Cowboy Killer


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

"You're in for a damn treat."

Mr. C. Killer, just before making his rootin'-tootin' kills.

People make indie films for a variety of reasons. Sometimes major filmmakers like Romero, Soderbergh and even Coppola make indies on purpose so they can avoid making artistic compromises. Sometimes indie filmmakers have no choice. They can't get any money because they are pretentious asses, perverts, or talentless hacks. But at other times, indie filmmakers are just unknowns trying to establish the filmmaking credentials necessary to get noticed in an extremely crowded field. The people in the latter group have neither deep perversions nor a political agenda, and in fact would love to be making big budget films, but no studio exec knows who they are. The only way they can build resumes and credibility is to make some films on their own. That's exactly how Peter Jackson started, for example.

The writers and director of Cowboy Killer are now in the same situation that Jackson faced 20 years earlier. There's good news and bad news about their predicament. The good news is that they have a pretty good idea how to make movies. That bad news is that they don't have the resources available to seal the deal. Hell, they don't have the resources available to seal my deck.

Let's concentrate on the good news. Cowboy Killer, a tongue-in-cheek slasher film about a loco desperado who goes on an 19th century killing spree in the 21st century, has a pretty damned good script. It has an original concept, some interesting characters, and some good one-liners. The director put the narrative together clearly and concisely, with very few dead spots. The filmmakers know the minimum genre requirements for guilty pleasures like splatter and nudity. The people involved in the process of making this film have good sense of humor and understand completely that they are entertainers who are supposed to show their audiences a good time. The DVD has a full-length commentary and even a blooper reel, just like a studio release. If they had had enough money to make this into a Halloween theatrical release, it would have been more fun to watch than 75% of the genre films that actually get into theaters.

The bad news is that they did not have that money. They basically had only the money they got by breaking into Aunt Gertrude's childhood piggy bank and selling off her funny-colored wartime pennies. As a result, the film just drips of garage band filmmaking. The locales consist of local parking garages, the city dump, and various homes, cars and apartments which were probably supplied by acquaintances. Worse still, the cast obviously consists of friends, family, local strippers, and other volunteers, none of whom is likely to be recruited soon for the annual command performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company, or even for the annual company picnic skit at the Shakespeare Fishing Rod Company. If the entire acting community consisted of this cast, and a director wanted to film MacBeth, the Governator and Kathy Ireland could re-enter the industry to play the leads. Long stretches of this movie pass without a single credible line delivery, and that has the effect of tearing down the fourth wall completely, so that we can never really relax and just get immersed the story, but are constantly reminded that we're just watching something equivalent to high school kids putting on a play.

And I'm not talking about the kids who get A's in drama. We're talkin' remedial classes here.

Oh, well, maybe somebody in the industry will notice the film's positives and toss a few bucks in the direction of these guys. Amateurish as Cowboy Killer may be from time to time, it is entertaining enough that I would watch another of their movies, and would even watch this one again if they re-did it with a real budget and professional actors. Apart from the budgetary restrictions, the film's only real problem is that it vacillates between being a slasher film and being a parody of slasher films, and the filmmakers never really committed toward either option. As a result, it's probably too nasty for comedy lovers, but offers far too much downright silly nudge-nudge comedy to be a satisfying entry into the horror/slasher genre. In fact, if you like horror/slasher films, you may just realize that the filmmakers are making fun of your taste, which may account for the film's current abysmal IMDb rating of 2.1. On the other hand, if you think you might want to see a micro-budget genre parody, you just might be "in for a damn treat" with a fair share of guilty pleasures.

DVD info

Blooper reel

Full-length commentary







No major reviews online.


2.1 IMDB summary (of 10)





Straight to DVD




Coretta Montague - breasts

Kerry Kearns (the blonde) and an unknown stripper - breasts in a long strip club sequence

Dani Dare - completely gratuitous full frontal nudity in good light. This scene had no bearing on or relationship to the rest of the film. If it were cut, you would never realize that anything was missing. It is there just to add a totally naked chick. Ya' gotta admire that.



Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Despite some decent concepts and a fascinating lead character, this film is very hard to watch because of the extremely weak performances.