Saturday, December 25, 2010
The Holiday times are here and New Years is right around the corner! There are no more shopping days left until Christmas, but that doesn't mean its too late to find some great books to cozy up to during these long cold winter nights! Here are a few last minute items I wanted to mention that will take you through the holiday season and into the New Year!
For pure Weird Western awesomeness and a stellar reference guide to the genre, pick up Paul Green's Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns: Supernatural and Science Fiction Elements in Novels, Pulps, Comics, Films, Television and Games which you can pick up HERE. Its a way more comprehensive read than the Weird West Emporium and has things Ill probably never get too. Also Paul has a great companion WEBSITE that picks up where the book leaves off.
Next up is Ed Erdelac's Merkabah Rider books, which can be gotten HERE and HERE in hard copy and eBook.
The story is:
The last of an ancient order of Jewish mystics capable of extraplanar travel, The Merkabah Rider roams the demon haunted American West of 1879 in search of the renegade teacher who betrayed his enclave. But as the trail grows fresher, shadows gather, and The Hour Of The Incursion draws near... Four novella episodes in one book.
A friend of mine has devoured both books and says they are spectacular; a definite must read!
Also, Ed has a great Website called Delirium Tremens where he explains the inspirations to his stories, a great trip report for the 2010 Steamcon convention (Which I failed to do a report on, oops), and many other things. You can read it HERE.
Also, check out this cool trailer that was made for the Merkabah Rider series!
The final book is the Buntline Special: A Weird West Tale by Mike Resnick. Its a different take on Wyatt Earp, Tombstone, and the gunfight at the OK Corral. I haven't had a chance to pick it up yet, but its getting a good reviews and could be just the thing to heat up those cold winter nights! You can get THIS at Amazon too!
And that about does it for me. As The Weird West Emporium moves into its second year I wanted thank everyone for their support and readship! Ive never actually taken on anything as large as this before and its really inspiring to know that people are not only liking my site but loving the Weird West in general. I love that there is an audience for it! Hopefully next year will get even bigger with the release of Cowboys and Aliens, (and maybe other stuff that hasn't been announced yet? The Lone Ranger perhaps?) Plus there will be a ton more stuff to talk about here at the Emporium. These past two years have barely scratched the surface of whats out there. (Actually it will be two years in April, so I shouldn't celebrate just yet!)
Also, I'm considering a (sort of) secret project that everyone will be able to participate on when its up and running, but more on that later.
I'm going to take a couple weeks off and the Emporium will be closed until January 10th, so until then I hope you guys have a safe and fun Holiday season! I hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Zombies and the Old West seem to be the current trend lately. The Western is becoming something of a go-to genre to plop the undead into. Don't get me wrong, I love a good Zombie Western as much as the next guy (Undead Nightmare and others), but as I scour the aethernet for fresh material for the Emporium it seems like the most common "Weirdness" I come across is...Zombies. Joe Casual-Weird-West-Fan might not realize it with all of the flesh eaters popping up lately, but the Weird West is so much more than just Zombies (Thank goodness for Cowboys and Aliens!) Over the next few months Ill be doing posts about the glut of Zombies in the Old West as I come across more and more of those little fellers.
(Actually as a side note, some reviews of Undead Nightmare actually thought the idea of Zombies in the Old West was a really weird idea, and some even mocked it. It got to the point where Rockstar Games had too defend their position with examples of the Weird West in popular media. Kids nowdays.)
With all of that said, however, there are actually some very interesting Zombie Westerns I want to report on soon, such as a new film I JUST heard about last night called Revelation Trail, which Ill talk about in a few weeks.
...but until then...
Mark Rahner, Robert Horton, and Dan Dougherty have come out with a post civil war Weird Western comic called Rotten published through Moonstone comics. The artwork looks really nice, and I'm interested in getting my hands on the first trade paperback to see how the story reads.
The story synopsis sounds pretty interesting: Meet William Wade, Civil War vet, reluctant secret agent answering to President Rutherford B. Hayes, and zombie-hunter! In Reactivated, Agent Wade begins his mission with partner J.J. Flynn in a mining town locked down in a labor dispute and a siege of the undead. Plus, the two agents go undercover in an isolated, snowbound, debauched Army fort under slow attack by the undead - uncovering a Donner-like party and the fact that the wretched things are arising in different species everywhere. Collecting the first six issues of Moonstone's acclaimed zombie-Western epic with an edgy topical bite.
They put together a trailer for the book that looks, brutal and scary and really really good, so I cant wait to check the book out:
Rotten even has its own WEBSITE that has samples of the artwork and other stuff for the curious to check out. You should also keep an eye out at the Amazon Page for when the trade paperback is finally released.
This news is a little old, but I wanted to post about it anyway because I have a feeling it's going to be big. Deadline.com is reporting that former CSI executive producer/co-showrunner Naren Shankar and Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Ron Moore are planning on rebooting the Wild Wild West for CBS. This is very good news, if you have seen Moore's new version of Battlestar Galactica you know that he can reinvision a property in a very new and interesting way! I hope he brings this much love to The Wild Wild West.
Long time readers of the Emporium know that I have a love/hate relationship with the film version of Wild Wild West. It should have been an amazing film. It had the chance to not only redefine Western Steampunk, but to be the pioneering film for new generation of Weird Western films. In many ways its gorgeous look at and the amazing machines might have saved it from being totally forgotten. The humor, for the most part, fell flat on its face and making the main villain, Arliss Loveless, a racist just made him incredibly uninteresting. He had plenty of motivation for destroying the United States without being a cartoon stereotype also...but one thing the film did do right is lay the groundwork for what a great Wild Wild West TV show could look like!
I hope Moore and Shankar take their cue from the film in terms of design and fantastic Steampunk machines, and put the humor and story into the capable hands of good writers.
Until then however, HERE is the original story at Deadline.com. I will be following it very closely, so expect to hear more when I do!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I had known about Gore Verbinski's Rango a few months ago. There was a teaser trailer with the main character running around the desert in a Hawaiian print shirt. With Johnny Depp doing the voice, and the way the first poster was designed, it looked a little like an animated version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with funny animals (which, now that I think about it, would have been pretty darn cool).
A bigger trailer was released today that showed more of the film, and now it looks like something else, an all out Weird Western; or at least a standard western with animated animals. With a name like "Rango" I should have suspected. Regardless, its a gorgeous looking film and I felt it was worth showcasing here. It really seems too get the Western look right.
...but, is it "Weird"? Now you can decide that for yourself! Rango opens March 4th.
Monday, December 13, 2010
It was a big night at the Spike TV Video Game Awards on Saturday for Red Dead Redemption. It picked up 4 of the 9 categories it was nominated for, including Best Score (which I can personally say is great), Best Song (Far Away by José González), Game of the Year, and Undead Nightmare took home the award for Best DLC. It was a great night for Westerns (and Weird Westerns!) .....at least on the Video Game front.
The Official Synopsis:
When former outlaw John Marston wakes up at his farmhouse, he finds a world gone insane: overnight, deranged hordes have overrun the towns and outposts of the American frontier. In a desperate attempt to save his family, Marston must traverse a world torn apart by chaos and disorder, using every skill he has to survive long enough to find a cure.
For anyone who hasn't picked up Undead Nightmare, (and isn't as interested in the main Red Dead Redemption game) now is your chance to see what all the fuss is about. Rockstar has released Undead Nightmare as a stand-alone disc. It has the entire world created for Red Dead except mutated into a Zombie Apocalypse of Undead Nightmare, and you dont need the first game to play it. From personal experience I can say that Undead Nightmare is a GREAT game. It works best as a final chapter to the main game. Characters and situations play carry over from Red Dead and the humor of the game comes from your familiarity with the things you've seen before. Its also the reason the game works on a horror level. Seeing the towns and landscapes that you've become familiar with in the first game, so strangely different, firmly puts you into the shoes of John Marston as he deals with what has happened his home.
However if that stuff doesn't matter, Undead Nightmare is a great Zombie Western all on its own. It has plenty of scares and laughs (and frequent frustrations) to make it a fun experience for first time players. It might even pique the interest of some to pick up the original, a wise investment in my humble opinion.
The music in Red Dead is great, and the music in Undead Nightmare is equally great, yet different. In some of the quieter scenes the soundtrack is full of bass harmonicas and strange alien chirping....almost as if the landscape itself were making the noises. There is even a track of music that reminds me of the creepy whistling from High Plains Drifter, very appropriate. Other times, especially during fight scenes and in action areas, the soundtrack breaks into some groovy 70s rock tracks that fit the scene perfectly. Its as if you are watching a cool 1970s Italian Zombie Western.
They just released the Soundtrack to Undead on iTunes, and its great. You can pick it up there or you go HERE and listen for yourself. Make sure to check out the the stand out track Bad VooDoo by Kreeps, which I posted below, you won't be disappointed! The game and soundtrack don't take them selves too seriously, but even so the scares come honestly.
My final analysis on Undead Nightmare is if you are looking for a great Zombie Western video game, and dont care about not being familiar with elements of the previous game, you can't beat it. When I first started playing it I loved it more than the original game, however by the end I found I loved it only just as much. There are some tough parts that I wouldn't want to do again (cleaning out the graveyards becomes increasingly difficult as the waves of Zombies become nearly endless by the final round). Also it is nice to go back to the original game sometimes, after awhile it gets a little tiring constantly having to look over your shoulder for a surprise Zombie attack (but honestly, I probably wouldn't change a thing). For the price this is an absolutely fantastic game. Music, graphics, gameplay all carry over flawlessly from the first game. The story is good, and spending more time with John Marston is always a plus.
If you have a game console and you haven't picked this or Red Dead up yet, shame on you...but now is your chance to make amends. And if you are a fan westerns and Weird Westerns, Double shame! Well worth the price and very, very fun. Plus, sometimes its just so satisfying to go out onto the plains, riding around on your horse and shootin' zombies!
I give it 4 out of 5 Bloody Spurs
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
It was fortunate that they released the new international poster for Cowboys and Aliens today. I was planning on posting a trailer commentary that Jon Favreau did and now I can kill two birds with one stone!
I love the new poster, I think I actually like it more than the first one. It feels like its in the vein of the original except that the "Cowboy" is clearly Daniel Craig now. I'm also liking it's style with the silhouetted figure rimmed with light, I hope all of the characters get posters like this!
If you click the image above you can see a bigger version!
Also, a couple weeks ago, MTV sat down Jon Favreau and had him do commentary on the trailer. There is some interesting stuff here as he talks about the film and some of his thoughts on certain decision he's made.
On another level, its interesting that MTV is doing this. As far as I know they haven't had other directors commentate on their trailers....Is it possible? A hotly anticipated Weird Western? I dont think there's any doubt about that, the trailer has surely caused a splash.
Personally I think this film is going to be huge, and will quite possibly reinvigorate not only the Western (as I'm certain True Grit might do too) but the Weird Western as well as studios start rushing to get that Cowboys and Aliens money. Lets just hope it does fall into a pit of crappy cheaply made films (we have enough of those already) but only time will tell...Until then enjoy!