It Came From the West
From the very opening, and I mean at the logo for the Production Company behind this strange film, the humour was apparent. The flying fish icon is shot, falls behind the title, and then re-emerges as a zombified version of its former self.
This, if you didn't know already from some previous postings on the site, is a Zombie film with a...well, quite a few differences really. It's a Western, it's in Danish, and it is created entirely with papier-mâché puppets.
Yes, you heard me right. If any of that puts you off then slap yourself about the face and get a grip, this is one of the funniest short horror films I've seen, and it looks as though there's going to be a feature length version too.
The guys who have made this film love a couple of genres, something that is very clear. There's the Spaghetti Western, which has a great opening homage, and the Zombie film, there's also a great nod to the Evil Dead series and the character of Ash.
So imagine taking these, mixing it in a Danish puppetry film, and you have It Came From the West. Sure it sounds utterly bizarre, but that's most of the fun of it. Believe me when I say you will laugh out loud, and throughout the film too.
This short film garnered the largest round of applause I'd heard so far during Dead by Dawn 2007, and without a shadow of a doubt the largest number of laughs.
The story is simple. Indians are being slaughtered by the Black Butcher, a strange white man who seems unstoppable, so they call on their mystical powers to raise a spirit to protect them. So powerful is the spirit that they head off to the hills to hide in caves until the job is done.
Meanwhile in a little saloon in the middle of nowhere, a young lad is picked on by the cowboys, even by his own father, for being weak and useless. As the first customer of the day ambles strangely towards the saloon, maybe this will be his opportunity to shine.
It has some superb jokes which work really well, and combining the puppets, Danish voices, a western and a zombie film all together does work, surprisingly. Insane as it may seem and appear on screen, as soon as those titles start you'll be laughing and groaning.
With the puppets in place what you get is a load more gore and violence than you probably would with a live action film, and the steam powered chainsaw is both ridiculous and inspired.
I have to point out that there are a few moments which will upset those who are very politically correct, so if you can hang your reality hat outside for a moment and get into the swing of this then you'll have a great time. The writers must have really mind numbing day jobs to have this pour out of their heads, and I'm so glad they did.
According to the ending of the film the makers are looking to produce a feature length version of the film, and you know what? I think they might just make it work. In the meantime we can await the DVD release, here's the trailer for a taster of the pupper gore you can expect.