Splatter Westerns. Need I say more?
The splatter western sub-genre is expanding by leaps and bounds, and Dead Sky Publishing has a stable full of them with more to come.
Other publishers and authors are also jumping on the weird western bandwagon including myself, (shameless plug for HANK FLYNN here) and Joshua Rountree with THE LEGEND OF CHARLIE FISH, and C.S Humble with his title, THE MASSACRE AT YELLOW HILL.
They are fun to read, even more fun to imagine set in the background of the Wild West and well-suited for the horror or bizarro fan or anyone that likes their stories to be a little weirder than the rest. I have two reviews posted below for two of the first Splatter Westerns that Death's Head Press published, (now Dead Sky), HUNGER ON THE CHISHOLM TRAIL by M. Ennenbach and A SAVAGE BREED by Patrick C. Harrison, III.
Hunger on the Chisholm Trail
By M. Ennenbach
This is not your typical horror story! Nor would it qualify as your Grandaddy’s western.
Welcome to the Splatter Western!
I’m talking gore, murder, mayhem, fear and more fun than a bucket of rattlers in an outhouse! This is an excellent tale woven around a small group of cattle drivers and the simple folk of a town in Texas, along the Chisholm Trail. There is intrigue, a bit of romance, a whole lot of action and a horrifying bid for survival. In this tale, a group of cattle drivers run into a bit of bad luck out on the Chisholm Trail. When the weary men stumble across a gory scene not too far from the trail, they can’t begin to fathom what type of beast could have left such a mess of death and decay in its wake.
Tensions ramp up as they settle in for the night and before too long, a brawl breaks out between two cattle hands. Chaos ensues, Wild West style, but something more is waiting up the trail.
Meanwhile, in the little town of Duncan, the people have welcomed a stranger that has made quite a stir with his talk of strange tales and evil among men. The sheriff and the stranger form an unlikely friendship while they wait for the new sheriff and the cattle drivers to make it to town.
The saloon girls and shop owners are excited for the cattle drivers to get there and are looking forward to a few days of new men and fresh money. But something vile and evil has other plans for these simple folks.
Something older than the Wild West, something they’ve never seen before, and it’s hungry!
Step right up and try your luck on the Chisholm Trail! It’s sure to please your twisted senses.
Five out of Five stars for this excellent read.
A Savage Breed
By Patrick Harrison, III
This is my second review of a Splatter Western tale from Death’s Head Press. Author Patrick Harrison, III, brings a full gauntlet of terror, gore and fear into his Wild West tale of settler life gone wrong, deep in the American frontier. This story was fun to read and disturbing at the same time.
The setting is spot on; the language has that genuine Old West feel and there are characters to both love and to hate. This story is full of action, gunfights, barroom brawls and epic showdowns!
The feared Tate Gang is about to be put to death, per the fullest extent of the law, when they pull off a shocking escape that would have made Houdini proud. The three brothers Tate and their two other outlaws make their escape into the mountains with a kidnapped Indian woman in tow.
Meanwhile, grizzled mountain man, James Haggard, comes home to find his wife and child dead in a most gruesome scene. Distraught with rage, he vows revenge on every Indian he can find, unwavering in his assumption of who committed the atrocious acts.
Nearby, a wild young lass by the name of Elizabeth Hughes decides to make her way out into the world. Elizabeth is not your typical frontier girl; with a mouth fouler than an outlaw and an excellent shot to boot, she is cut from a different cloth. As they all travel on their different paths, they soon come to realize that something else lives in these hills. Something terrible hunts at night and there’s fresh meat in its territory.
The tale weaves an intricate narrative around these characters, the Indians that inhabit the land and their stories, and the ultimate showdown in the mountains of Barrier Ridge.
Five out of Five stars for this fantastic tale!