The Scary West

I just spent much of the weekend polishing a horror story set in San Antonio of 1877 at the Alamo. At that point in history, the Alamo had been abandoned by the army and the site lay in near ruins. Over the years, the site has developed a reputation for being haunted—perhaps not surprising given the number of people who died there in 1836. By the time of the story, America was still working its way through the difficulties of Reconstruction. All in all, I think it’s a great setting for a story and I hope to have news about it before too long.

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Westerns and horror have a long history together in film, TV, comics, and books. Back in the nineteenth century, the west was a big, unknown region and it had a reputation as a place where death came easily. A lot of the people who moved west were people who didn’t feel comfortable in mainstream society, so it’s easy to extend that and imagine stories about vampires, werewolves, or evil sorcerers in the wild west.

I’ve had the pleasure of publishing some good, scary western tales in Tales of the Talisman Magazine over the years. One of the most recent just appeared in the most recent issue—”Legend and Shootist” by D.J. Tyrer. The story combines elements of science fiction, horror, and fantasy as a Federal Marshal tracks down an outlaw who can surround people by making copies of himself. On their way to face the outlaw, Legend and Shootist, the marshal must face a pack of werewolves. You can find this issue in Tales of the Talisman, Volume 10, Issue 3.

Another great story I’d like to point out is “Dragon Knight” by Chris Nardone. It’s the story of a rancher and his daughter who must hire a vigilante in order to save their farm. However, this vigilante is not your usual kind of dark hero. He’s a vampire with a moral compass. I long imagined the story’s dragon knights would make interesting allies for the Scarlet Order vampires. You can find this story in Tales of the Talisman, Volume 9, Issue 2.

If you’re in the mood for weird westerns, this issue is a particularly good choice as it also features “53 Bicycles” about a devilish alien who visits an old west town and “Shaft 413” about an unusual engineer who disappears in a mine.

Do you have a favorite weird western story? I’d love to hear about it.

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