Weird West
aka: The Weird West

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/WeirdWest_4232.png

There's Space Western for The West In Space!, and there's Cattle Punk for The West meets Steam Punk. The Weird West is 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. Daylight Horror and Light Is Not Good are common elements in these tales: in a region where the dry season resembles the Thirsty Desert trope, it is shade that is sacred.

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 an ambiguous one.

See also: Samurai Cowboys, Supernatural Fiction, Aliens in Cardiff. Compare Southern Gothic.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime And Manga  

     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 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.
  • Happens in both the two main Italian western comic books, Tex Willer and Zagor (both published by Bonelli)
    • Zagor regularly features vampires, werewolves, aliens, mad scientists and a number of other unusual creepy crawlies. Quite fittingly, it shares the same universe with other fantasy-based Bonelli series, such as Martin Mystere (better known internationally for its animated adaptation), Dylan Dog, and others, even if set much earlier in time.
    • Tex Willer is usually more down to earth and tends to feature mostly typical stories, but from time to time has shown magic users (including the warlock Mefisto, Tex' most famous enemy, and Tex' ally El Morisco. Plus, the medicine man of the Navajo village where Tex lives has genuine magical abilities, just not in the same league as the above two), Lizard Folk, dinosaurs, aliens... And very convincing scammers, leading to Tex usually doubting of apparent magic until he can verify it with his own eyes. Also, it's shown that guns kill much faster and better than magic, with the only exception being the Tibetan monk Padma (who once asked the "Voice of My Land" for permission to deal with Mefisto by making him drop dead but was refused).
  • 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.
  • Manifest Destiny is about Lewis and Clark meeting all kinds of (usually quite dangerous) weirdness on their expedition to the Pacific Northwest.
  • Rapunzel's Revenge is Fractured Fairy Tale of the Rapunzel story set in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Old West. All magical elements are retained, and expanded in the Steam Punk styled sequel.
  • Parodied in one of the short stories published on Paperinik New Adventures: in the 23rd century they were shooting a western movie that featured such things as fire-breathing coguars, Indians with disintegrator tomahawks terrified by robotic birds and mutant desperados... Because the producer, usually known for extreme realism, accidentally documented himself with 20th century tabloids.
  • The vampire villain Protagonist Skinner Sweet ofAmerican Vampire had started out as a Wild West outlaw, and several stories concerning him take place there.

     Film  

  • High Plains Drifter: Nothing explicitly supernatural happens, but it is strongly implied that the main character is not human.
  • Pale Rider frequently associates the hero with Death, the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse.
  • Billy the Kid vs Dracula and Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (and, yes, these are real movies).
  • 1959's Curse of the Undead features a vampire gunslinger, quite possibly the first example of such.
  • 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.
  • Third Jeepers Creepers film 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 
  • 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: A vampire coven roam the modern-day west looking for prey to kill and places to lay low.
  • Priest (2011) is set in post apocalyptic-earth with vampires and has many of the trappings of the wild west genre.
  • 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.
  • The original script for Big Trouble in Little China set the supernatural shenanigans in the Wild West, but Executive Meddling updated it to modern day to be more relatable to the audience. Vestiges of the western setting can still be seen, such as Jack riding off into the sunset after the battle is won.
  • The Dead Lands of the titular film are a forbidden, cursed place inhabited by ghosts.
  • Bone Tomahawk has a Cannibal Clan of proto-humans as the villains.
  • Grim Prairie Tales fits this to a tee.
  • Purgatory is about a Western town in Purgatory, where the almost-damned are given a second chance.

     Literature  

     Live Action TV  

  • The television adaptation of The Walking Dead, beyond blatant western references right from the start, is a western story at heart with Western Characters. Gunslingers Rick Grimes and Shane Walsh, Young Gun Carl Grimes, Hunter Trappers Daryl and Merle Dixon, Wasteland Elder The Governor, the list goes on.
  • Some episodes of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr..
  • Supernatural as a whole could be considered a weird neo-western, but one episode featured Sam and Dean going back to the Old West to hunt down a Phoenix.
  • Bonanza dabbled in the weird more than once.
    • In one episode, Little Joe helped an isolated town defend against a gang that killed their sheriff, only to wake up in a ghost town that was destroyed by a gang years earlier.
    • In another, a new priest arrives in town just before Easter. He resolves a bitter custody battle over orphaned twins by counseling their extended family. Moments after their reunion, a man walks in and introduces himself as the new priest. The first one, naturally, has disappeared.
  • The Doctor Who episode "A Town Called Mercy" features the Doctor, Amy and Rory dealing with what is essentially a Terminator tormenting the titular town in the American old West.
  • On The Electric Company (1971), at least two Western parodies are this: the "galloping saddle" and "My Name is Kathy" sketches.
  • Xbox is reviving the setting of the Deadlands RPG (see Tabletop Games, below) for a new live-action TV series.
  • Westworld is an odd case. While it's clearly on the science fiction side of the Speculative Fiction spectrum, it also clearly isn't a Space Western or Cattle Punk. Rather, it's a collision of an A.I. Is a Crapshoot thriller and a classical Western, making it fit more comfortably here than in any of the other speculative Western genres.
    • In-Universe, some of the park's story-lines run into this category, such as the horror story involving cultists in the desert who became cannibals.

     Manhwa  

  • Priest: In contrast to the movie, the main story line takes place in the American West, with the protagonist battling fallen angels and zombies with blessed silver weapons, voodoo, and demonically-enhanced strength.

     Music  

  • 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.
  • Volbeat's Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies is a Concept Album that is solidly Western but also contains Lovecraftian elements. This is best exemplified by the songs "Dead But Rising," and "Nameless One."

     Tabletop Games  

     Video Games  

  • 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 .
  • Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time: One of the time periods featured in the game is the Wild West... overrun with appropriately-themed zombies such as cowboys, gold prospectors, saloon pianists, rodeo bulls, and... chicken wranglers.
  • Hard West is set in a grim western frontier beset by gun-toting demons, an inexplicable force driving people to madness, ancient curses, and a dark-suited stranger offering wealth and power to those down on their luck.
  • Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz has a wild west themed world... made entirely out of cardboard drawn on with crayon. Don't let the scenery fool you though, it's levels are bound to give you a headache.
  • Pulp Adventures has a mission in which the Lone Ranger and Tonto explore a Wild West town which population has been brainwashed by a cursed artifact buried nearby (a golden mask with telepathic abilities).

     Webcomics  

  • Many of the residents of Hell in Zoophobia are western-themed. That's right, there are demons and other entities with cowboy hats, boots, guns and saloon dresses. Who can square dance.
  • Crowfeathers
  • The Guns Of Shadow Valley where the wild west is full of superheroes.
  • Next Town Over has elements of this as well as Cattle Punk
  • The Dreadful, which is a cuter than average take, starting with Cute Monster Girl protagonist Kit.
  • Zombie Ranch is more of a Weird New West, though so far the supernatural elements all seem to be limited to zombies or the products of their existence.
  • Plume has magical artifacts and beings in Wild West setting.
  • 6 Gun Mage - as the title would suggest.
  • Back is the typical "desperado gains Kid Sidekick and fights corrupt lawmen" Western, albeit one where the desperado is a omnicidal zombie, the Kid Sidekick is a witch-in-training, and the corrupt lawmen have been deformed by the will of their insane king.

     Web Original  

    Western Animation 


Alternative Title(s): The Weird West, How The West Was Weird

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WeirdWest?from=Main.TheWeirdWest