Not Your Typical Cowboy Flick
When I was a pre-teen in days of yore, Roy Rogers ranked high on my list of favorite movie stars. I loved watching Roy and Dale and Trigger in their entertaining Westerns. Did Roy Thompson, the main character in Cowboy Killer, feel the same way? Perhaps. In fact, actors like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and John Wayne may have motivated him more than he realizes. Roy looks like a cowboy, walks like a cowboy, and talks like a cowboy – but he ends up as a serial killer who believes all his actions are somehow honorable.
Roy Thompson may be the extreme opposite of Roy Rogers, yet he’s also entertaining, for actor Paul Bailey delivers a highly watchable performance as the star of this unusual horror satire directed by Jason Baustin (Change Is Coming) from a script by Jaymes Camery (Coffee's Better Without Dinner) and Ben Solenberger (Amends to My Life).
“You’re in for a damn treat,” Roy tells his victims after charming most of them before the kill. We almost believe he means it. Roy’s soft-spoken, polite demeanor makes him very dangerous indeed. Cowboy Killer boasts a high -- and bloody -- body count that should impress many horror fans. “Heads will roll,” one character observes. And he’s right, at least where one hapless victim is concerned.
The plot is a simple one. Traveling across country in his truck, Roy arrives in a small Midwestern town looking for a “genteel” lady to keep him company. However, when he loses his sanity and goes on a killing spree, a group of citizens decide to hunt him down. Although their inept methods sometimes come across as quite laughable, I have to give them credit for determination.
While the acting in Cowboy Killer appears uneven, Bailey (Amends to My Life) succeeds in keeping our attention on Roy Thompson, a character created by co-writer Ben Solenberger. Other standouts are Paul Fahrenkoph (Love, Alice) as a frustrated police chief, David Buckler (Signals) as one of the concerned lawmen, Gene Campbell as the town drunk, and Giorgi Sharmazanashivili as young Roy in a brief flashback.
DVD bonus features include commentary, a trailer and bloopers.
WARNING: Cowboy Killer contains nudity, violence, foul language and gore.
(Released by Rivercoast Films; not rated by MPAA. For more information about this independent movie, go to www.cowboykillerthemovie.com.)