The Horror Of The Wild West

The Horror Of The Wild West

Before Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare launched, Rockstar’s Dan Houser compared the zombie add-on to a ’70s horror flick. With Halloween right around the corner, get out the popcorn, because here is a field guide to some crazy westerns.

The 1970s were a great decade for horror films. Several seminal films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Carrie and Halloween hit cinemas and drive-ins, where they scared the crap out of folks. But horror westerns have existed long before the 1970s. Even as early as the silent era, there were westerns that shoehorned in a supernatural element. Here’s a look back at the scary, the silly and the just plain strange.

The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956)

Cattle are being gobbled up by… A DINOSAUR! This flick is noted for not only being the first western with a dinosaur, but for its use of stop-motion photography.

Billy the Kid vs Dracula (1966)

Smart money is on Billy the Kid. Or on throwing guns. This low-budget production stars John Carradine (of Carradine acting dynasty fame) and was directed by William Beaudine, one of Hollywood’s most prolific directors.

The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

Featuring special effects by Ray Harryhausen, the film even inspired bits in Jurassic Park. The setting was supposed to be Mexico, but it was filmed in Spain.

Black Noon (1971)

High Noon? No, Black Noon. This was a made-for-TV movie that starred Oscar winner Ray Milland. It’s got a Satanic cult and burning crosses!

High Plains Drifter (1973)

It’s as though Eastwood took Leone’s westerns and turned them on their ear with this spooky flick. One of Eastwood’s best.

Westworld (1973)

Robot cowboys! Robot cowboys! Robot cowboys going bananas! Starring Yul Brynner (The Magnificent Seven) and directed by novelist Michael Crichton.

The White Buffalo (1977)

Charles Bronson as Wild Bill Hickok. Must I go on? Hickok is searching for an enormous white buffalo monster thingy. The film also stars Kim Novak (Vertigo) and Slim Pickens (Dr Strangelove), and it was directed by J. Lee Thompson, who also helmed the brilliant The Guns of Navarone.

Horror westerns continue to be made throughout the 1980s, 1990s and even today. Check out this Wiki list for more titles as well as the game’s official site.

Pic via Mubi

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