Thursday, 6 October 2016

Cowboys and Vampires (3 Stars)

This is my Halloween Challenge film #6. When it was first released in 2010 it was called "Dead West", but it was renamed "Cowboys and Vampires" for the DVD release. That was a wise choice. "Dead West" has been used a few times already for films. I know that with the thousands of films being released worldwide every year it's impossible to prevent duplicate names, but they should be avoided if possible. "Cowboys and Vampires" is unique, at least for now.

I've read reviews that call this a comedy. That's not true. It's played very straight, with no attempts at humour. Maybe the stark contrast between the western and the horror genres is what has confused other reviewers. I actually regret that this isn't a comedy. A few laughs scattered throughout the film would have helped cover up the film's weaknesses, in particular the lack of acting talent by most of the supporting cast.

Now to the story. Johnny Dust has starred in a few westerns. He doesn't get many jobs, because not many westerns are filmed nowadays, so in between films he appears in live action gunfights in a western theme park in Arizona. The pay isn't outstanding, but at least he's doing what he enjoys. Now it's all coming to an end. The theme park has been sold to a new owner who wants to turn it into a horror theme park. The western town will be filled with ghosts and vampires. Johnny and the rest of the staff are offered jobs. Things seem to be going well as they rehearse the new acts for the opening day on October 1st, but Johnny sees strange things happening around him. He suspects that the film's owner and many of the new employees are real vampires who intend to slaughter the audience on opening night.

It's actually not a bad idea for a film. It could have been a good film if it had featured more talented actors. Or a few more laughs.

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