Taking two of my favorite genres – Western and Horror – and mashing them together is a surefire way to get my attention. I can’t really think of many great movies that fill this niche, and I am super down for more of these attempts to start showing up. Today, we’re gonna discuss one of these entries called The Pale Door.
Releasing on Blu-ray today, October 6th, from RLJE Films, The Pale Door is sort of an unknown to most of us, unless you keep your ear low to the ground. Receiving this one to review was the first I had heard of it, and, that being the case, I went in with a blind eye except for the glance at the cover which shows a rather spooky figure overshadowing a couple riders in a desolate western town. While the tone was portrayed in this film’s cover, it does little to give away much of the film, which I appreciate.
But this is a review, so I’m going to discuss the movie of course. So spoilers below.
The basic premise of this film is that a rogue gang robs a train, looking for a well guarded item that a mysterious buyer is after. However, upon taking stock of their plunders, they discover a young woman who has been chained, masked, and locked away in a box. Not knowing what to do, they listen to her offer of riches and women for returning her to her home.
Without any explanation as to what she was doing in this box, nor really giving any real details to who she is or where she is from, the group quickly descends into discord over what to do with her. But ultimately they find themselves in the strange place she calls home – surrounded by a rather lovely group of whores from the brothel who are looking to reward them. That is, until they all reveal themselves as a coven of witches and trap the men in the town unless they give up their virgin with a pure heart. A little bit tropey but hey, it’s a fun time.
This movie doesn’t really hide the fact that it is kind of ridiculous. Characters play into their stereotypes and there’s a lot of exaggeration happening here, but to be honest, it sort of made this movie better because of it. Instead of falling flat, they sort of lean into it and that makes The Pale Door very fun to watch. This applies to the acting most of all, but also to character design in the witches (with some VERY pointy witch noses), the use of CG, and to some of the very B-Movie feeling plot points that drive the story.
All said, I really had a good time with The Pale Door. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a great Horror-Western film, but it is definitely one of the better attempts that I’ve seen. Also, it should be noted that Stan Shaw is in this movie, which was a very welcome surprise. I had just seen him recently when I had re-watched Daylight for the 10,000th time. He is a gem and I am super happy to see him in something new.
Featuring a DTS-Master Audio 5.1 channel track, The Pale Door was a pleasure to listen to. Several of the fight scenes had very satisfying use of the space, as well as good, boomy bass, all while maintaining easy to hear dialogue.
The picture itself is really nice and clear. A lot of this movie takes place at night and in dimly lit areas, with some very warm tavern interiors as well, which all looks fantastic. There was little issue with the dark scenes, with no real distractions.
The Pale Door is a one disc release in an amaray case and a nice looking slipcover with light embossing on it. The special features are as follows:
- The Making of The Pale Door
- Filmmaker commentary
- Editing The Pale Door
Our Recommendation for The Pale Door:
While The Pale Door may not be the Western-Horror classic that I am still waiting for, it is certainly an entertaining and fun watch that scratches that itch while I patiently wait. This movie uses tropes in an effective and endearing way, leaning into them in a smart way. I’d definitely give this one a recommend.