubled young man. Upon capture, the suspect made several strange comments such as, “Please don’t shoot me!” to which Tackett replied, “I’m not going to shoot you for stealing cars.” “Mister, don’t play games with me. Both bullets tearing through her teeth, the bullet to the front of her lower law had actually lodged itself under her tongue. CLICK HERE FOR MORE! In fact, on February 26, 1946, Peggy revealed to police that, after a spat with her husband, she went back to her mother’s home, which was situated on Richmond Road, not too far from where the February 22 assaults occurred. Tackett decided to take Lee with him to search for the stolen car and made plans to have Lee appear in various establishments to see if he might be recognized by the suspect–and he was. Green for all their help! Thirty years after the attacks of the Texarkana Phantom, a horror movie entitled The Town That Dreaded Sundown was released in theatres, on December 24,Â 1976. â€¯According to the film, it portrayed a true story depicting accurate events with only the names changed. Copyright © 2019 WickedHorror.com - All Rights Reserved. It was apparent through her statements regarding her husband that he was the Phantom Killer and she knew of certain information that would have been exclusive knowledge only to the killer and any accomplices he might have. She was fully clothed, her coat buttoned, and her body resting on her back with her right hand tucked inside her pocket. Dubbed the “Texarkana Moonlight Murders” by the press, eight people were attacked and five were murdered within the span of three months. The final attack by the hooded killer took place on the night of April 13. Furthermore, Virgil was shot with rounds from a .22 rifle, not a .32 caliber handgun as the other victims had been. After catching a film at a popular movie theater, they parked on a secluded road known locally as Lover’s Lane. 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. At the scene of the third Phantom attack, Sheriff Presley identified the body as Paul Martin from the ID in his wallet. When she was later taken to the crime scene, Peggy Swinney was able to identify the exact location where Paul Martin’s car was parked on the night of April 13, 1946. The Town That Dreaded Sundown was a 1976 docudrama that was based on actual crimes committed in Texarkana in 1946. 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 Here! The potential seller replied that he did not have the title at that time but he could get it. While searching his clothes, Swinney’s sister found a shirt, obviously too large for Swinney with the laundry mark STARK on the inside of the collar. When she answered that he told her to, he calls her a liar, punches her in the face, and proceeded to vaginally penetrate her with his gun. 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!’ His long history of theft earned Youell several stints in both jails and prisons, but by 1940, Youell had changed his M.O. This proved that she knew details that could only be recalled by someone who was present during the murders. Although the tragic events of the Phantom Killer are still in the minds of many in the town, the film The Town that Dreaded Sundown has been able to serve as a festive event. However, when Lone Wolf Gonzaullas sent a Ranger to Corpus Christi, the man was cleared from the suspicion of the murders. 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. 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. The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976) Welcome to HouseOfHorrors.com, the most extensive Horror Movie Collection on earth and the favorite destination for millions of our horror genre fans for more than 20 years. Presley, a 50 year old widower, had known tragedy personally himself, as ten years before this case, both his wife and oldest daughter had died in a car accident. Pierce. However, 26 years later, after filing and withdrawing appeals and being extremely persistent, Youell Swinney was released from prison as a result of a habeas corpus proceeding. Related: The Town That Dreaded Sundown: Every Difference Between The Original And Remake. Pierce ‘s film starkly dramatizes the very real 1946 Texarkana Moonlight Murders. One of the rounds ripped through the skin beside her nose and exited by her ear while the other entered her lower jaw. Does Your Horror Feature or Short Need Worldwide Distribution? At the behest of Sheriff Presley, when other officers–and the Texas Rangers, who had arrived on the scene to help and find clues–arrived they found Paul Martin’s abandoned Coupe a mile away with the keys still in the ignition. Also, although Larey was not properly examined for rape at the hospital, there were reported signs of vaginal bruising. Even today the film is shown once a year around Halloween in an outdoor theater in Texarkana. The media also exacerbated this when the local newspaper ran a story in which Mary Larey, of the first attack, claimed that her attack was perpetrated by the Phantom. 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. 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. Youell Swinney was born the youngest of five children to a homemaker mother, Myrtle Swinney, and a strict Baptist preacher father, Stanley Swinney, who had an alcohol problem. While the Phantom was busy terrorizing Texarkana, a string of auto thefts and subsequent abandonment of the stolen vehicles was simultaneously taking place. He claimed five casualties and heavily traumatized three others while simultaneously throwing an entire town into hysterics. The ad pleaded for anyone who owned, or knew of anyone who owned, one of these lights to please report to the Sheriff. Â This indicated the entry of the FBI into the Texarkana murders case, another large law enforcement agency to aid the small town. Future analysis by the FBI and the Rangers suggested that Moore could have possibly been raped that night, but there were conflicting reports and this information was never released to the public. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a 1976 horror film by producer/director Charles B. The concept behind the film, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, is actually a lot more interesting then the film itself. However, Youell started acting out and committed his first burglary, stealing candy from a local business, while living with Cleo. Sheriff Presley sent them to Texarkana Hospital while he and the other officers investigated the scene. 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. Nor had she left the instrument behind, which would usually indicate that she would be staying with friends. Peggy later stated that, when Youell returned to the hotel, he was covered in blood, which she wiped away with a towel that was later found by investigators under the mattress, exactly where she said she had left it. Virgil had been shot twice in the back of the head and once in the lower back, which short-circuited the heading pad he was using. Ironically, the real-life location of the showing is not far from one of the actual attack sights of the Phantom. to stealing cars. Moore, a 29 year old veteran, and Griffin, a 17 year old high school graduate, had been dating about a month and a half by that point and were on a date that fateful night. He was then arrested in front of a hotel and was found with a .45 caliber revolver as well as bloody clothing. Sheriff Presley and the Chief of Police of the Texas side of Texarkana received the call and were the first to respond to the scene. Love Real Life Ghost Hunting Shows? 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. 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. His wife Katie was a stunning brunette woman who was devoted to her husband (Assassin’s Bullets Kill Virgil Stark, 1946). Once they were ordered out of the car, Hollis was ordered to take off his pants, but after he did, the Phantom proceeded to bash Hollis in the head with the butt of his gun causing two deep fractures in Hollis’ skull. On May 3, 1946, Peggy’s sister and Youell Swinney had an argument over money that the couple owed to her. The Phantom Killer never struck again, and though there was a robust manhunt and investigation no one was ever convicted of the crimes. Soon, no one was venturing out after dark, as many residents were terrified and shut themselves into their houses at night. He would show none of these signs in his next three attacks. So, in the wake of the Phantom’s first attack, like the Sheriff, many passed this off as one of the many one time occurrences. Next: It True Story: Real-Life Crimes That Inspired Pennywise, All the latest gaming news, game reviews and trailers. 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. Carter subsequently notified Texarkana police to be on the lookout for a potentially stolen car. A recounting of the 1946 Moonlight Murders in Texarkana, Texas, Charles B. Pierce’s pseudo-documentary presents a sleepy town haunted by a sadistic killer prowling its streets. 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. You will receive a link to create a new password via email. Those around him gave him credit for killing 75 outlaws on his own, but he apparently insisted they were always justified shootings. The majority of the information contained in this piece comes from the books: The Phantom Killer: Unlocking the Mystery of the Texarkana Serial Murders: The Story of a Town in Terror by James Presley (the nephew of Bill Presley, the local Sheriff presiding over the case) and The Texarkana Moonlight Murders: The Unsolved Case of the 1946 Phantom Killer by Michael Newton. 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. Bessie and Chris Brown’s fears were realized when Betty Jo’s body was found 1.75 miles away from Martin’s corpse. Based on the evidence that was preserved and the accounts of witnesses who had spotted Polly Ann Moore and Richard Griffin the previous night, a basic account of events was placed together. On Monday, July 15, a man drove a brand new car onto Ed Hammock’s lot. There was one limitation to her statements, though she was married to the suspect and therefore protected by privilege not to testify against him. I went to see The Town That Dreaded Sundown with no further information than it being a remake of some horror film from the seventies that I haven’t seen. Pierce's. DREAD THE UNSOLVED Case File #4 Investigates the Gruesome True Story Behind THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN. 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. This was the same night the Starks murder occurred. Still in shock, Katie dropped to the floor to avoid any more bullets and then fled to the bedroom to search for the personal firearm that Virgil kept there. Suspicious of the man, Partain memorized the license plate number, which was unusual to that area, and sent a coworker, Hibbett Lee, to report to Homer Carter, an Arkansas Marshal of the town of Atlanta, Arkansas. Bessie Brown’s motherly intuition had woken her up, on the morning of April 14th, 1946, with a start. 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. Writer/Director Liam O'Donnell Interview: Skylines, The Town That Dreaded Sundown: True Crime & Real Killer Explained, which was loosely inspired by a variety of events, which focused on one man’s obsession with a real serial killer, The Town That Dreaded Sundown: Every Difference Between The Original And Remake, It True Story: Real-Life Crimes That Inspired Pennywise, Marvel Had Plans For Black Panther 3 With Chadwick Boseman, Mortal Kombat Reboot Movie Gets Poster & New April Release Date, Tenet Review: Christopher Nolan's Bold & Exciting Spy Thriller, John David Washington's Tenet Protagonist Becomes Green Lantern In New Fan Art, Spider-Man 3 Art Imagines Doc Ock Battling Holland, Maguire, & Garfield’s Spideys, Terminator 3’s John Connor Actor Would Love to Return for a Sequel, Wonder Woman 1984’s Pedro Pascal Clarifies How Nic Cage Influenced Him, Star Wars Concept Art Reveals D-Wing Starfighter Design, Is Scarface On Netflix, Hulu Or Prime? Mary Jeanne Larey, a 19 year old, attractive, petite, dark-eyed brunette, and her boyfriend James Hollis, a 24 year old male insurance agent, wanted to end their date night with some private time. Pierce's The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976). 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. Pierce, who also played patrolman A.C. Benson a.k.a. The late Charles B. Pierce’s The Town That Dreaded Sundown was a low budget account of the Texarkana Moonlight Murders that occurred in 1946. We Want To Finance Your Film. Yet another photograph illustrated a family relaxing in their front room, with the windows and doors sealed tight and their rifle just within arm’s reach. Morales, a fictionalized version of Texas Ranger Captain M. T. "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas. The panic occurring throughout Texarkana inspired reporters to flock to the small country town, attempting to get the latest scoop on what was causing it to turn itself inside out. On the date in question, Virgil was sat in the front room of their house, the curtains still wide open, reading with a heating pad resting on his lower back. The Lone Wolf even had to deal with the constant rumors that were typical of a small southern town, one of the most notable being that the Phantom Killer was gnawing the breasts of the girls he had murdered. TERROR IN RIVERDALE – When Archie’s attempt to take matters into his own hands spirals out of control, Mayor McCoy calls an emergency town hall meeting to deal with the growing chaos in Riverdale. Katie was shot twice in the face while attempting to call the police. Aside from murder, Texarkana was also regularly the site of high-speed chases with police in pursuit of traffickers running liquor from Louisiana to Oklahoma, as well as shootouts, hold-ups, and knife fights. Regardless if the Phantom was behind the killings or not, the public’s already tense mood had broken out into outright hysteria. 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. You want me for more than stealing cars! Among the rangers who arrived was that of the infamous Ranger Captain Manuel Trazzazas Lone Wolf Gonzaullas, who brought 26 years of experience to Texarkana and had a reputation that preceded him. Moore was found face down in the backseat, her purse opened as if the perpetrator sifted through it for cash and valuables. One day in late June, the stolen Plymouth was noticed and confirmed as the same vehicle for which the police were looking. Ben Johnson stars as Captain J.D. This attack on the Starks was 19 days after the Martin and Booker double homicide, so as soon as the call was made to the police department, officers rushed out to investigate the scene. While Hollis was rushed into emergency surgery for a severe injury to his skull, Larey spoke to the officers despite being shaken up. 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. His wife immediately ran to the telephone, but before she could use it the assailant fired two more shots, both entering her face. Â However, when analyzing Martin’s genitalia for signs of seminal fluid he tested negative, so it is assumed that the two of them did not have sex. This crime came after just 21 days after the murder of Griffin and Moore, so Presley quickly realized he needed more help. Her daughter from her first marriage, her beloved Betty Jo Booker, had not returned from her Saturday night gig playing saxophone at the VFW. The featured picture described the trap of Mrs. Rochelle: A blanket was nailed over a glass door next to a table that was teetered on an ashtray which would fall over if the door was opened. Mr. Partain advised the seller that he should return once he had the title in his possession, and that they might then reach an agreement. Film Review: ‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ The 'American Horror Story' team remakes the cult 1976 slasher with gimmicky, mostly unscary results. However, the town was no stranger to violence. Although he had been caught early into this decision, the start of WWII got him released from jail until he violated parole months later. 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. 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. Do you think that the murders were committed by Youell Swinney? He was 77 years old. 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." By 1944 he was familiar to U.S. marshals, but by 1946 was known to Texarkana as the main suspect in the Phantom Murders. They assumed it was a police officer making his nightly rounds, but instead they were confronted by an armed, masked man with a flashlight and a gun. Tensions between the press and the public started to sprout also, when reporters were allegedly inappropriately fondling waitresses in bars and getting into physical altercations with locals. Ben Johnson as Captain J.D. It was then that Tackett knew then that he had found his suspect. 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. After some time, a woman by the name of Peggy Stevens Swinney, newly married that same day to Youell Swinney, turned up to claim the vehicle. Richard L. Griffin (29) and his girlfriend Polly Ann More (17) were found dead in his car from gunshot wounds to the head. It was at this point that Sheriff Presley decided to call on the help of the Texas Rangers in order to identify the type of gun used in the murder from the casings that were left at the scene. In this installment, April will be revisiting the infamous Tekarkana murders which inspired the feature film The Town that Dreaded Sundown. One of the accounts of abuse recalled Youell having to stay outside while the family ate dinner inside, for unknown reasons. She was later released from the Miller County Jail on December 19, 1946. The killer was at a distance of about 18-22 inches from the window where he could have clearly seen the back of Virgil’s head. Clark humored his worrying wife and called Janann Gleason, the friend that Betty Jo was supposed to be staying with that night. Also, the police did not believe the victims at first and thought they were hiding the identity of the gunman, but pieces of evidence corroborated their story. It was directed by Charles B. Dubbed the "Phantom Killer," he was never caught. Based very loosely on true incidents that took place just after World War II around Texarkana (Miller County), it was one of the first movies in the “slasher” genre. The notice made a point that it was a gold-plated Bundy E-flat Alto saxophone, serial #2535â€ and urged pawnshops and music stores to please pay attention to anyone who may want to sell Booker’s instrument. They left five dead, three injured, and an entire town traumatized. However, in spite of this, there was some evidence found at the scene of the crime that came in handy. They arrested locals, even a local African-American man named Sammy, who was known to the community as a gentle soul. Syl is a professional criminologist who shamelessly spends her time listening to true crime podcasts, watching horror films, and bringing real life horror to her written pieces. After Hollis awoke from a 15-day coma it turned out that the some of their testimony proved to be unhelpful since they provided conflicting descriptions of the suspect. 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. After her husband, and Booker’s stepfather, Clark Brown, dismissed Bessie’s anxiety as over-exaggeration, Bessie insisted that Clark start making phone calls in order to find her daughter. The public announcement included important details such as where the bodies were found and the fact that Booker’s saxophone, whose absence had ignited Bessie Brown’s suspicion, was missing. 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). His grandchildren called him Mr. Swinney, not Grandpa or Grandfather. Elsewhere, Veronicagrows concerned for Archie when she realizes the lengths he would go to seek revenge against the person terrorizing Rive… The sudden skyrocketing population of Texarkana just 21 days after the murder of Griffin moore..., three injured, and screen the town that dreaded sundown real story braces her why she ran … the time has come to on. A pretty vile scene Presley quickly realized he needed more help carter subsequently notified Texarkana police to be on Booker-Martin... Victims had been overridden by the numerous other officers that arrived a short time later she had just asleep! 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