Weird West


(permanent link) added: 2010-04-28 09:51:02 sponsor: melloncollie (last reply: 2011-02-06 10:41:11)

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There's Space Western for The West In Space!, and there's Cattle Punk for The West meets Steam Punk. The Weird West is the sister trope, for when The West meets the supernatural.

The West is, if you think about it, a logical choice for this treatment. The frontier as a whole was traditionally viewed (and still is viewed, to some extent) as the meeting place of civilization and the unknown. The lawless setting also meant plenty of violent deaths and unfinished business, fuel for ghostly tales. And where else would you expect to find a Magical Native American?

Weird West works often invoke horror tropes. Ghosts, zombies, vampires, and werewolves are common elements. Also expect to see some elements from Native American mythology such as the wendigo. The West also has its own cryptids and urban legends, the most famous of them being the chupacabra.

And yes, Weird West is an industry term.

See also: Samurai Cowboys, Supernatural Fiction
Examples:

Comic Books
  • The Desperadoes comic book
  • The DCU's Weird Western Tales starring Jonah Hex.
    • Despite the title, Jonah Hex is only borderline weird, at least in his original and current ongoing series. The two Joe R. Lansdale miniseries and movie have plenty of Weird West stuff, though.
  • While most of Preacheris set in the present, the series has a very strong Weird West vibe, and the origin of the Saint of Killers is a pure example of the genre.
  • DC Comics Golden Age character the Vigilante turned into this during the Seven Soldiers "megaseries."
  • Another DC Comics character, El Diablo, was basically made of this.
  • Magazine Enterprises had a supernatural Western character the Ghost Rider, who was later taken over by Marvel Comics, renamed the Phantom Rider, made mundane, and eventually re-supernaturalized.
  • Marvel Zombies 5 is a zombie western.
  • The Sixth Gun is a new weird western comic book series.
  • DC Comics The Justice Riders (Various Justice Leaguers reimagined in a Wild West setting.)

Film
  • High Plains Drifter: Nothing explicitly supernatural happens, but it is strongly implied that the main character is not human.
  • Billy the Kid vs Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (and, yes, these are real movies).
  • The movie Greaser's Palace, a bizarre Christ allegory which features supernatural resurrection.
  • Some parts of The Prophecy are reminiscent of this setting, as most of the story takes place in a barely populated Arizona town. The main characters go down a mine shaft that shows them visions and participate in an Indian exorcism.
  • Undead or Alive (2007) -- Western meets zombies
  • The Burrowers (2008) -- Western meets subterranean ghouls
  • High Plains Invaders (2009) -- Western meets alien invaders
  • From Dusk Till Dawn - Western meets Tarantino, Rodriguez and Vampires.
  • The Valley of Gwangi - A living Allosaurus is unleashed and its up to cowboys to save the day.
  • Jeepers Creepers 3 was supposed to be this when it was first envisioned.
  • BloodRayne II: Deliverance was a movie about vampires set in the old west. Also contained the ridiculous line, "Get out of town before high midnight."
  • Alaska sometimes gets this treatment, since to this day it is one of the least populated American states. Example: The Last Winter.

Literature

Live-Action TV

Manhwa
  • Priest: The American West, except with zombies and demons.

Tabletop Games
  • Deadlands
  • Rifts features a lawless American Southwest, mostly free from Coalition control but host to a whole mess of other troubles. It's all a self-respecting cowpoke or injun can do to take up arms and clear out all the scum - cyborg prospectors, lowlife banditos, cactus men, red skinned desert spirits... Speaking of, Mexico is pretty much completely overrun by vampires.
  • Werewolf: The Wild West
  • The Good, the Bad & the Munchkin

Videogames
  • An expansion pack for Red Dead Redemption focuses around the (normal) Western town getting overrun with a zombie invasion.

Webcomics

Western Animation

Other
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