Add to GoodReads

Undead in the West

Vampires, Zombies, Mummies, and Ghosts on the Cinematic Frontier

Edited by Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper

In Undead in the West: Vampires, Zombies, Mummies, and Ghosts on the Cinematic Frontier, Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper have assembled a collection of essays that explore the many tropes and themes through which undead Westerns make the genre’s inner plagues and demons visible, and lay siege to a frontier tied to myths of strength, ingenuity, freedom, and independence. The volume is divided into three sections: “Reanimating Classic Western Tropes” examines traditional Western characters, symbolism, and plot devices and how they are given new life in undead Westerns; “The Moral Order Under Siege” explores the ways in which the undead confront classic values and morality tales embodied in Western films; and “And Hell Followed with Him” looks at justice, retribution, and retaliation at the hands of undead angels and avenger.

The subjects explored here run the gamut from such B films as
Curse of the Undead and Billy the Kid vs. Dracula to A-list features like From Dusk ‘til Dawn and Jonah Hex, as well as animated films (Rango) and television programs (The Walking Dead and Supernatural). Other films discussed include Sam Raimi’s Bubba Ho-Tep, John Carpenter’s Vampires, George Romero’s Land of the Dead, and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West. Featuring several illustrations and a filmography, Undead in the West will appeal to film scholars, especially those interested in hybrid genres, as well as fans of the Western and the supernatural in cinema.
« less more »
Scarecrow Press
Pages: 344Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/4
978-0-8108-8544-8 • Hardback • August 2012 • $76.00 • (£49.95)
978-0-8108-8545-5 • eBook • August 2012 • $74.99 • (£49.95)
Cynthia J. Miller is the Film Review Editor of Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies, and she serves as President of the Literature/Film Association, as well as editorial advisory board member for The Encyclopedia of Women and Popular Culture. She is the editor of Too Bold for the Box Office: The Mockumentary from Big Screen to Small (Scarecrow, 2012).

A. Bowdoin Van Riper is a historian who specializes in depictions of science and technology in popular culture. His publications include Rockets and Missiles: The Life Story of a Technology (2007) and A Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists and Inventors in American Film and Television (Scarecrow, 2011).

Van Riper and Miller are coeditors of 1950’s "Rocketman” TV Series and Their Fans: Cadets, Rangers, and Junior Space Men (2012).
Cynthia J. Miller and A. Bowdoin Van Riper

Part I: Reanimating Classic Western Tropes
1. “So This Zombie Walks into a Bar . . .”: The Living, the Undead, and the Western Saloon
Cynthia J. Miller
2. “Hey Sammy, We’re Not in Kansas Anymore”: The Frontier Motif in Supernatural
Michael J. Klein and Kristi L. Shackelford
3. The Whore with the Vampire Heart: Frontier Romanticism in John Carpenter’s Vampires
Lindsay Krishna Coleman
4. Billy the Kid vs. Dracula: The Old World Meets the Old West
Rachel E. Page, Robert G. Weiner, and Cynthia J. Miller
5. The West—Reanimated and Regenerated: Hollywood Horror and Western Iconography in Gore Verbinski’s Rango (2011)
Sue Matheson
6. Frontier Values Meet Big-City Zombies: The Old West in AMC’s The Walking Dead
Shelley S. Rees

Part II: The Moral Order under Siege
7. Savage, Scoundrel, Seducer: The Moral Order under Siege in the From Dusk Till Dawn Trilogy
A. Bowdoin Van Riper
8. Blood on the Border: The Mexican Frontier in Vampires (1998) and Vampires: Los Muertos (2002)
Thomas Prasch
9. Colliding Modalities and Receding Frontier in George Romero’s Land of the Dead
Outi J. Hakola
10. Zombie Nationalism: Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror as Immigration Satire
Christopher Gonzalez
11. Undead and Un-American: The Zombified Other in Weird Western Films
James Hewitson
12. Hungry Lands: Conquest, Cannibalism, and the Wendigo Spirit
Robert A. Saunders

Part III: And Hell Followed with Him
13. The Ghost from the Past: The Undead Avenger in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West
Matthias Stork
14. Moving West and Beyond: Life in the Midst of Death in Purgatory
Hugh H. Davis
15. “You Nasty Thing from Beyond the Dead”: Elvis and JFK versus The Mummy in Bubba Ho-Tep
Hannah Thompson
16. The Subversive Jonah Hex: Jimmy Hayward’s Revision and Reconfiguration of a Genre
Michael C. Reiff
17. Queer Justice: Supernatural Strangers and Different Conceptions of Law and Punishment in Two Horror Westerns
Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns

A Selected Filmography
About the Contributors
About the Editors
No other such treatment of the topic [undead Western] exists. . . .The contributions provide valuable insights and arguments into the cultural value of this hybrid film genre. . . .The group of essays will interest scholars of horror and Westerns alike. As the strict protocols of genre fiction become less defined and more fluid among juxtaposed subgenres, collections such as this one from Miller and Van Riper will become more valuable to teachers and students of film and cultural studies. This collection is particularly valuable in its redefining of the revisionist Western, its attention to lesser known horror works, and its . . . subtle explorations of adapted narratives and text clusters.
Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts