Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Buntline Special and Rango reviews!

While I haven't gotten around to reading Mike Resnick's The Buntline Special, one of the Emporium's readers, Penelopecat, has and unfortunately, according to her, It isn't all that good. The basic problems seem to be the lack of tension in the story and the lack of intriguing characters. Also people tend to get out of situations FAR to easily. It sounds like it lacks focus and even that Resnick doesn't exactly know what Western Steampunk is, or he does but doesn't know how to write it well.

Ashe Armstrong may also be reviewing The Buntline Special when he is able so stay tuned for that, but until then here is Penelopecat's Blogger Page Sinister Urge to read her review.

Its too bad you can judge a book by it's cover, because if you could The Buntline Special would be GREAT...but alas....

There has also been some early reviews of the new animated film Rango. I'm still on the fence on whether its a Weird Western, and Ive heard on both sides for and against. Some reviews have stated that the main bad guy, a rattlesnake character named Rattlesnake Jake has a mechanical pistol on his tail in place of a rattle. Also I was informed by "Anonymous" that:

There are a lot of weird things in Rango, and yes, that includes science fiction references (spot the Star Trek one if you can...) and supernatural elements. Can't say no more, but I figure you guys won't be disappointed...

"Anonymous" says that THIS review at Aint it Cool is very accurate to the film. It is from someone who saw an early screening in Phoenix. There is also a fairly spoiler filled review over at if you don't mind that sort of stuff.

Regardless, it looks like its going to be a fun film, and Ill do a review after it comes out. Until then however, check out these quick videos about the recording process Gore Verbinski had the actors go through for Rango. Its actually quite entertaining. I wouldn't mind seeing the live action footage cut together as an extra on the DVD!

Rango opens on March 4th

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Backwater Gospel...WOW!

This film was brought to my attention by one of the Emporium's readers Shonokin, and then later on Facebook by Mr. Gris Grimly. It is called The Backwater Gospel and, my goodness, its REALLY good!

The official synopsis from their website is this:

A drought ridden, dead beat society, isolated in the dust storm plagued parts of 1930's rural America, is paid a visit by the undertaker, an event that always has foretold the immediate coming of death. The Sunday sermon is well on the way, firmly led by the brimstone preaching town minister.

The tramp in the town, the only person not in church, spots the undertaker at a distance and interrupts the sermon to tell the news. A cold draught passes through the church and in desperation the congregation leaves, much to the displeasure of the minister.

At home behind locked doors and barred windows the townsfolk await death, pinned to the floor by fear and anxiety.

But death never comes...

Its true that this film takes place in the 1930's but it is absolutely a Western. From the stark landscapes to the rickety shanty town buildings, the only thing that betrays its time period is the broken down automobile that one of the character uses for shelter. This is Western through and through. and a good one.

The animation style is really strange. It looks somewhat stop motion-like, but more often looks likes CGI. The character's skins are cracked and stained, the preacher's lips are thick and almost look like wood with his deeply lined face. One character even seems to have a wooden nose.

And the story is top notch. As the threat of the Undertaker's arrival looms, the deeply religious town is thrown into the grip of hysteria and things go bad....really REALLY bad.

Their official website states that The Backwater Gospel is the bachelor projects of eight students at The Animation Workshop. It's an animated short about a small, isolated community in the Dust Bowl of the 1930's, a minister hell-bent on ruling his flock and an undertaker who always precedes death.

You can also see a plethera of character designs, animation tests, and concept sketches at their SITE. I wouldn't have guessed that this was a bachelor project, everything from the voice work to the animation and design is incredibly professional.

This film deserves 5 out of 5 Bloody Spurs. Fantastic job all around!

The Backwater Gospel from The Animation Workshop on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I LOVE Mike Mignola. He has an amazing way of making the things in his comics, and cool in a "First time you read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and wanted a Nautilus of your own"-type of cool). When I first read Hellboy I wasn't expecting the dive into mythology, Cryptozoology, and the Occult that the stories took, but was extremely pleased when they did. Amazing Screw-on head is a high point of Steampunk in comics, with equal parts horror, adventure, a little Romance, with a very generous helping of surreal mixed into the pot...everything that makes Steampunk great.

Alas, I haven't read The Witchfinder yet. Not the mini series showcased here, the one that came before it, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels:

Mike Mignola teams up with artist Ben Stenbeck (B.P.R.D.: The Ectoplasmic Man) for a look into one of the Hellboy universe's greatest enigmas: nineteenth-century occult investigator Edward Grey! In one of Grey's first cases as an agent of the queen, he goes from the sparkling echelons of Victorian London to its dark underbelly, facing occult conspiracies, a rampaging monster, and the city's most infamous secret society: the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra.

It sounded cool, but it isn't a Weird Western. However if Mike Mignola had had his hands on it, it was bound to be good. Then I head about the sequel, and my head went through the roof. Edward Grey follows the Heliopic Brotherhood to the Old West!

In the hellish frontiers of the American Wild West, nineteenth--century occult investigator Edward Grey hunts down a fiendish member of the Heliopic Brotherhood of Ra. What he finds is a town harboring bloodthirsty criminals and terrible supernatural horrors!

Wow, that sounds REALLY cool, I'm sold. Mignola doing an Old West occult story with a kick ass British Occult Investigator? Sounds amazing.

Mike Mignola and John Acula did the story, while the great John Severin did the artwork (with Mignola doing the some of the covers) It was released this past Wednesday (February 2nd) and its costs $2.99

Also, CBR: The Comic Book Resource site has posted a 6 page preview which you can see HERE.

As soon as I'm able to get my hands on a copy, Ill give you guys a review!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cool New Cowboys and Aliens Super Bowl Spot!

Now, I'm not much of a Super Bowl/Football/sports watcher, but if anything got me excited for the big game it was the promise of some cool new trailers. Most importantly, (among others) Cowboys and Aliens!

Its basically a 30 sec television spot, with only a few new shots (like Daniel Craig jumping onto the wing of an aliens spacecraft, which reminds me of The Valley of Gwangi for some reason), but it still looks great. If you didn't check out the big game, here is the trailer in all its glory. You can also check out the official Website HERE if you haven't already.