Friday, January 29, 2010

Insane Clown Posse.....The Western?

Errrr, I'm not really sure what to think about this....

So I don't listen to the Insane Clown Posse, but I know they have a HUGE underground following. To tell you the truth I thought Big Money Rustlas was a joke when I first saw a trailer, it sort of works as a piece of ridiculous comedy all by itself, but then I looked into it and it seems to be a full fledged feature length movie, in fact its a sequel to a previous ICP film called Big Money Hustlas which came out in 2000.

Honestly, The acting isn't all that bad, and everyone involved has made what amounts to a fairly straight comedic Western.....with the addition of the two main characters wearing scary clown makeup. I'm sure there is also the obligatory pimp, ho, and weed jokes. Although it doesn't really matter...nothing is riding on the success of this film, except maybe the reputations of the ICP themselves.

No doubt piggy backing on the current trend of hip hop artists embracing Western Gunfighters as sort of Year Zero "Gangstas", we now have Big Money Rustlas as ICP get into the act...

Maybe you should just see it for yourself:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

MMORPG Adventure At The Clockwork Symphony!

Ever since I got into Steampunk, one of the things Ive always hoped for was an amazing Steampunk (MMORPG) (or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game)....Something in the vein of a great Steampunk version of World of Warcraft (which itself has some major Steamy themes and designs, but no one would call it an all-out Steampunk game) well, I wanted an All Out Steampunk game, and even better an all out Weird West Steampunk game! Well, it sounds like video game developers The Clank Crew have heard my mental commands. They have been working on just such a game and its called Clockwork Symphony; it seems to encompass the entirety of Steampunk.

This is how they describe the game:

Clockwork Symphony is to be a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (or MMORPG) in a persistent world. Set in San Francisco in the late 1800's, our game world features a rich historical backdrop. With both famous and infamous figures on hand, we plan to put the Player Characters in the same world as adventurers, heroes, physicists, and scientists -before- their discoveries made them famous.

With three very different paths, a player can experience a whole new world on each play through the game. By keeping to the heart of San Francisco, players will find themselves ensnared by the realistic environment, the real-world streets and landmarks, and the entrancing allure of Gaslight Romance. Meanwhile those who choose to hover at the borders of town will find the wild west reaching out for them. Bandits, train robberies, horse-thieves and straightforward gunfights contribute to pulling players into the Weird West. And for those who choose to slip between the two and go far beyond the borders, the wide world awaits dashing heroes and cunning heroines to save it; whether from ancient evils awakened in the dark heart of Africa or guerrilla attacks in Peru. You can't go wrong with Pulp.

Sounds awesome, and incredibly inspired, I just hope it isn't too good to be true. The last announcement they made was in Oct '09...and the "newly opened" site is beginning to feel a little neglected and barren. But if they are able to get this off the ground it should be a really fun experience!

The site itself has a Media page (with 11 pieces of concept artwork), a Download page with some downloadable wallpapers, including that neat-o Steam Stagecoach (Steamcoach? Steamstage??) to the left here. And a Forum that pretty much covers every aspect of the game from release announcements to individual Character classes.

This feels like a very independent operation and I hope they are able to get it up and going...because as we say, there just isn't enough quality Weird West content out there!

Everything you could possibly want to know about Clockwork Symphony can be found HERE Enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Merkabah Rider: Tales of a High Planes Drifter‏!

For your weekend reading pleasure, a new Weird Western book as been brought to my attention. Its called Merkabah Rider: Tales of a High Planes Drifter, from Damnation Books, written by Ed Erdelac, with some pretty sweet cover art by Cinsearae Santiago. Here is a description of the story, in the writers own words:

Set in 1879, it follows the adventures of The Rider, a Hasidic gunslinger, the last of an order of ancient Jewish mystics capable of extra-planar travel, as he tracks down the renegade teacher who betrayed and murdered his enclave. Along the way he encounters a cult of Molech worshipers bent on human sacrifice, a murderous possessed gunman, a powerful ju ju man holding a boom town in his sway, and a bordello full of antediluvian succubi.

I called it a "book" instead of a "novel" because in truth its an anthology of 4 different novellas, each telling a different adventure featuring "The Rider":

Blood Libel: In 1879, the children of the Arizona mining town of Delirium Tremens have begun disappearing. The law has tracked the missing daughter of a local reverend to the neighboring Jewish settlement of Little Jerusalem. Old hatreds are fit to boil over when a mysterious Hasidic gunslinger known as the Rider checks into the local hotel. He soon discovers a rogue element of the population has taken over the settlement and instituted a cult dedicated to the profane worship of the demon king Molech. The Rider sets out to bring it down, with the lives of the innocent Jews and the kidnapped preacher’s daughter in the balance. But as he sheds his physical form to do battle in the spirit world, an irate mob breaks into his hotel room and drags his unconscious body away. The Rider must smash the cult and return to his body in time to avert his own lynching…

The Dust Devils: An impenetrable dust storm blows the Rider into the border town of Polvo Arrido. Its affluence points to a town in the midst of a boom, but where have all the people gone? A ruthless bandit chief and his gang may hold the answer, or else a strange eyed ju ju man whose powers rival the Rider’s own. Then there’s the fact that the storm surrounding the town doesn’t seem to dissipate….

Hell's Hired Gun: When the Rider discovers a massacred Franciscan mission, he turns aside from the trail of his master to track down the perpetrator. He is rescued from a snowstorm outside the remote town of Gadara by an odd old preacher, who spins him a yarn about Medgar Tooms, a cursed gunman who walks the West at the head of a herd of voracious pigs, dragging the broken chains of all those who have tried to bind him. But this is no fantasy. Tooms is coming to Gadara, and only the Rider and the preacher stand in his way…

The Nightjar Women
: The Rider comes to a town without children where nightly, evil is born again and again. In the coils of his most secret dreams, an antediluvian menace calls his true name.

I love anthologies, and this looks like a lot of fun! I actually have a copy....but being the terrible reader that I am, I haven't had a chance to sit down with it just yet; but don't you make the same mistake! Merkabah Rider: Tales of a High Planes Drifter‏ is available in both print form and as a digital download for your Kindle HERE

You should definitely pick this up! We need to support more quality independent Weird West content! A review will be forthcoming.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

American Vampire Issue 2 Artwork

Just a quick update today, here is some just released cover art for Issue 2 of the DC/Vertigo Comics Vampire comics American Vampire. The Book is being written by Scott Snyder and Stephen King, and will be drawn by Rafael Albuquerque. You can see some concepts for the cover and alternate color takes by Mr. Albuquerque HERE

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Daniel Craig to go up against "Aliens"?

Its still a little early to give this report a definite YES, since negotiations are just now taking place, but British Actor Daniel Craig is in early talks to replace Robert Downey, Jr. in Cowboys and Aliens, as reported by

Variety picked up the story and says this about it:

DreamWorks and Jon Favreau are in talks with Daniel Craig to play the lead role in "Cowboys and Aliens" after Robert Downey Jr. ankled the project.

Craig has been offered the role of Zeke Jackson in the pic, based on the 2006 graphic novel about a group of Apache Indians and Western settlers who resolve to patch up their differences when an alien spaceship crash-lands in their city.

Reps for Craig said it was too early to comment on whether the actor would board "Cowboys and Aliens," which Favreau is directing. Project is written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof.

While it is still early days and Craig has not officially accepted the role, the thesp does have a long-standing relationship with DreamWorks, having appeared in "Munich" and "Road to Perdition."

With production on the next James Bond pic up in the air until the fate of beleaguered MGM is decided, Craig may have a open slot in his schedule to shoot "Cowboys and Aliens."

I have to say that, if this happens, Craig would be a really good replacement. He has a great Westerner face and he's a really good actor. He could, hopefully, bring a lot of presence to the role. I honestly didn't know who could replace Downey, Jr. but this could be inspired (if it happens).

I'll keep you informed as more info is released!

Deadwalkers coming to iTunes

I just received this from the Deadwalkers Facebook group:

Calgary, Alberta Canada.
January 8 2010

Dead West Productions Inc. and Cedar Boy Pictures Inc. announces Alberta made short film DEADWALKERS, directed by Spencer Estabrooks, has been acquired for international distribution by SHORTS INTERNATIONAL which plans on distributing the film internationally in a variety of mediums including iTunes.

DEADWALKERS, which was filmed over two weekends outside of Cochrane in 2008, premiered to a sellout crowd at the TORONTO AFTER DARK FILM FESTIVAL in August 2009. Within five months, the short film screened in several international film festivals across the globe including dates in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Greece, India and South Africa. The American premiere was held at SCREAMFEST in Hollywood California.

The film screened in the Edmonton International Film Festival and the Calgary International Film Festival as part of the Best of Alberta portion of the festival.

“We received offers after the premiere in Toronto, but wanted to see what interest the international scene would draw” says producer Greg Jeffs. “Spencer got to see his film on the biggest screen in the UK (Empire, Leicester square). It was a defining moment for him and reaffirmed his reasons to pursue film as a career”. The UK screening drew the interest of Shorts International, the only short film distribution company in the world with an exclusive iTunes license. “It’s a testament to the talent of those involved. Their hard work deserves to be on the world’s stage” say Jeffs.

Very interesting! I'll do a review as soon as I see it. And if you get a chance, hopefully you'll see it as well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Steampunk: Myths and Legends Contest

While wandering across the plains of the internet recently, I came across a website for the CG Society: Society of Digital Artists. Last year (from November 2008 to February 2009) they had a contest for Steampunk Digital artwork called Steampunk: Myths and Legends. If you follow the link to their website all of the contest entries are there, and they are most definitely worth checking out, a LOT of it is really really good with some incredibly interesting themes and ideas.

Now, while most of the entries are straight out traditional Steampunk, a few Weird Western works have slipped in as well, and it will be on two of those that I want to focus.

The first one is a piece called Samuel Colt by Renan Lima. He describes his work as such:

Samuel Colt, the inventor of the Colt Revolver.

In the end of his life, he built his greatest creation. However, it was such a massive weapon that no ordinary man could wield it. So he had to build an artificial arm that was strong enough.

I love the strength of the image, and the detail on the Arm and the Pistol. Also, though an action shot would have been fun, I like that it is more of a simple posed shoot with Samuel Colt and his creations. It really hearkens to classic Western images with the deep shadows across Colts eyes and the open outdoors behind him.....Great Job!

The second image concerns Billy The Kid (who seems to be a theme this week) its called The Kids Last Heist by Bobby Chiu. His artist pages have an almost step by step on how he created the image, which depicts the tail end of Billy the Kids last heist, as he tries to get away on a mechanical steed.

I love the whimsy of the picture, the exaggerated features on Billy (his overly tall hat and somewhat malformed head) to the overall dusty feeling. Also, if you click on the image, you can see some of the details that Chiu put in that aren't as obvious in the smaller version....such as the ashes coming out of his mount's nostrils and the gauge showing that its running a little too hot! I love it!

I'm always on the look out for good Weird West/Steampunk artwork (and will be showcasing some more in future posts (such as the work of Brom) So if anyone knows of good artists out there doing this stuff, a heads up would be much appreciated!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Downey, Jr Drops Out of Cowboys and Aliens...

I have to admit that I'm a little saddened by the news that Robert Downey Jr has dropped out of Cowboys and Aliens. I love him as an actor and he would have been great in this. However, the rumored reason was because a sequel to Sherlock Holmes was fast tracked and it caused a scheduling conflict. I LOVED Sherlock Holmes, so this part of the rumor makes me very happy, and as long as RDJs departure doesn't kill the Cowboys and Aliens movie, I think I can live with him doing Sherlock and leaving this one in the quite capable hands of Jon Favreau. Thankfully, it doesn't seem like the project is dead, they are actively looking for a replacement, have a start date of July, and are even thinking of shooting the film in 3D

You can read all about it HERE

Cowboys and Aliens has a planned Summer 2011 release date. As more info surfaces I'll keep you informed.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bloodrayne 2.....Vampires With Guns

I never understood why people hated Uwe Boll's movies so much. It always seems that whenever a new film of his comes out there is hemming and hawing from the haters. All of the hubbub even came down to Uwe Boll himself saying, online, that he was never going to direct another film again if the public demanded it. They were supposed to sign a petition that he created asking him to retire and if it reached 1,000,000 signatures he would never make another movie again (it didn't); all of this went over my head. Of course I had never seen a Uwe Boll movie, so my opinion was more based on "leave the poor guy alone" than anything fact based. That was until I found out about Bloodrayne 2: Deliverance....the sequel to original Bloodrayne that came out in 2005 and had an all star cast (for the most part)....Bloodrayne 2 is not Bloodrayne.

From Chris Walker on IMDB:

It's a hundred years later, and the dhampir Rayne has arrived in the town of Deliverance, Montana where a group of vampire cowboys have emerged. Led by Billy the Kid, hell-bent on creating is own kingdom, he slaughters townspeople and rounds up children. He spares the life of Chicago Chronicle reported Newton Pyles. Rayne aligns herself with Pat Garret, a member of the long-thought-dead Brimstone society, a dishonest preacher, and a low life named Franson, to stop Billy the Kid and show the world how the West was really won.

Throughout Bolls' very strange audio commentary (which he ends 2/3 into the movie leaving nothing but silence) he mentions that they didn't have much money for the movie and that conditions were pretty terrible during the filming. You can see that the conditions were VERY terrible during filming....but it adds to Western feel of the film, especially a scene inside the church were you can see the preachers breath whenever he looks VERY cold. That part of the film I liked. However a lack of money in your budget is no reason to film your movie like a Sci Fi Channel TV movie.....which pretty early into this I felt like I was watching. Lots of wide shots, and the attempts at making a stylish Spaghetti Western feel falls flat at every turn. Boll, in his commentary, stated that that was the feel they were going for...and you can hear it in the music they chose. But you never get the feeling that you are watching a Vampire Leone film....which is too bad, because that would have been cool.

About halfway into the film, Rayne and Pat Garrett go out looking for a couple men to help them take down Billy and his crew. The problem is, we know nothing about these guys or why they (in particular) are the men for the job..Its sloppy writing, especially when, at the end, the two men have their death scenes and it feels like we are supposed to care....but we don't even know who they are except a crazy preacher and criminal. This feels like a film made by a bunch of friends who really wanted to make a Spaghetti Western but only have a passing knowledge of what that even means, and it was kind of a disappointment, because as readers of this blog know good Weird Western films are very hard to come by.

Someone online had mention the silliness of having Vampires take over a town, but then have them involved in guns fights instead of biting I was watching this, I felt the same way. Why is "Vampire A" firing a gun at that guy? Why not just bite him or attack him? If you'll excuse the pun, it really takes the bite out of the Vampires in this movie, sometimes I forgot they were Vampires....very silly.

Check this one out at your own risk....a definite renter.

1 out of 5 Bloody Spurs.