Virgil, a wimpy young man, lives with his father, a rough and nasty cowboy in a saloon. His father's friends, Eddie and Jack, both love to torment little Virgil for not being a real cowboy and more like his father. Though Virgil will show them who's a man when the saloon becomes overrun with the undead.
Considering the popularity and cult status of Peter Jackson's "Meet The Feebles" I'm kind of surprise that more people haven't attempted to make crazy, puppet based movies. So it was a pleasant surprise to come across "ZombieWestern: It Came From The West", a Danish produced puppet zombie epic. Puppet zombies. How badass does that sound already?
Looking at the story, it's a simple and an enjoyable one. I liked it simply because it was not cluttered with plot twists, attempts at including subtext, and in general all this other bullshit that filmmakers have decided they need to include in their movies. The story is straight forward, Native Americans are terrorized by a man called The Butcher, who slaughters their people with a steam-powered chainsaw. In retaliation, two of the Native Americans, summon a curse that brings the dead back to life. The movie gets from point A to B, without stepping on its own toes, creating plot holes, inconsistencies or relying on convenience to get the job done. Of course the movie doesn't take itself too seriously, it is a puppet-zombie flick after all, so there is humor included which is also spot on. It doesn't use gag jokes to provide the humor, but rather in the style of "Evil Dead 2" or "Braindead" and allows the humor to blend in with what is happening on screen. Such as a final show down between two of the main characters, the bartender pulls out a record, and starts playing it to coincide with the scene. Not even looking at the key points of interest of the movie, it is a solid effort from the people behind the camera.
Which only leaves the meat of the movie, the puppets and the zombie action. The puppets, and in general, the look of the movie is fantastic. The amount of detail that is in the face of the puppets is astonishing, each character have their own unique appearance. Such as Virgil, the "weak-pisser" of the movie, looks like an innocent kid who doesn't believe in the ignorant and gruff ways of the cowboy like his father does. Not only do the characters have a great look given to them, but the sets as well. Both interior and exterior are given great detail, much like the puppets themselves. All while having an old cartoon look and feel to them, such has having exaggerated angles and heights.
Then there are the zombies. Oh yeah. While it is a short film and the zombies aren't on the screen for to long, you can't helped but get hooked when they show up. Their look mixes in a blend of both the classical zombie of appearing normal but still just a hint of the undead in them. While others have the look of decay about them, or the famous "Return of the Living Dead" look of having no flesh on the skull but the eyeballs are still there.
"Who cares about the look! What about the blood and the action?!"
Don't worry about it. As I said, when the zombies show up you will become hooked, as it turns into an all out war between cowboys and zombies. Plenty of blood shed from zombies getting shot up and blown up. That's right. This badass puppet movie has explosions in it. Though none of it compares to when Virgil joins the party with the chainsaw, which also happens to have a gun attachment to it, that launches dynamite. That's right, there are even more explosions! The only down side to the zombie battle sequence is that you'll want this short feature to suddenly become a feature length, just so you can continue to watch the mayhem. I know I did.
In all honesty, "ZombieWestern: It Came From The West" has been one of the most entertaining and fun short films that I've seen since "Robot Bastard!" and hold out that maybe some day a feature length might be made. Tor Fruergaard and everyone else behind the camera did a phenomenal job of creating what will become a cult hit. Everyone should check this little gem out, even if you might not be to keen on the idea or the premise. The movie is only about 20 minutes , so give it a shot, who knows you might walk away having enjoyed the movie.