The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)

The Town That Dreaded Sundown was released into theaters on December 24th, 1976. Filming locations include Texarkana, Ar. and Texarkana, Tx. It was directed by Charles B. Pierce, who also played patrolman A.C. Benson a.k.a. Sparkplug, primarily for comic relief. It's loosely based on the Texarkana Moonlight Murders, crimes attributed to an unidentified serial killer known as the Phantom Killer, from February 22nd, 1946 to May 3rd, 1946. The crime spree left five dead and three wounded. The prime suspect in the case was Youell Swinney, who was linked to the murders by statements from his wife. However, she refused to testify against him, and he was never convicted. Two of the lead investigators in the case believed him to be guilty, and the 2014 book The Phantom Killer: Unlocking the Mystery of the Texarkana Serial Murders by Dr. James Presley also points to Swinney as the culprit of all five attacks. The score was composed by Jaime Mendoza-Nava. The films first DVD release was on May 21st, 2013.

Opening - E. Front St. (between Pine St. and Main St.) Texarkana, Tx. 75501

Structures seen in the opening montage include the McCartney Hotel, built in 1929 and closed in 1975, and Texarkana Union Station.

All "Now" pictures taken in 2020.

Train station - 100 E. Front St. Texarkana, Ar. 71854
(Texarkana Union Station)

It was designed by architect E.M. Tucker and opened on April 17th, 1930. The Texas/Arkansas state line runs through the building, with the west side sitting in Texas and the east side sitting in Arkansas. The majority of the station remains dormant, as it has since the last Missouri Pacific passenger train left in 1971. The eastern-most portion of the building still operates as an Amtrak station today. For the police station in the movie, the western-most portion of the building was used. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 19th, 1978.

All "Now" pictures taken in 2020.

Auditorium - 2500 N. Robinson Rd. Texarkana, Tx. 75599
(Texarkana College)

The structure is no longer there. It was demolished sometime between 2002 and 2004.


Church - Bowie St. and W. 14th St. Texarkana, Tx. 75501

The structure is no longer there. It was demolished at some point after 2015.


"Hold it boy" - 5399 Mandeville Rd. Texarkana, Ar. 71854

The cemetery seen in the background is the Memorial Gardens Cemetery and it was established in 1952.


Prom - 601 Locust St. Texarkana, Ar. 71854

Formerly the Arkansas National Guard armory. Today it's used as an overflow warehouse for the Texarkana Restaurant Equipment Exchange.

All "Now" pictures taken in 2020.


  1. Anyone else thinking the modern age delivers nothing but decline & despair...& there's proof right here.

    1. Some places definitely hold up better than others. Whoever runs this site is amazing! I can't imagine putting in the time to do all this!

  2. sad that town should be a historic land mark and yet it's fallen apart.