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Archive for the ‘Obscure Westerns’ Category

by Jaime Grijalba.

Do any of you know who or what Red Ryder is? From what I gather he is some kind of hero of the 40’s, linked exclusively to the western genre through a multiple amount of platforms in which he was the hero and had adventures. It begun as a comic strip that started in 1938, and later was adapted for radio with radio plays and other programs of that kind. In 1940 the first Red Ryder “film” was released, it was a 12 episode movie serial produced by Republic, and since 1944 there were more than 35 films with the Red Ryder character having different movies, at times even having six films released a year between 1944 and 1947. The movies are usually around the hour mark, most of them don’t even surpass the 60-minute mark, something akin to what you could nowadays call a TV-series, except filmed and made even cheaper and released onto theaters, and with no actual follow up between the episodes, this is much more akin to what a ‘modular’ TV series is, something like CSI or any other procedural, where the link between the episodes is minimal, and just a few characters are repeated from time to time. But, in the end, what most people recognice Red Ryder nowadays is thanks to the Christmas classic ‘A Christmas Story’ (1983), where the protagonist wanted a “Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle BB gun with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time”… of course Red Ryder surpassed the media entertainment and managed to have guns named after him, what a strange franchise it is.

Well, after all that, let me say that I’m so sorry that I missed the last two weeks, it was really hard to make these posts, find the time, specially due to personal issues. The Western Countdown is almost over and this feature, then, doesn’t have much time left. So, dare I ask? Do you want this to continue in any way? Maybe one week, two weeks? Or you just had your western fill for this year? Please, go ahead, go crazy in the comments, please. It helps. As always, this feature has its own rating, self explanatory in the image below, with the noose being the lowest ranking (for those movies that are so obscure that if they dissapeared, it wouldn’t matter, because they were pure trash) and the man with no name being the highest ranking for those rare diamonds in the rough that I hope I can find one of these days.

WesternIcons (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

How’s everyone doing? Are you liking the Western Countdown? Are you liking the Obscure Westerns? Please, tell me in the comments if this is a worthwhile endeavour that I put myself through every week. Feedback is good guys, don’t be ashamed of putting a comment down below if you are willing to do so. So, we’re approaching the last 20 films of the countdown, and that means that we only have 4 more obscure westerns to look at. So, today we dwelve once again in the crazy world of spaghetti western, and made in a year when the best italian western that I’ve seen was made, of course I’m talking about ‘C’est una volta il west’ (1968), but that’s besides the point. Today we are dwelving once again in the western revenge film, similar to the one discussed last week, but obviously it immediatly seems like the quality is absolutely different, just by seeing the top picture used, and while it isn’t exactly promising, I assure you, at least it’s loads and loads better than that Al Adamson film that we talked about the last time. As we are used to, we have a personal and exclusive review key for this series, where every movie has one of four possible ratings. This is the image, thanks to Bob Clark for the design and editing,

WesternIcons (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

Who wants to see some boobs? Some really average, grainy, unfocused, overexposed, distant boobs? Who doesn’t, am I right? I mean, really, there’s no other conscious reason as to why would someone subject to this movie in any way shape or form nowadays, except if you’re doing a feature on obscure westerns and you find one that it’s so obscure that it doesn’t even have a page in the Letterboxd movie site. So, what I’m going to talk about in this installment of your favorite western series going on right now (not) so you could get ahold of the strange yet at the same time offensive and tame elements that are inside of the frames of this picture, well I could make some comparisons and show you some scenes and tell you why I think that, but I’m really drawing a blank here, we’re talking about a film directed by the infamous director Al Adamson, famous for its schlock pictures, as well for the bad quality of practically every film that he ever made, remember that he was the one responsible behind such films as ‘Horror of the Blood Monsters’ (1970) and another film of him that I had the (dis)pleasure to watch a couple of years ago called ‘Dracula vs Frankenstein’ (1971) and you think to yourself, how could he possibly fuck that up? Well, he did, as he did with the concept of this film.

As it’s a custom already, I remind you that we’re rating these obscure westerns with our own method of western-y things, four possible scores that are pretty self-explanatory in the diagram that I’ll put right now (thanks as always to Bob Clark for the design of this):

WesternIcons (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

What is important in a western? I don’t know. I’m not an expert on the subject, as clearly my written entry for this year’s western countdown has prooven, it’s been fruitless to actually come up with something similar of an expertise towards the genre when one has seen so little of the biggest works of one of the main genres of cinema, so why I’m doing these strange and weird entries on obscure westerns from all over the world? Well, I want to get some expertise from the other end, I think that maybe if I watch the westerns that everyone else forgot that existed, maybe I’ll end up with some knowledge, that is just a wild assumption, because I’d think that mainly these westerns would be forgotten because they were either really really bad (the noose rating) or were just forgettable (the town drunk rating), and hence due to that forgettable aspect of them, learn some of the tropes and styles that comes within the expertise of seeing a bunch of westerns, maybe I’m overcomplicating my process, my own mind, or even I’m just explaining something that really doesn’t need explaining. But then, it has come to my attention that some of this forgotten westerns are actually pretty interesting and even good, that was the case with last week’s example of forgotten western, and it’s also the case with this one, which I do recommend if it’s available to you, but it isn’t strictly essential, it just have some incredible themes, beeps and bops here and there that make it wonderful.

Before going straight to the review, I should remind everyone about something completely different. At my blog, which you can access by clicking on my name, you can read the past and the next few reviews of the last days of what I called the Overlook’s October Madness, a review of a horror movie a day, and in these next days I’ll really turn up some strange examples of the horror genre, something I’m a little bit more familiar than with westerns. So, I extend the invitation to every Wonders in the Dark reader to check it out if you’re interested and drop a comment if you liked what you saw (highly unlikely, but what do I have to lose here?). (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

Hiya fellas! I’m so so deeply sorry to all of you because I’ve failed you in so many forms that I can’t even count them. First of all, I’m sorry because I wasn’t able of having a review ready for this small series last week, I promised you a new obscure western every thursday, and I wasn’t able of watching and reviewing said western last week. Also, last week was also the announcement of the Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, which was awarded to canadian short story writer Alice Munro, someone I wasn’t familiar with, but whose reputation I had actually heard about. I used to do some investigative reports on the writers who won the prize, and actually managed to do a bunch of posts on a lot of books written by Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, but was stopped many times because I lost the books or took a long time to finish them. But this time I’m keen on doing something about Alice Munro, but I started badly, take this as an apology and also an announcement that maybe some day I’ll restart the Nobel series with the chronological review of the works of the winners (either be Llosa, Tranströmer, Yan or Munro, two of these unavailable due to untranslated first works). But in the meantime I have these westerns to review, this one this week is an italian spaghetti western from the late 60’s on the heydey of the genre, when Sergio Leone was making his best work and everyone was just crazy for this stuff. As you might remember, or not, from last time, I have a ranking system for this films, which you can revise after the jump, as well as start reading the review of this particular and relatively unknown western. (more…)

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by Jaime Grijalba.

Hiya people, I’m back! And this time I’ve got a treat for you. Since we are in the western mood due to the incredible Western Countdown here in Wonders in the Dark, I thought that maybe I could make something out of it. When I first knew about what was going to be next in the most famous countdowns in the world of the internet movie blogs, I said that maybe I wanted to actually participate, by watching a lot of westerns and then chime in with a list of my own. I finally had the excuse and the chance to watch a lot of westerns, a genre that I could say that I’m not a fan of because I’ve seen very little of it, and that very little, while some great, some meh, wasn’t still representative enough to give a list to the members who were running this countdown. But, time and work came, and I was unable to fit westerns in my film schedule. I still wanted to participate, but I had only strong reasons to write about one particular movie that made it to the countdown (it’s my favorite western of all time, even if it’s definition as a western is… shifty to say the least). But I still wanted to do something, so I came up with doing this small series, that will run every thursday for as long as the western countdown runs, where I’ll talk about some obscure westerns that I’ll be seeing.

Every one of the films will be placed in 4 different categories based on how they rate in this obscure western world that I’m dwelling into, from worst to best, the categories are as follows: (more…)

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