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Horror and the Wild West

Maynard Blackoak

Horror by definition is a very strong feeling of fear, dread, and shock or something that creates those feelings.  Why is it many only focus on horror in the usual or contemporary settings?  From Shelley to Poe to Stoker to King, most classic horror literature tends to remain within the constraints of its own genre.

Picture Dracula moonlighting as a homicide detective.  Could the Frankenstein monster have had a second career as a Hollywood stuntman?  Do those sound humorous?  It they do, might I recommend Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.  Comedy and horror blend well together.  The trick is, a writer needs to be proficient writing in both genres, or it comes out reading like an observer making jokes about a tragic plane crash.

The one genre, which tends to work best with horror, is science fiction.  The two are so closely related, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between them.  Oftentimes, the line is blurred to the point a film or story is classified as sci-fi horror.  This combination tends to be easier to write than comedy and horror.  For many, it is easier to be terrifying with science gone awry than to be funny.

There have been other genres, which have worked well with horror.  I would be remiss if I failed to mention the success of Anne Rice’s vampire novels.  She, more than any other author, romanticized the vampire, splendidly casting them in dreamy, gothic light.  Love them or hate them, the Twilight series also accomplished the same thing, albeit with a teenage angst angle.

All this brings me to my collection, Eerie Trails of the Wild Weird West.  Two of my greatest passions are horror stories and the cowboy way of life.  I grew up watching the old classic horror movies from the silent era and the golden age of Hollywood.  When I learned to read, some of the first real novels I read were the classic tales of horror.  While it would be arrogant of me to put my writing on the level of a Poe or Shelley, I would like to think some of their style rubbed off on me.

Growing up in Texas and Oklahoma, I was exposed to cowboy songs and literature.  My dad was a HUGE fan of authors like Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour.  He listened tomusical acts such as Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers, Marty Robbins, and Gene Autry.  While I failed to appreciate his taste in books and music as a youth, they did grow on me.  In my later teen years, I developed an appreciation for some of his literature and songs.  It was also during that time I became a big fan of classic western films and the music of Chris Ledoux, all the while maintaining my love of classic horror.

One day as I spun the splintered windmill in my mind, pondering an original storyline, I came up with the idea of a marriage between westerns and horror.  As I processed the notion further, my thoughts were flooded with several dusty trails my story could take.  I decided no single story could satisfy the craving to tell a tale of my two favorite genres.  The idea of a western horror novel became an anthology of fourteen tales; I think my readers will find a unique telling of the wild Old West.

From Brethren to The Guns of Clay Allison, Eerie Trails of the Wild Weird West will take you on a bizarre ride of cowboys and Indians versus monsters, myths, and legends.  So saddle up your horses, partner and experience a telling of the Wild West like you have never heard.  Tell all your friends, neighbors, and kinfolk to pick up a copy.  I would sure like to write a second volume of these tales.


Eerie Trails of the Wild Weird West


A Short Story Collection
by Maynard Blackoak

Eerie Trails… of the Wild Weird West

In this collection of fourteen strange tales from the wild west, Cowboys and Indians face down supernatural beings of all varieties – from vampires and werewolves; to ghosts and vengeful spirits; to mythological creatures.

Saddle up cowboys and ladies alike, once the journey begins, Eerie Trails of the Wild Weird West will take you down a strange and bizarre path though the old west that you’ve never been on before.

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About the Author —

maynardblackoakMaynard Blackoak is a freelance writer living in the backwoods of Pawnee County, Oklahoma. He draws upon the sights of neglect and unusual sounds around him for inspiration. A bit of a recluse, he can often be found strolling through an old, forgotten cemetery or in the woods among the twisted black oaks and native elms under the light of the moon.

Twitter: @maynardblackoak
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