The movie Grim Prairie Tales (1990) is a horror western anthology film directed by Wayne Coe. It follows two strangers crossing the prairie who pass the time by trying to frighten each other with supernatural tales and ghost stories.
The movie Grim Prairie Tales (1990) opens with a man named Farley, played by James Earl Jones, encountering a grizzled bounty hunter called Morrison, played by Brad Dourif, on the prairie. With night approaching, they make camp together and Farley suggests they each tell a scary story to entertain themselves. This leads into the main anthology portion of The movie Grim Prairie Tales (1990).
Morrison’s first tale involves a man who takes refuge with a frontier family and becomes involved in a pact with a demonic presence haunting their homestead. Farley counters with a story about a town terrorized by a spectral gunslinger seeking revenge from beyond the grave. As the night progresses, the stories around the campfire become increasingly chilling.
One of Morrison’s tales details a traveling preacher who makes a deal with the Devil. Farley’s story features pioneers falling prey to a Wendigo, a mythical man-eating creature. The movie Grim Prairie Tales (1990) culminates with each man trying to top the other with one final, terrifying tale of the supernatural before they finally get some uneasy rest.
Though not all the stories fully connect, The movie Grim Prairie Tales (1990) succeeds in creating an intimate campfire atmosphere of dread and foreboding. The plains setting proves an apt metaphor for feelings of isolation and vulnerability to the unknown. And the anthology format allows the film to explore a range of horror vignettes from occult pacts to gruesome monsters.
- James Earl Jones as Farley
- Brad Dourif as Morrison
- Will Hare as Franklin
- Mickey Rooney as Burgess
- William Atherton as Derak
– The movie Grim Prairie Tales (1990) was mostly shot near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
– It was originally conceived as a TV movie before getting a limited theatrical release.
– Make-up effects were done by horror veterans Screaming Mad George and Nick Benson.
– The storytellers’ names Farley and Morrison are an homage to fantasy writer Ray Faraday Nelson.
– At one point MGM considered making it into a TV horror anthology series.
Moria Reviews – “a promising effort on the whole”
Film Critic “Coe skilfully finds, in this material, the connecting line between the Western and horror genres.”
starkholborn.com – The stories “veer more towards psychological horror or morality fable than full-blown creep-out fest.”