by Jef Burnham
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This independent horror flick comes from first-time director/producer/editor/writer Jason Baustin, and follows the exploits of lone gun murderer, Roy Thompson, as he kills his detractors with kindness, most literally. Fans of the goofy, gory horror of Troma Entertainment will find plenty to cheer for in Cowboy Killer, which will assuredly find its place in history alongside the likes of Surf Nazis Must Die (though it is hard to compete with a title like that).
Roy thinks he’s a cowboy, which I suppose he is with the duster, Stetson and six shooters, but really he is a psychotic with a dissociative disorder, bumping off half the population of a peaceful rural town—his way of making friends with the locals. The movie opens with Roy’s first encounter with Ashley, whose severed head is destined to become his girlfriend for a time. Following the disbanding of the local police force during the crisis, the local layabouts, drunks, strippers and cable guys form a posse to track down the cowboy killer.
Though the bathroom humor is par for the course in this sort of low-budget slasher comedy, there are some genuinely hilarious moments outside of the over-the-top deaths. In particular is the opening sequence with the doomed Ashley, and a flashback to a significant childhood confrontation between Roy and his parents, during which the young Roy’s voice is that of star Paul Bailey.
The DVD is available from the official Cowboy Killer website and features bloopers, the original trailer and feature commentary with the filmmakers.
Jef Burnham is a writer and film critic in Chicago.
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