To finish out our October tradition of Spooky Westerns, we wanted to talk about Near Dark, the cult classic vampire western from academy award winning director Kathryn Bigelow, but due to a lack of streaming options, we were unable to easily find it and instead watched a forgotten anthology Horror film no one remembers or cares about, Grim Prairie Tales! In truth, I’ve always been curious about this bizarre title, starring terrific character actors James Earl Jones and Brad Dourif as wandering cowboys sharing a campfire and swapping ghost stories. And it’s not really that good, I’m afraid, but it’s pretty weird, and there simply aren’t any other films quite like this. Dad is perhaps a bit less forgiving. Topics of conversation include the YouTube rip we watched and its horrible picture quality, some Brad Dourif fawning, my debunked theory on the Indian Burial Ground story and its root in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the film’s ambitious feint towards social issues featuring William Atherton as a murderous pilgrim (with a sidebar on Atherton’s post-Ghostbusters woes), several occasions where the storytelling fails, better movies it reminded us of, such as Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which I wish this ended like. A lot of it is us trying not to laugh too meanly, admittedly, but in the end, I enjoyed my time with the film. And again, Dad, less so. You get some impersonations of Jones and Dourif too. You should all see Near Dark though!
We also spend some time discussing a more successful genre mashup, Tales from the Hood, which employs a similar strategy of utilizing the Horror anthology format but to much better effect. On the next episode, we’ll be discussing Jubal, a Western reworking of Othello starring Glenn Ford and Ernest Borgnine. You can find us online at westernwithdad.com and iTunes, of course (please leave us ratings and reviews to increase the visibility of the podcast!), and you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, where you can suggest future episodes and also ask us questions!
Grim Prairie Tales was directed by Wayne Coe and stars James Earl Jones, Brad Dourif and William Atherton.
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Once again, October means that we’re talking about Horror and Horror-Adjacent movies on Westerns With Dad, and this time, it’s Clint Eastwood’s 1973 allegory about Divine Justice, High Plains Drifter! Taking the form of a more traditional yarn – a town, threatened by villains, hires a gunslinger to defend them – this film slowly reveals itself to be far more diabolic than it initially seems. Topics of conversation include John Wayne’s habit of letting you know when he’s been offended, old Tales From the Crypt comics, the ugly sexual politics of the film’s infamous rape as retribution sequence, Eastwood’s narrow window of screen persona, the evocative excellence of the film’s location shooting, the unseen moral laws of the universe, and their enforcement by Divine Grace, and a wide variety of theories regarding the movie’s relationship with the supernatural world. You’ll get some Clint impersonations, sure, but there’s quite a bit of talk about Hell and God and the Vengeance. In short, one of my favorite kind of episodes. There’s also some construction work happening in the background, which has been a constant of life in my apartment for about a week and a half now! I’m sorry about that!
Near the end, we spend a little bit of time discussing Barry Lyndon and The Dead Zone. Please visit us online at westernswithdad.com, where you can download episodes that have moved off the iTunes feed, and if you’d like to email us with ideas for movies or any questions or insights, you can do so at email@example.com. Additionally, why not leave us ratings and reviews on the aforementioned iTunes? It improves the profile of the show and makes us happy!
On the next scary Halloween episode of Westerns With Dad, we’ll be talking about either the Kathryn Bigelow Southern-Fried vampire flick Near Dark, or the completely unknown collection of Western-themed Horror stories, Grimm Prairie Tales! If you’ve got a preference, let us know! Although it will probably come down to availability.
High Plain Drifter stars Clint Eastwood and was directed by Clint Eastwood.
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