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Monday, October 5, 2020

‘The Pale Door’ and 10 Films That Perfectly Fuse Horror and Western!

Of all the many subsets and genre mashups of horror, the horror western seems like a match made in heaven. Or hell, considering it’s horror, after all. The isolation of the wild west, the ever-present danger of starvation or brutal conditions, and the rougher way of life in period settings make for an excellent foundation for genre film. Infuse that setting with supernatural menace, and you’ve got the recipe for something unique. The latest horror western to saddle up and scare the pants off cowboys and cowgirls everywhere is The Pale Door, from director Aaron B. Koontz.

The Pale Door follows the outlaw Dalton gang as they hole up in a strange ghost town after a train robbery gone wrong. Seeking shelter for their injured leader, the group is surprised to find aid from a friendly brothel. However, the women are actually a coven of old witches with nefarious designs on the unsuspecting outlaws.

Executive produced by Joe R. Lansdale (Bubba Ho-Tep), the film stars Pat Healy, Bill SageNoah SeganDevin Druid, Zachary Knighton, and Melora Walters. The script was written by Koontz (Scare Package), Cameron Burns, and Keith Lansdale.

The Pale Door rides onto Blu-ray & DVD on October 6, 2020. In anticipation of the release, we look back at some of the best horror westerns.


The Burrowers

The Burrowers

Before video game writer J.T. Petty scared the pants off gamers with the Outlast series, he helmed this 2008 horror western set in 1879. With a cast full of names like Clancy Brown, Doug Hutchison, Jocelin Donahue, and more, The Burrowers follows a rescue party searching for a family that went missing under strange circumstances from a still unexplored territory. It’s not hostile Native Americans behind the disappearances, though, but a species of monstrous underground dwelling creatures. It’s the perfect merging of the two genres; the mounting tension between American soldiers and Native Americans makes for a great backdrop to the unique monster mythology that provides the supernatural terror.


Ghost Town

If you have a soft spot for schlocky ’80s horror, this is for you. Sheriff Langley stumbles upon a missing woman’s car on the side of the road, and in his quest to find her, he finds a nearby old ghost town haunted by the ghosts of its past. He’s then whisked back in time and forced to square off against the zombie-like Devlin, an outlaw who made a pact with the Devil and forever trapped the town in purgatory. Based on a story by David Schmoeller (Tourist Trap), Ghost Town is a fun Western movie that takes a literal interpretation of the ghost town. It offers time travel, black hat wearing villains, and ghosts of the past keeping a dead town alive in spirit.


Dead Birds

Set during the Civil War, a group of Confederate army deserters hides from the law at an abandoned plantation after robbing a bank. They soon find that the land has been left behind for a good reason; it’s home to bizarre, near Lovecraftian supernatural forces. Madness, chaos, and death ensue. Written by Simon Barrett (The GuestYou’re Next), this modest budget horror film brings the scares. Featuring notable actors like Patrick Fugit, Henry Thomas, Isaiah Washington, Nicky Cox, and Michael Shannon, look for memorable horror imagery and an isolated wild west setting.


Eyes of Fire

This atypical western folk tale remains trapped on VHS. Low budget and full of surrealistic imagery, Eyes of Fire is a unique entry in the horror western. Set in 1750, a preacher is accused and persecuted for polygamy and adultery, so he and a group of followers, including his mistresses, escape death by fleeing town. Their journey takes them into Shawnee territory; the hostile tribe is very unhappy about the trespass. It further sets them on a collision course with witchcraft and one very haunted forest. It’s atypical, weird, and dreamlike.


The Wind

Lizzy is a resourceful woman living on a remote stretch of land in the late-1800s. The area is so untamed that the wind never seems to stop howling. Lizzy begins to suspect an evil presence has taken root between the howling and the isolation, though her husband dismisses her concerns as mere superstition. When a newlywed couple arrives at a nearby homestead, their presence amplifies Lizzy’s fears, setting into motion a shocking chain of events. Directed by Emma Tammi, this indie chiller takes a slow-burn approach to psychological terror. Think something in the vein of Repulsion but on the frontier.


Tremors

Tremors may not be a western in the traditional sense, but the setting, motifs, and structure are there. In the desert town of Perfection, Nevada, the ex-mining settlement makes for an isolated, dusty way of life. The town residents feel like modern cowboys, namely plucky heroes Val McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred Ward). Perfection is becoming a bit of a ghost town itself, in part thanks to giant underground worm creatures dubbed “Graboids.” So, essentially, this is one fun-filled horror-western-comedy creature feature but set in a modern era. It counts.


Vampires

John Carpenter takes on the neo-western. One of the most common recurring themes in western movies is that of revenge. In Vampires, vampire hunter Jack Crow is hellbent on revenge against the vampires that wiped out his entire team in an ambush. That he’s a killer for hire checks off another box of familiar western tropes. Oh, and it’s set in the southwest. This was Carpenter’s way of tackling a western disguised as a horror movie, and it works. At least in the sense that it’s gritty action and a significant departure from the gothic vampires to which we’d grown accustomed. Even though the vampires in this tale are rather fond of gothic attire, it’s still a fun one.


Ravenous

Bearing similarities to the Donner Party’s case and set during the 1840s at a military outpost in California, Antonia Bird’s quirky tale of cannibalism is an all-timer. A mysterious, frostbitten stranger arrives at the outpost with stories of how his travel party was stranded by snow. When the outpost dispatches a rescue party, well, they find themselves prey to a sadistic cannibal instead. It offers quirky humor with an equally strange score to match—Ravenous charms with its eccentricities and unique spin on Wendigo folklore. The cast is stacked, too; Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, Neal McDonough, and more star.


Near Dark

“Howdy. I’m gonna separate your head from your shoulders. Hope you don’t mind none.” Severen (Bill Paxton) is one mean, scene-stealing vampire. So is the rest of his nomadic clan. Poor midwestern cowboy Caleb had no idea the beautiful drifter that came into his life was a vampire. After being turned by her, he’s reluctantly forced to join her bloodthirsty family as they travel across the country in an RV, leaving a path of destruction and dead bodies in their wake. Katheryn Bigelow’s neo-western blends horror with western and biker movies and the result is one of the most savage vampire movies of all time.


Bone Tomahawk

The bold feature debut by S. Craig Zahler spends its time lulling audiences into forgetting there’s any horror at all in this western. When unseen attackers swoop in one night and steal horses and a few town residents, the town sheriff (Kurt Russell) sets off with a small search party to rescue them. The journey getting there is filled with injury, harsh conditions, and ruthless raiders. None of it prepares them for the vicious troglodyte clan they’ll have to battle for their lives and the lives of the townsfolk they’ve come to save. Zahler uses violence and gore like an art form, and if you thought you’d seen it all, Bone Tomahawk proves otherwise. This movie is pure western, right up until the horror barrels into you like a wild west locomotive.


And of course don’t forget The Pale Door, which captures that same energy of From Dusk Till Dawn as robbers get in over their heads with supernatural creatures. In this case, it’s gnarly, bloodthirsty witches.

Snatch up The Pale Door on Blu-ray & DVD on October 6, 2020. 



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/sponsored/3634217/pale-door-10-films-perfectly-fuse-horror-western/

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