Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Western-Themed Horror Movies

I started a western horror short story based on my road trip and then Grim at Grimoire of the Hour (who’s in a writer’s critique group with me) mentioned that there aren’t enough western horror movies. That had me thinking about what a shame that is because the west really lends itself to amazing inspiration for horror. So, I went on a search for western horror to give you the feel of the Old West no matter where you live. Imagine open spaces, dusty mining towns, and endless highway with nothing for hours and hours of driving... You're never as vulnerable as when the sun is beating down, no shade, open spaces and no one able to hear you scream.

"Burrowers” (above) is a 2008 movie that describes itself as “a band of courageous men sets out to find and recover a family of settlers that has mysteriously vanished from their home. Expecting the offenders to be a band of fierce natives, the group prepares for a routine battle. But they soon discover that the real enemy stalks them from below.” I just put that in my Netflix Queue and I suspect I’m going to totally love it!

“Tremors” This 1990 movie starring Kevin Bacon and Michael Gross was a fantastically cool one. It’s a classic, really. It’s described as “a small town gradually becomes aware of a strange creature which picks off people one by one. But what is this creature, and where is it? At the same time, a seismologist is working in the area, she detects _tremors_. The creature lives underground, and can 'pop up' without warning. Trapped in their town, the town-folk have no escape.”

“From Dusk Till Dawn” This 1996 film had a wide range of viewers and was really a cool cult favorite. This Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney movie is described as; “Two fugitive brothers at gunpoint get an ex-minister and his two children to take them accross the border into Mexico. They drive to a Mexican biker bar to rendevous with other crooks. While at the bar, a few unusual things happen.”

“The Hills Have Eyes” This 1977 Wes Craven movie was extremely unsettling. I remember thinking how vulnerable you are in the desert. In fact, every time I drive through the desert, I think about this movie and I pray my car won’t break down. It’s described as; “a family going to California accidentally goes through an Air Testing range closed to the public. They crash and are stranded in a desert. They are being stalked by a group of people, which have not emerged into modern times.”

“Deadwalkers” a zombie western (trailer above) I’m not sure what to make of that one. It was filmed in Alberta, so I’m not too keen on that and you can make light of zombies, but you better have the best writers, actors, and director to make it work (think “Shaun of the Dead”). I’m sure I’ll pass up on this film.

“Ravenous” is one I really enjoyed. This 1999 movie is a good one. I have it in my collection. The description is; “A soldier in the Mexican-American war in 1847 is promoted to captain for his perceived bravery but soon transferred to a remote outpost in the Sierra Nevadas when the cowardly truth becomes evident. The outpost's keepers seem on the brink of madness in their own ways, and what passes for their tranquil is shattered by the intrusion of the lone survivor of an ill-fated expedition that ended in murder and cannibalism.”

“Desperation” is a 2006 Stephen King miniseries described as; “En route to Lake Tahoe for a much anticipated vacation, the Carver family is arrested for blowing out all four tires on their camper. Collie Entragian is the arresting officer, the self-made sheriff of a town called Desperation, Nevada, and the quintessential bad cop. Unbeknownst to the Carvers, Entragian regularly sniffs out passerbys on this stretch of road, and in fact has done in nearly every resident of his hometown. He can also change form and summon the help of creepy creatures, including scorpions, snakes and spiders.”

“Them!” This 1954 movie is perhaps more SciFi than horror, but it is definitely meant to be horrifying at the time. I think it’s a classic and a must-have. I love the film. It’s described as; “Nuclear tests in the desert result in the growth of gigantic mutant ants who menace cities in the American south-west as a team of investigators and the army search for a way to control their spread in this Cold War-era monster film.”

Let me know if you can think of any I missed.


  1. Hey, thanks for the mention!

    I've seen the "Borrowers" and while the acting was great for the budget and well directed, the movie's creatures fell far below my expectations. Also, if you watch it and get the VERY ending, tell me. I have no clue what that was about.

    You forgot John Carpenter's "Vampires". Also I did some digging earlier and found this movie that might be promising. It's called "Legend of the Phantom Rider". I have yet to see it but am willing to give it a chance.

  2. Fantastic! I had forgotten about "Vampires" I remembered there was a western vampire movie, but I never saw it, so I forgot which one it was. I put it in my queue, along with the one you mentioned "Legend of the Phantom Rider." I am all westerned up now! I will tell you what I think of "Borrowers." I should get it in the mail by Friday.

  3. autumn,i loved desperation & the other sk book that came out at same time! the movie desp was good too! and, this doesnt exactly fit in with the old west thing going on...but i saw 30 days of night last weekend, and it was a good vampire movie!!

  4. Libby-Girl: I loved 30 Days of Night! I have to admit, it's my favorite scary movie to put on during our long hot summers--turn out the lights, turn up the air-conditioner and feel like I'm somewhere else. I thought those were the best vampires ever portrayed in a movie--they were very foreign and without one ounce of feeling or conscience. You are really good with your movies! Let me know if you come across something new you like. I'm always hoping to get tipped on flicks I haven't caught.

  5. I`m curious Micheal Gross starred in a ghost town flick along the lines of the hills have eyes any idea of a title?