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
. The Magical Native American
cliché also tends to show up here, for obvious reasons.
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
. It is not unknown for an ongoing Western series to have an episode or two of weirdness — even if ambiguously
And yes, Weird West
is an industry term. Wikipedia
uses the term to describe any work where the western is fused with a different genre.
See also: Samurai Cowboys
, Supernatural Fiction
, Aliens in Cardiff
Anime & Manga
- 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 Preacher is 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. Six revolvers with magical powers, when placed into the lock of a special vault, cause The End of the World as We Know It, and lets whoever did the wreckin' remake the world in his/ her image. The protagonists must keep them away from an undead confederate general, the remains of his unit, and a thief working for a shadowy organization.
- Italian comic book character Zagor often met vampires, werewolves, aliens, mad scientists and a number of other unusual creepy crawlies.
- DC Comics The Justice Riders (Various Justice Leaguers reimagined in a Wild West setting.)
- The Hack/Slash short comic "Home, Home on Derange".
- Wynonna Earp is New Old West meets the Weird West.
- Doug TenNapel's Iron West would just be plain old Cattle Punk, except that it's implied that the Engines (and perhaps the robo-cowboys as well) weren't actually built by anyone.
- Cowboys and Aliens and its film adaptation.
- The Amalgam Universe one-shot Generation Hex was essentially this, combining the mutants of Generation X with the Old West setting of the aforementioned Jonah Hex.
- Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue De Connick and Emma Rios. It stars Deathface Ginny, the Daughter of Death.
- Texas Strangers, which is essentially a Western story in a setting with magic and multiple fantasy races. Elves are the Native Americans, and Orcs come from Mexico; they and the humans of various stripes all use magic in their day-to-day lives.
- East Of West by Jonathan Hickman is this in spades. Cowboy versions of the four horsemen of the apocalypse bump shoulders with powerful witches from the Endless Nation of the Indians. Also, there are talking eyeballs and living lakes. Weird West indeed.
- 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.
- Blood Rayne II Deliverance was a movie about vampires set in the old west. Also contained the ridiculous line, "Get out of town before high midnight."note
- Alaska sometimes gets this treatment, since to this day it is one of the least populated American states. Example: The Last Winter.
- On that note, 30 Days of Night features a sheriff who battles vampires during the long Alaskan winter.
- The famous surrealist Western El Topo, which features mole people.
- Cowboys and Aliens. The title should tip you off.
- Death Valley: The Revenge of Bloody Bill - Zombies.
- Gun Town - Psycho cannibals.
- The Ghoul Goes West. An unproduced Ed Wood film that would have starred Bela Lugosi as Dracula in the Old West.
- Near Dark.
- Dead in Tombstone: A murdered gang leader is sent back to Earth by the Devil to extract vengeance on the gang members who betrayed him.
- Jonah Hex: After being brought back from the dead, but leaving part of his soul behind, Jonah acquired the ability to, as long as he maintains physical contact with the corpse, temporarily resurrect and communicate with the dead, bringing the corpse physically and mentally back to its condition prior to death.
- Robert E. Howard's Weird West stories.
- "Ghost Town At Sundown" from The Magic Tree House series.
- Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian, Or the Evening Redness in the West,, which repeatedly suggests that the Judge is a supernatural being.
- The Dark Tower series is a sort of western (more so in the first book than in later installments) with elements of fantasy and science fiction. It has demons and magic as well as technology left over from before the world moved on.
- Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker stories are all about this.
- Lots and lots of stories by Joe R. Lansdale. Even some of his stories that aren't weird west still borrow elements.
- Devon Monk's Age of Steam
- David Gemmell's Jon Shannow trilogy. An After the End setting where most of humanity has access to civil war era technology, but which also has half-beast mutants, devil worshiping sorcerers and gun wielding lizardmen from the past of another dimension invaded by Atlantis.
- Emma Bull's Territory is a Weird West exploration of the Tombstone mythos, and the events surrounding the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral.
- Alan Dean Foster's short stories about "Mad Amos" Malone, a giant Mountain Man with a vast knowledge of all things arcane and mysterious who battles assorted dragons, ghosts, and other occult goings-on in the Old West.
- Gemma Files' The Hexslinger Series, a post-Civil War trilogy about fallen preacher turned sorcerer Ash Rook, his sharpshooting Badass gunslinger boyfriend Chess Pargeter, and the hell they unleash on the West when Rook makes a deal with a fallen Mayan goddess to get the one thing his magic can't give him: a way to save him and Chess from killing each other when Chess's magic awakes as well, since magicians can't co-exist or cooperate in this universe without sooner or later destroying each other.
- Unicorn Western, with its presence of magic and unicorns.
- Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D light-novel series is heavily Western-based, even taking place in what is known as "The Frontier".
- Appalachia rather than the West, but Manley Wade Wellman 's Character/John the Balladeer stories are if not this trope, related.
- Sheeps Clothing is a vampire story set in the United States territories in 1874.
- Mike Resnick's Buntline Special and it's sequels pit Steam Punk science against Indian magic.
- Priest: The American West, except with zombies and demons.
- To this genre belongs the song Fear and Anguish, of Voltaire's country album: Hate Lives in a Small Town. It's about the effect strange ocurrences start having over a town with a Continuity Nod regarding a song of the same album.
- Ghoultown fit this trope to a tee, with a horrorpunk/rockabilly country sound, and plenty of songs about undead gunslingers and ghoulish curses. They even stretched into comic book territory briefly with a story about a vampire-cowboy.
- Murder By Death have at least their entire album Who Will Survive and What Will be Left of Them?, which is "about the Devil wiping a small town off the map." Portions of Red of Tooth and Claw may qualify as well.
- Deadlands is an unabashed example of this trope, to the point that it actively uses the term Weird West to describe its setting.
- 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
- The largely forgotten First-Person Shooter Darkwatch: Curse of the West was about an outlaw-turned-vampire named Jericho Cross, who was hired by the titular organization to track down the vampire lord who turned him. It featured, among other things, a Hellish Horse named Shadow that served as Jericho's steed.
- Undead Nightmare, an expansion pack for Red Dead Redemption, focuses around the (normal) Western frontier getting overrun with a zombie invasion.
- Though otherwise averted in the main game, the optional sidequest "I Know You" features a mysterious stranger who seems to know Marston even though he doesn't remember ever meeting him. The quest's climax heavily implies this man is some sort of supernatural being, as he's shown to be Immune to Bullets and your final confrontation with him takes place at the site of Marston's future grave. Players have interpreted him as God, Satan, or even Death, but his true identity is ultimately left ambiguous.
- The Wild ARMs series has a Western-like setting, but includes fantasy and sci-fi elements such as spellcasting and robots.
- Alone In The Dark 3 is set in a Ghost Town in Mojave desert populated by undead cowboys and outlaws.
- Pirate 101 has a world known as Cool Ranch. The setting is western featuring piratesnote , Petting Zoo Peoplenote , and Hoodoonote .
- Behold the brave Lawrence Brecker and his... uh... hoverhorse thingy.