Grim Prairie Tales (1990)

The advantage of a horror anthology is that you can afford James Earl Jones when you’re only using him for a day or so. That’s the trick of Grim Prarie Tales, which as far as I know is the only all-western horror anthology.

Writer/director Wayne Coe often worked as a storyboard artist (Se7enDead Man on Campus) before making this film. He’s currently making a movie called We Have Your Kids and planned to make a sequel to this called Grim Prairie Tales: Rescue Party.

Two men meet around the campfire to tell stories, with bounty hunter Morrison (Jones) taking in a body for money and Farley Deeds (Brad Dourif) coming back to see his wife. From a story where a Native American tribe gets revenge against a man who has disturbed their burial ground to Marc McClure helping a pregnant demon woman and a man haunted by someone he killed in a gunfight, the stories all fit the criminally underexplored supernaturally western genre.

There’s also a story about a man forced to become part of a lynch mob. The protagonist is played by William Atherton, who is quite literally the best jerk in the history of movies. The real life Atherton is somewhat suspect too, as he studied Eli Siegel’s aesthetic realism philosophy, which claims that homosexuality is a way of seeing the world that can be studied and changed. Atherton identifies as ex-gay and I’ve noticed that information about this keeps getting taken off of his Wikipedia page.

Regardless, Grim Prarie Tales is an intriguing entry in the horror anthology genre. Then again, I’ve also heard it being placed into the feminist western category and that fits as well.

 

 

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