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In the autumn of 1900, outlaw Claude Barbee puts his 'retirement plan' in action, attempting to lead his train-robbing gang across Texas to recover a cash stash hidden after a botched railroad heist. They soon discover they're being hunted by more than just the law - but rather a merciless, unexpected evil quite possibly greater than themselves. Written by
Greetings again from the darkness - from the Dallas International Film Festival 2015. Co-writers and co-directors Duane Graves (from San Antonio) and Justin Meeks manage to hit all extremes with comedy, violence and drama as they trek across some of the roughest Texas terrain. Tongue-in-cheek westerns are rare, and this one never falls into true parody, but instead uses hyper-dramatic music and dialogue delivery to balance the gun play and hardened outlaw activities.
Mr. Meeks also stars as Claude "Sweet Tooth" Barbee, who is leading his band of outlaws across Texas in an attempt to re-claim the gold from a previously botched train robbery. The character name is from a real life outlaw and the actions are loosely based on real life train robber Sam Bass. Meeks is clearly having a ball playing the type of colorful bad guy that actors dream about.
Screen veteran Pepe Serna has a brief but memorable role, and one that is crucial to story development. He too, seems to relish the chance to play a nasty guy. The rest of the cast, many of whom were present at the screening, all seem to have bought into the vision whether their character is quickly filled with lead or manages to eke out a line or two or three. Every movie lover will quickly recognize the actor playing the Doc as Michael Berryman from The Hills Have Eyes (1972).
The ringing of a bell, a young ventriloquist, twins, prairie land nightmares, a hooker with an ulterior motive, and family revenge all play a role as this group of outlaws is hunted by more than just the Sheriff as they make their way to the coast. With unusual lines of dialogue such as "Shut that puppet up", and a misleading sign that reads "Lodgers Welcome", Graves and Meeks deliver an unusual look at the old west and those that inhabited this rugged land.
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