Thursday 1 November 2012



We'd probably have seen this bizarre mix of spaghetti western, gory zombie movie and surrealist art movie some years ago if star Wesley Trent Snipes hadn't been jailed for tax fraud in 2010, the fool. In the end, after an eternity in limbo it's finally here and while it's certainly not brilliant - narratively it's all over the place and some of the CGI effects work is Asylum-level patchy - it's a reasonably enjoyable fusion of genres. Horror westerns have been done before but rarely: there's From Dusk Till Dawn 3, an old Charles Band production called Ghost Town, a generally dismal cheapie called 7 Mummies that's really not worth bothering with, and the second of Uwe Boll's Bloodrayne saga is set in the Old West. (You could probably add Billy The Kid Vs Dracula as well.) Throw in the flavour of the trippy art movie and it could as easily be a strange and unique brew as a complete mess. Comparisons have been made with Alejandro Jodorowsky and El Topo, and from what I can remember about that mad-as-a-spanner motion picture it's a valid reference point.

To be honest, "complete mess" is closer to the end result than "strange and unique brew". Gallowwalkers (it looks wrong spelled like that, but it's all one word on screen even though there is apparently artwork out there with the title Gallow Walkers) has Snipes as Aman, a good man whose victims always come back to life as zombies. He's already killed the gang of despicable scum who'd gangraped his beloved, but they're still after him, not entirely for vengeance but to find out why one of their number, the leader's son, has remained a corpse and has not been reanimated.

Plot may be secondary to the mood of the film, but I really like that mood and the film I kept thinking of was Richard Stanley's Dust Devil (which is desperately in need of a rewatch). With the beautiful Namibian desert vistas (if Spain or Iver Heath can stand in for the Old West, why not Southern Africa?) and twangy guitars on the soundtrack, it's an odd but perfectly palatable mix. Certainly the plot could have done with sorting out slightly (nothing seems to take place in chronological order) and some of the computerised headripping effects are below par, but it is staggeringly gorgeous to look at and I rather liked it despite everything that doesn't really work. Worth a visit, for all its flaws.


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