Reading a chapter in Kim Newman's book Nightmare Movies:Horror on the screen since the 1960s,I noticed a small section of the book focusing on Horror-Westerns.Nearing the end of the section,I spotted a title that Newman mentioned,which sounded like a great genre cross-over of the Western with a monster-movie Horror,which led to me getting ready to track down the Burrows.
The Dakota Territories- August 11th,1879:
Returning home, Fergus Coffey discovers that his fiancé Maryanne Stewart has been kidnapped,and that a number of her family members have been brutally murdered.Suspecting that Stewart has been kidnapped by an Indian tribe,Coffey gathers up a gang of fellow outlaws,who soon set off to track down Stewart.Trampling on any Indian tribes near by,Coffey and the gang fail to find any sign of Stewart. Interrogating a number of the tribes people,Coffey begins to hear about a group called The Burrowers.Presuming them to be a new tribe,Coffey and the gang start setting their sights on finding The Burrowers,but soon discover to their horror that they will have to dig deep into the unknown,in order to find the mysterious Burrowers.
View on the film:
Featuring hardly any indoor scenes,writer/director J.T. Petty soaks in every inch of the outdoor atmosphere,by using vast wide- shots,which along with giving the title a gritty feel,also superbly shows the haunted wilderness that Stewart is tracking The Burrowers in.Along with the epic wide-shots,Petty and cinematographer Phil Parmet show an expert eye in the use of shadows,with the impressive (practical) special effects for The Burrowers being wrapped in velvet darkness,so that they can slowly creep up on the viewer.Keeping the horror nerves shredded with the clever use of shadows,Petty splashes a lavish Western mood across the shaken nerves,by using candle lights and camp side fires to show the deadly terrain that Stewart and the gang are entering.
Slowly allowing the haunting horror elements to seep in,Petty sets them against an excellent, rugged Western backdrop,thanks to Petty showing Coffey and the gang desperately try and stick to "the old way" in hunting down Stewart and The Burrowers,with Petty being unafraid to show his heroes in a less-then positive light,as they pull bits & pieces of info on The Burrowers out of the tribes people. Gripping the Western atmosphere with a firm Horror fist,Petty fires off dozens of horror shots,which brilliantly go from being extremely creepy, ( character's being buried alive) to delightfully squishy, (Coffey finding himself surrounded by dozens of Burrowers) as Coffey starts attempting to bury The Burrowers.