Monday, July 4, 2011

Mythology of the West

American mythology is often focused on the wild west and the westward expansion. The west is still considered the frontier where known hits unknown. Tales of the wild west fill books and the movie screen. However, with many modern re-telling's of mythological stories, there is also a re-spinning to add a bit of flair. This is were wild west meets just plain weird. Weird-west tales have found their own niche. One of the best examples being Robert Rodriguez's "From Dusk Til Dawn."

The first half the film reads like any other western. There is your upstanding sheriff, innocent bystanders, and highway robbers. As to be expected the aforementioned robbers attempt to rob a bank, take hostages, and try to get away from the law. Rodriguez follows the mythological pattern to a T, until (Spoilers!) the vampires decide to show up. There is no longer a good-guy bad-guy dynamic. It is man verses monster. The vampire tropes are as you would expect: crosses, holy water, blood drinking, etc. As separate pieces the two genres are typical and common. The genius is in the blending.

Just like America is the melting pot, our modern mythologies are melting pots as well. It is not enough to be a vampire tale or a western. It is the combination that makes the weird-west worth looking into.

Celebrating the Forth,
J.R. West the Raccoon

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