Saturday, October 31, 2009

...beware the ghost of Jedediah Smith

If you happen to live in or near the Irvine area, there is a Weird West Haunted House Maze that you should know about. Boot Hill is celebrating it's tenth year scarin' folks and from the looks of things they are ready for ten times ten more!

The official word is this:

BOOT HILL rises from the fog for it's 10th year to inhabit the residence at 16 Goldenrod. The unearthly spirits from the old west town of Bridgewood will materialize for SEVEN haunting nights, transforming the residence at 16 Goldenrod into the old church and cemetery that once occupied the land.

Come if you dare...but beware the ghost of Jedediah Smith, he has been known to roam through the decaying grounds of Boot Hill.

If you are planning on going, Halloween is their last night (which is tonight), so get there early to avoid the crowds. Admission is completely free, but they do take donations for the Children's Hospital of Orange County.

Also, you can check out their website which has pictures, dates, Directions, and the back story for the Haunt and the Legend of Jedediah Smith! If anyone goes, let me know how it was!

I hope ya'all have a fun and safe All Hallows Eve!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dead or Alive in the Undead West...

While browsing the internet for upcoming articles, I came across this fantastic Illustration by Ray Lederer. Its a bunch of Zombies attacking a Stage Coach! Cool! (You can click on the picture and see it in all of its magnificent detail) But there is so much more to it than that.

It turns out this is the cover of a Zombie Western novella called Dead or Alive by William Harms. Searching it out, I quite unexpectedly found it in PDF Format at the Midnight Mortuary site. Midnight Mortuary is a pretty great site all by itself, seemly "dead"icated to Horror Pinup art, but in the "Cemetery" section you can actually download a PDF copy of Dead or Alive totally free for your weekend reading pleasure and you can keep it forever!

Zombie Westerns seems to be pretty popular now days, a couple of my personal favorites being Dead in the West and Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo both written by superstar Weird West author Joe R. Lansdale (who I still haven't gotten around to writing about).

Also, for those who are interested, Ray Lederer posted a time lapsed video of his work on the cover art. Its pretty amazing what it takes to put it all together...working and reworking the drawing to get it just right. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cowboys Battle Bugs!

I found this on Paul Green's Weird West site but it looked fun enough to post again. High Plains Invaders stars James Marsters, (Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Cindy Sampson (Supernatural).

The hanging of honorable Indian-fighter Sam Phoenix in a small western town is cut short by the unexpected invasion of uranium-based insectoid creatures, forcing Sam and a small band of survivors to take refuge in a church. They’ll need more than a prayer and a pistol to survive, as a Wild West landscape is inundated by a killer force of alien pioneers.

I'm usually fairly skeptical about television Sci Fi, especially TV Movies from the Sci Fi Channel having not enjoyed Tin Man as much as I was hoping too. But I have to admit that High Plains Invaders looks like a lot of fun. You can't beat the "small group of people fighting a larger menace" genre (whatever that might be). The CG isn't at all bad on the bugs, and it looks like it was filmed pretty darn well. Also, I'm liking what I'm seeing with the costume and set if only the story is any good this could be an addition to my Weird West movie collection!

I actually wish it WAS premiering next Sunday so I could tell everyone to watch it, but looks like we will have to wait for the DVD.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Weird West FINALLY Comes Into Its Own!

Weird West has always been the rough and tumble cousin to Steampunk, or maybe its Steampunk's distinctly American brother. The two have been around for roughly the same amount of time, if you consider the Frank Reade Dime Novels as one of the earliest examples of American Steampunk....but Steampunk today tends to favor a more European aesthetic with the Pith Helmets and British officers uniforms, the Frankenstein-esque contraptions, leather Military goods; and Tea, lots and lots of Tea......because Coffee just doesn't cut it! The Victorian Age, as we think of it, was really a European and American East Coast convention....although Victorian Aesthetic did, quite successfully, find its way into the dress and designs of the Western United some Westerns tried their best to live within the splendor and elegance of the age among the dust and the heat and the rattlesnakes.

As an extreme fan of all things Steamy I will say that there have been MASTERFUL works of art created by Steampunks on BOTH sides of the "Pond", but the bottom line is, aesthetically, European Steampunk currently rules and the Weird West has partially been left in the dust, as it were...but no longer with the recent publication of Paul Green's Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns.

The product description on Amazon says this: From automatons to zombies, many fantastic elements have been cross-pollinated with the western genre. This A-to-Z encyclopedia of the Weird Western covers film, television, animation, dime novels, pulp fiction, comic books, novels, short stories and video and role-playing games.

Wow! This is number one on my Christmas list this year, What a resource! Of course Im always looking for new Weird West stuff, so this is a very exciting book.

Now I will say this, I did read a product review and I don't agree 100% with some of the things listed in the book. I don't consider Blood Meridian a Weird Western simply because its super duper violent....there are plenty of straight Westerns that have extreme violence. Usually, to me at least, a Weird Western has an element of the fantastic or the supernatural....which I don't believe Blood Meridian has. I also don't agree with the inclusion of the old David Carradine series Kung Fu. The idea of a Shaolin Monks traveling through the American Old West isn't all that strange, especially if he is a Shaolin Monk of the if he was from the future....But don't let this fool you, Mr. Green knows exactly what he is talking about in terms of Weird West, these disagreements might simply be a case of, what my friend Steve calls, opening the Umbrella too wide.

With that said, this book is a resource that any Weird Westerner, or fan of the Genre can not live without!

One more thing, while searching for reviews about this book, I came across Mr Green's Weird West blog site, which is very much in the vein of this one. Like his book, its called the Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns, and is something of a companion/addendum; you should check it out!

Its good too see interest in this Weird West stuff growing!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stephen King to Write Weird West Vampire Comic!

The book is called American Vampire and Newsarama is reporting that King will be involved with the first 5 issue story. The official word, from The DC/Vertigo Blog Graphic Content is this:

Celebrated short story writer Scott Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque will launch a new monthly comic book series from Vertigo in March 2010 with a unique contribution from New York Times bestselling novelist Stephen King. The new ongoing series, AMERICAN VAMPIRE, will introduce readers to a new breed of vampire—a more muscular and vicious species of vampire with distinctly American characteristics. The series’ first story arc, to be told over the course of five issues, will feature two different stories, one written by Snyder, the other by King.

Snyder’s storyline is one of decadence and deception and Jazz Age glamour. Pearl is an ambitious modern woman with starlet dreams. She frequents Hollywood’s speakeasies and dance-halls searching for her first big break, only to find something far more sinister waiting for her.

King’s story provides the origin of the very first American vampire: Skinner Sweet, a bank robbing, murdering cowboy of the 1880s. Skinner is stronger and faster than previous vampires; he has rattlesnake fangs and is powered by…. the sun?

Following the conclusion of the first story arc, Snyder and Albuquerque will trace Skinner’s bloodline through various decades of American history.

I'm already on board! I love the idea of a breed of Vampire that has adapted to the distinct American climate; and starting the line in the Old West is perfect! We've always just had European Vampires, now we have a Vampire breed all our own.....well, for as long as this comic is out anyway.

I suggest you mozie on over to Newsarama for even more in depth details on the book (and some more art work as well) and also check out the Graphic Content blog for links to other sites reporting the story....if ya still haven't gotten enough, that is!

Mark your calenders, the first issue of American Vampire comes out March 2010.

I'll report on this some more when I hear stuff.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Incident at the old Red Hill Mining Co....

Last year, in Tustin California, a bunch of folks got together and uncovered a forgotten (or buried) part of Tustin's past. You see, around 1890, there was a incident at the Old Red Hills Mine. A bunch of miners went crazy and.....well.....a lot of people got fact, they died. So afterward all traces of what happened were erased from the record books and forgotten, from History.

That's the premise for the Red Hill Mining Co. Massacre, a walk through Haunted House that was put together last year down in Tustin. I wish I had heard of it sooner, I could have told everyone who is in the area to go. It sounds like a semi professional haunt....and from what I can gather off the website, it was free AND they gave out free pulled Pork sandwiches, Mmmmm :) Sounded like a spectacular night!

Here is a short video from their website about the history of the Haunt. I loe the soundtrack, 3:10 to Yuma is one of my personal favorites:

Their website is chalk full of History, some pictures, and information about the Haunt.

Also, with the Halloween season in full swing, if anyone knows of any Weird West Haunted Houses going on anywhere in the world, please let me know and Ill post about them this week!

Friday, October 16, 2009

And Now, A Bit of Blatant Self Promotion...!

Its Halloween time again, and for the past two years Ive been involved in a great online art show/advent calender called Gothtober! Basically, 31 artists, film makers, chefs, sound artists, dancers, puppeteers, and whatever you can think of, get together and fill up 31 days of a time released calender. Today is my day, I do sound design and sound editing in my off time and I created a Haunted Weird West Ghost Town to be played in the outside of your house during Halloween!

The download instructions are in the slide show, so its completely easy to set up! But don't just go for me, you should check out everyone's stuff they all worked really hard in creating it.

I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Carcass Pete!

Have you ever been in an Airport or someplace public and seen "that guy" laying, asleep, on his bags? And the airport security has been kind enough to block him off with portable stanchions?

THEN you look closer and you notice that there's something not right about him.....his watch is working, his hair looks real....and he's breathing...or is that just my imagination? I wish I knew the artists name who does those hyper realistic sculptures, but I saw one once in an airport and had that very reaction.

Now imagine taking that idea and making hyper realistic Freaks?! Ultra realistic sculptures of frightening and colorful people and situations? That's exactly what Thomas S. Kuebler has done.

Now this article isn't about Kuebler so much as one of his sculpture, Carcass Pete. Kuebler is great! But he isn't a Weird West artist, per say...But with that said I URGE you to follow the link and check out his stuff...its REALLY beautiful.

Each one of his sculptures comes with a story, and Carcass Pete is no different:

In life, Pete was hanged for a murder he didn’t commit. Being the vengeful soul that he was, his seething hatred for lawmen everywhere kept him bound to his decaying corpse until either his thirst for blood was quenched or he could no longer hold his six-shooter. Mere bullets only made holes in ol’ Pete. His only disadvantage was the smell of death that preceded him, giving the sheriff ample warning to make himself scarce.

Very Cool!