This one perpetuates itself to be a movie with a future cult following. The only following I see this one recieving is for one of those "ten worst movies shot on video" lists but it's probably too obscure for that. Anyway somebody somewhere might derive something out of this, I can't. The video box proudly exclaims "Uncut Unedited Director's Cut". Pretty funny when you realize that's the only version that was ever released anywhere.
Q: What are you doing? A: Gonna kill a bunch of people.
William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones (in a very early role) star in this low-budget drive-in cult actioner. Devane is a vietnam war vet, just released from years in a hellish POW camp. When he returns home the city sees fit to reward him with a large amount of silver dollars and a brand new Cadillac Eldorado. Well, all's not well as he discovers his wife has been with another man and his son has grown distant from the father he barely knows. Anyway, a group of bandits kill his wife and son and chop off Devane's hand in a garbage disposal, all for the silver dollars the city gave him. Devane decides he's not too happy about it so he gets up with Tommy Lee Jones (who was in the POW camp with him) and the two go on a mission to hunt down and kill the men who ruined his life. Funny in spots and fairly well acted.
Cold... Cunning.... This is the face of the man you fear!
Donald Sumpter is flawless in his portrayal of Donald Neilson, a pretty weird guy. I saw this on tape when I was about five or six, and fifteen years later I still remember certain scenes very vividly. By all accounts one of the most factual true crime pictures ever made.
"The Town That Dreaded Sundown" is one of those mid-70's movies that featured an aging star in the lead role surrounded by lesser names. Usually low budget and created especially for the drive-in circuit, usually featuring a cut and dry "killer on the loose" plot. But while this one contains all those elements, it's surprisingly good. Ben Johnson , in a bit of a comedown role, and Andrew Prine are both good as a pair of cops on the trail of a serial killer in 1940's Texarkana. Based on a true story, a man wearing a flour sack as a mask sought out couples and women on deserted lovers lanes and assaulted and killed them. A couple of draggy moments, but overall a good film. This has been released on video several times by several companies, most recently by Goodtimes. You can probably find a copy at Wal-Mart for around seven or eight bucks.
Absolutely one of the finest films to come from Gene and Roger Corman. Based on a true story, the film features pre-Trek Shatner as well as ex-con-turned screenwriter/director/actor/Corman regular Leo Gordon in the role of a traveling drunk. (In recollecting the filming of this, Corman remembers the townspeople becoming riled up in the famous "Speech" scene. The townfolk were in awe of Shatner believing he really was for the advancement of the white race. Suddenly a group of men bolted out the crowd, heading out to burn down the black side of town. The cops were called in and production was shut down and moved into a (presumably) less racist town.) This one is probably a bit easier to find on video under the title "Shame", although "I Hate Your Guts!" is an outstanding eye grabber.
I disagree strongly with gnrz review. This film is one of the greatest examples of film noir, expertly acted and finely directed. (It's funny that Gnrz finds the plot far-fetched; it's based on an actual incident.) Anyway, Richard Basehart was probably at his very best playing the psychopathic antisocial killer. The supporting players are just as good, all veterans of radio and TV shows of the '20's-'60's. Jack Webb did a great job of directing, making good use of shadows and dramatic lighting effects which would come to define the film noir genre. (Webb also appears briefly as a lab tech). Webb was probably best known at the time for his Dragnet radio show, which he brought to tv a few years after HWBN. And who could forget the finale, set in the LA sewer system (re-used for the 1956 sci-fi classic THEM!)? All in all, a four-star film. Do yourself a favor and catch this one on tape or TV. Even if you don't think of it as highly as I do you'll still probably dig it somewhat.