The Western movie genre immediately conjures up visions of tough cowboys riding the plains, shooting stuff and mingling with ladies in saloons.
Then there are Western horror movies, which include a lot of the same tropes movie-goers have come to expect, with the addition of vampires, zombies and other horrific things that live under the big sky and deathly silence of the desert.
Here are a few Western horror movies to catch this month – while I’m generally a found-footage horror flick kind of gal, there’s a lot to be said for movies that take a traditional movie genre and add a scary, violent and totally gory twist.
And a side note: While a couple of these films are technically unrated, it’s safe to say they wouldn’t be my top choice for family movie night – I’d wait until the kiddos are safely tucked into their beds.
The Pale Door (2020)After a train robbery, two brothers leading a gang of cowboys find themselves bringing a young woman named Pearl back to her home n Potemkin. She tells them that if they bring her home, they will be rewarded handsomely. Well, that doesn’t go quite as planned, and the men must survive the night in a ghost town inhabited by a coven of witches. Not rated.
Bone Tomahawk (2015)In the Old West, a sheriff (Kurt Russell), his deputy (Richard Jenkins), a gunslinger (Matthew Fox),and a cowboy (Patrick Wilson) embark on a mission to rescue three people from a savage group of cannibalistic cave dwellers. You can never go wrong with Kurt Russell. Rated R.
The Wind (2018)Lizzy is a tough, resourceful frontierswoman settling a remote stretch of land on the 19th-century American frontier. Isolated from civilization in a desolate wilderness where the wind never stops howling, she begins to sense a sinister presence that seems to be borne of the land itself, an overwhelming dread that her husband dismisses as superstition. When a newlywed couple arrive at a nearby homestead, their presence amplifies Lizzy’s fears, setting into motion a shocking chain of events. Rated R.
Bender (2016)A troubled doctor searching for patients on the Kansas prairie in the late 1800s encounters the Bender family, homesteaders trapped in a life of unspeakable sin. The true story of an American serial killer family. Not rated, but I’d venture to say it’s in the rated R neighborhood.
The Burrowers (2008)In 1879, a rescue party comes face to face with underground creatures attacking a town. Rated R.
Billy the Kid versus Dracula (1966) Bar-B ranch foreman Billy (Chuck Courtney) proposes to his blond boss (Melinda Plowman), unaware her top-hatted uncle (John Carradine) is a vampire.
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966)Maria Frankenstein (Narda Onyx) puts a monster’s brain in the body of Jesse James’ (John Lupton) sidekick (Cal Bolder). Not rated, but I wouldn’t get too excited for this one – it’s a snoozer.