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Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday Media Musings: The Strange West

     My thoughts are not primarily on a movie today, but on the book signing I went to Friday night, and the book I bought there. It's called "Straight Outta Tombstone", an anthology put together by David Boop. I am ten stories in and it's a hell of a good read. a goodly number of the authors were there and I actually did them a disservice by singlemindedly seeking it for Jim Butcher's part in the proceedings.

     David Boop was there, Sam Knight, Kevin J. Anderson, David Lee Summers, Sarah Hoyt Naomi Brett Rourke, Peter J Wacks, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, and of course, Jim Butcher.

     I got my picture taken with him:

And my copy of the Aeronaut's Windlass signed

     Now when I think of weird western stories and movies, three come to mind from the fairly substantial collection I have. These are (By order of release date) as follows.

     High Plains Drifter: I always took this one as a kind of a western ghost story- The nameless stranger come back as a revenant to avenge his own death and rest easy- and when it comes to vengeance, his kind is not particular...

     I've always held that he vanishes once he rides out of town.

     Pale Rider: For me, this is the other side of High Plains Drifters tale of vengeance and betrayal- if the stranger in HPD came back from hell, the Preacher in pale Rider seems to have come from heaven. he seems almost supernaturally aware of what is happening, and shows evidence of being either incredibly badly wounded, or perhaps murdered in a ring of bullet scars on his back

You can even picture both as the same character, at different times in his unquiet afterlife and with different prerogatives

     But you can't talk weird west without talking about Cowboys and Aliens...or at least I can't. Daniel Craig  as an outlaw with a past and no memory of it, with a mysterious weapon locked onto his arm. A posse hunting monsters who took the townsfolk, and spacefaring prospectors here to rid the earth of it's pesky gold, as well as torture us, kill us and eventually devour us. This one calls up all the tropes for a western, as well as a sci-fi movie.

I watch this one at least once a year.

     Now as I consider it, I want to throw one more in here- the most recent Lone Ranger movie. Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp as a very mismatched Lone Ranger and Tonto, fighting against the earth out of balance and WENDIGO. This is one of those movies in the category of "Mr Smith loved this one but the critics hated it." There are a lot of those...


Tonto is the narrator of this tale, and he may be an unreliable and slightly demented one as he tells the story, from a very aged Tonto to a young boy who shows up in a mask to the carnival where he is.

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