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Plot, Details & Awards

Grim Prairie Tales

90min.
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Plot & Details

An entertaining hybrid of Amicus-style horror anthology and gritty low-budget western, this first-time effort from writer-director Wayne Coe succeeds where many such genre-bending attempts have failed. The quartet of uneven but well-mounted stories are spun around a desert campfire by grizzled, menacing bounty hunter Morrison (a rousingly hammy James Earl Jones) and wet-behind-the-ears city slicker Farley (Brad Dourif). Morrison starts off with the tale of an Indian tribe's ritual revenge against the drunken cracker who desecrates their sacred burial ground; When Farley seems interested but unfazed, Morrison follows up with the more visceral story of a Good Samaritan who succumbs to temptation while rendering aid to a pregnant woman, leading to a particularly disgusting (though definitely original) demise. Appalled by the storyteller's lack of taste, Farley counters with a down-to-earth morality tale involving a prairie settler's young daughter who witnesses her father's horrifying act of hate, realizing that the man she trusted with her life is a very human breed of monster. Morrison acknowledges his companion's skill but offers another violent story according to his own idiom -- that of a slick gunfighter who gets his comeuppance by his own hand after winning a deadly competition. The stories feature fine acting and direction but are ultimately overshadowed by the engaging framing story and lack much of the dramatic payoff of their earlier British counterparts.

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