October 22, 2013
Brendan Cowles, Shane Kuhn
Danny Trejo as Guerrero
Mickey Rourke as Blacksmith
Anthony Michael Hall as Red Cavanaugh
Dina Meyer as Calathea Massey
Quality horror westerns are difficult to come by. In recent years we’ve seen a few gems surface; The Burrowers and Exit Humanityleading the pack. Now we’re seeing another endearing film centered in the old west, Dead in Tombstone. This particular installment in this neglected subgenre has something special going for it: horror staple Danny Trejo fronts the picture! Trejo doesn’t necessarily seem an obvious pick to front a picture of this nature, but the man proves his diversity and helps to elevate the production as a whole.
The story focuses on a rogue band of misfits who travel the west doing what they want, when they want. But before the group can continue on in their pillaging ways they’ve got to rescue second in charge, Red Cavanaugh, who’s about to be tangled up in a noose for his criminal ways. Enter Guerrero (Trejo) and his crew. It’s not long before all Hell breaks loose and Red is a freed man. The group hits the trail and Red discloses information of great value: there’s a nearby town where massive amounts of gold is being stored. But when the gang arrives and make their move to claim the gold, Red turns on Guerrero, gunning him down, usurping his place as gang leader. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) Guerrero earns a trip to Hell where he meets Satan, portrayed by none other than Mickey Rourke. Guerrero isn’t happy about being betrayed and he works up a deal to execute the other six members of his former gang who turned their backs on him in exchange for his own soul. Satan finds the proposition intriguing and grants Guerrero 24 hours to execute his former criminal companions. It’s back to earth with murder on his mind for Guerrero.
Dead in Tombstone boasts an impressive cast. Outside of Trejo’s appearance we also see the aforementioned Mickey Rourke in a fairly minimal role, Anthony Michael Hall emerges the true villain of the picture and Dina Meyer steps into the fold as the distressed by rugged femme fatale. All in all it’s a damn fine cast who bring dedication to their roles. The only major problem in regards to the ensemble is that, while they’re all fine performers, there’s nothing in the way of true synergy in the picture. No one seems to truly connect with anyone else, and that leaves each and every individual disconnected from the story. Who do we pull for? Who do we loathe? Do we care, even in the slightest, for any one single supporting character? The entire gang blends into each other, with no identifiable singular traits or tendencies. This crew may as well be the BORG, because it’s near impossible to even identify one villain from the other, outside of Hall’s rendition of Red.
Despite the lack of unity within these characters, there are some impressive elements to take in. Visually the picture is impressive. The cinematography becomes a tad jumbled from time to time, but the grandiose shots look terrific, the settings are convincing and there are some unique camera techniques and strong visual effects put to work. The editing, I should add, is also impressive. All in all, from an aesthetic stance, Dead in Tombstone is a pleasing affair.
A few plot holes hinder the story, but the problems in the script aren’t so paramount as to sink the ship. The errors are overlookable, and when all is said and done the film works on a number of levels. Above and beyond all else, it’s fun. It’s an enjoyable pic with plenty of action and a few noteworthy action stars having a good time in front of the cameras. Is Dead in Tombstone a perfectly assembled film? No it’s not. But what it lacks in refinement it makes up for in balls-to-the-wall action and appealing sights. If you’re a fan of westerns, and you’re a fan of the horror genre,Dead in Tombstone should leave a smile on your face. It’s an excellent beer drinking flick with plenty of violence and a strong showing from fan favorite Danny Trejo. Look into it, it’s worth the time.