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Western - The Horror Novel by Dale Pierce - A Book Review

by Bob Crumby

October 2010

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Correspondent Dale Pierce is known to readers of (re)Search My Trash due to varied contributions and interviews, but is also an author with an odd cult following in America in his own right. In recent years he has taken to not dealing with established publishers as he has done in the past, but creating a series of his own books on Lulu.

 

“I grew tired of having to kiss up to publishers and decided I was better off doing my own thing on books-on-demand printing,” Pierce explained. “This way also I did not have to ‘tone down’ the violence in my books or make them less offensive. I also have an agency representing me in Spain (Agencia Literaria Debroag Albardone outside Madrid) and may have some film deals with Altair Films in Chile. So I am just making whatever off the American releases on Lulu and aiming for foreign reprint and film sales.”

 

Though in incredibly low budget form, two stories from Western - The Horror Novel have been filmed by Blue Kat Boneyard Films in Canton, Ohio, The Monster Within, which is finished, and Zealot, finally seeing completion this year, came from the text before the book was released.

 

Western offers a central theme with several short stories surrounding it, as with the old Hammer horror films of the past. In the opening moment of the text, a killer drives to the ghost town of Headstone with the intent  to bury his wife’s body in the forsaken graveyard. As he prepares to do so, he encounters a lone character who gives him an uninspired graveyard tour. While debating what to do, the killer is ushered toward the grave of a western novelist named Luther Moorehouse and is told that if one leaves money on the grave, Moorehouse will “yell the gift-bringer stories.”

 

To avoid suspicion, the killer complies and once he does, finds himself sucked into a world where the Wild West merges with the supernatural in an assortment of stories form beyond the grave.

 

In Big Chief Pain, a man enters a dark ride at a carnival in modern times and finds himself confronted with a vengeful Indian when he is transported into the real Wild West.

 

In Ride The Man Down a vindictive gunfighter tracks a killer and finds him hiding out as a minister in a small town church. The gunman turned minister evidently takes verses from The Bible way too literally.

 

In Wrestler, a werewolf finds his niche as a carnival wrestler, until he starts killing people in the ring.

 

In Tell Them Joe Is Coming three outlaws are confronted by the vindictive ghost of a man they killed long ago.

 

In The Monster Within, a divorcee buys a haunted house and finds he has inherited three sex crazed ghosts who carry on their activities from beyond the grave and wish him to commit suicide so he might joint hem. This short has already seen DVD release, though a rock bottom production sold mainly online and at horror fests by producer Jeff Stoll. The story varies quite a bit from the film.

 

Zealot, also being filmed with considerable variation from the text by Stoll, offers a crazed killer who knocks off sinners as supposedly being encouraged by Jesus. In the book Pierce takes his usual offensive risks and has the killer welcomed into heaven after death by an approving Jesus where Stoll evidently felt the ending would piss too many people off, with the same killer ending up in Hell.

 

Headstone remains one of the darkest stories of all, which involves a man in modern times haunted by flashbacks from the past and an incident happening outside the fictional headstone. In the story within a story, a grim tale unfolds, with a bounty hunter bringing young men alive to a homosexual farmer, who offers him money to be able to sexually torture, tape and kill said victims. The bounty hunter then retrieves the dead bodies and take them to be claimed for a reward. Of course this eventually comes to an end with the gay sadist, one of his victims, the bounty man and several others all dying in a shootout that could have come from a Leone movie.

Troubles come when predictably, this crew won’t stay dead and the modern man latches on to their vibes.

 

In The Rope Museum, a man who escaped the gallows decades before finds his payment awaiting him in a museum devoted to Wild West hangings.

Other takes abound.

 

Throughout the text a mysterious mad man makes constant appearances though the is never seen. One only sees or hears of his handiwork. Consisting of a trail of dead bodies where ever he goes.

This killer, Johnny Dragon, has an equally bizarre habit of notching his own forehead with a straight razor whenever he kills, rather than notching his pistol.

 

In the final tale before the epilogue, which returns the reader to the killer hearing these graveyard tales, does the origin of Dragon come into being: In The Dangling Man, he faces execution with no fear of death.

In this tale, Dragon awaits the noose and is being interviewed by writer Luther Moorehouse, wrapping these tales and the destination of Headstone together.

 

Once back to reality, our killer from the introduction finds himself staring down at the Moorehouse grave, with the stories he was promised completed.

There is one more tale to be told.

His own.

The son of a bitch then gets his and the book comes to a close. That is all I will say.

Does he ever get his!

 

As for Johnny Dragon, here is a captivating villain and it is again masterful how he remains this shadowy character throughout the text, though you know it is leading up to something when his name crops up time and time again, even without him being physically there. In the real Wild West there was never any Johnny Dragon, just as gunmen never really notched their pistols (who was going to carve out the handle of a good and expensive gun?) The idea for this madman notching his head when he makes a kill may have come from the author’s involvement in the minor leagues of pro wrestling, where wrestlers bleed in matches by lightly cutting their heads with a piece of razor blade.

 

Epitaph may be ordered online in book or economical e book form at http://www.lulu.com/content/9396160.

 

© by Bob Crumby


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

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