true crime

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

One of the most terrifying horror films of the 70’s (a right unreal time for horror) was the film inspired by true events that occurred in Texarkana, Arkansas, The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976). (Bonus round, another great film if you haven’t seen it).  The ’76 film focuses on a Texas ranger hunting down the hooded serial killer terrorizing a small town in 1946.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) is, wait for it, a meta-sequel.  It’s 65 years later, and we’re back in Texarkana, a town that has now had a film made about the hooded killer who once terrorized them, and now celebrates the film once a year, a practice often criticized by the townspeople.

People start getting murdered, in manners similar to those depicted in the film, and “Jami” takes to investigating the sinister truth behind what appears to be copy cat murders.

It’s directed by Alfonzo Gomez-Rejon, better known for directing your favourite episodes of American Horror Story (and Glee, but don’t judge him on only that alone). You’ll recognize a lot of the style, and it works so well in this setting.

Aside from being terrifying, with classic nods to 70’s style horror, this film manages to be cohesive in an expanded universe, and makes excellent references to the original film.  (If you’ve seen the original, or even if you haven’t, a trombone is your worst nightmare).

It’s scary, it’s cool, it has a fun story, and quirky characters and homages.  It manages to pay homage and be film-y enough to call itself a “meta-sequel” and also just be totally excellent to watch.

Great if you liked: Insidious, Scream, The Hills Have Eyes, Hostel, Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Hills Have Eyes, The Collector, House of Wax, The Strangers, You’re Next, American Horror Story (mostly that insane slasher episode from Season 1)


So you liked “Making a Murderer”…

Making a Murderer is all the rage right now. The true crime doc Netflix series is tearing up the bandwidth of seemingly everyone on social media.

But you blew through the 10 short episodes on new years day and you’re looking for more.

I got you covered with these true crime docs you probably haven’t seen.

The Staircase

If there’s one thing I learned in law school, it’s that The Staircase is a pretty solid documentary.  This 8 part doc by Academy Award winning Jean-Xavier De Lestrade, follows the high profile murder trial of Michael Peterson.  Peterson is accused of murdering his wife after she is found lying in a pool of blood at the bottom of their home’s staircase. If you thought the twists in Making a Murderer were good, oooh wait ’til you hear about the e-mails!


Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills


This is the first part of a trilogy, which also includes Paradise Lost 2: Revelations and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.

This doc/ these docs chronicle the trial of the West Memphis Three, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin for the horrific murders of three children in West Memphis, Arkansas.

Much like our pal, Steven Avery, the West Memphis Three assert their innocence and this is another instance where the justice system appears to fail an accused.  The “townspeople” interviews are just as bone chilling as the interrogations from Making a Murderer.  This high profile case was also the subject of West of Memphis, a documentary released at Sundance 2012, and the subject of the 2013 drama, Devil’s Knot starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth which tells the story from one of the victim’s mother’s POV.

Fun Facts, the first instance of Metallica allowing their music to be in a movie, and Johnny Depp is pals with Damien Echols.

The Central Park 5

This 2012 documentary by Ken and Sara Burns chronicles the story of 5 black and latino teenagers who are convicted of the rape of a woman in Central Park.  The 5 spent years in prison before another man confessed to the crime.  Another tale of the miscarriage of justice and the motivation to skewer those accused for a sensational news story.




Happy viewing.