10 Best Horror Westerns

Wendigos! Subterranean monsters! Cowboys vs zombies! Haunted Plantations!

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RLJ Entertainment

When it comes to genre mash-ups, sometimes the strangest combinations make for the most appealing cinematic fare.

After all, slapstick comedies and martial arts movies don't sound like the most obvious bedfellows. But the likes of Stephen Chow and Jackie Chan have built entire careers from fusing the two unexpectedly harmonious styles.

Meanwhile equally incongruous genres like film noir and sci-fi have given viewers unexpected classics like Blade Runner, Dark City, and... Well, and the entire genre of cyberpunk, really.

On this note, it's heard to imagine that Westerns and horrors go together well. After all, cowboys had imminent death by gunfight, highwayman hold ups, and getting lost on the arid frontier to worry about. Vampires, ghosts, and undead ghouls were hardly top of the list when it came to their fears.

And yet...

Much like WhatCulture's recent run down of the best wilderness horrors, the milieu of Westerns is a surprisingly solid fit for the horror films. After all, the genre is set in a lawless world filled with vast empty expanses where anything may lurk in the shadows...

With that in mind, this list is here to bring you the best examples of cross genre hybrids which fuse slashers, zombies, and the undead with a wild west setting.

10. Near Dark

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De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Point Break director Kathryn Bigelow has bounced between various genres throughout her accomplished career, with high tension and intense action sequences cropping up no matter where her lens is pointed.

The last few decades have seen Bigelow shoot a classic cop thriller, a pair of undeniably tense and effective pieces of war film propaganda, and some brutal dystopian sci-fi in the form of the underrated Strange Days. But her oddest genre mash up comes in the form of 1987's Near Dark.

A fusion of contemporary Western and vampire horror, this underrated tale sees a family of outlaw vampire drifters accept a young man into their fold when he falls for their young and follows their bloody, lawless path across America. Gruesome but poignant, the film is far from the Twilight style romance it sounds like.

Instead, Near Dark is a classic Western wherein the loveable outlaws just happen to be contemporary bloodsuckers living off the blood of unfortunate victims.

This intense vampire horror makes for a fine slice of neo-Western filmmaking, with the genres coming together in a marriage that seems inevitable by the film's violent, harrowing denouement.


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