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Western films, from silent to today

Undead or Alive (2007)

James Denton plays Elmer Winslow, a deserter on the run from the cavalry. Chris Kattan is a cowboy with a horse named Frisky, six-guns named Sparkles and Sunshine and a broken heart, the result of falling in love with a pretty blonde who sells her favors at the town saloon.

Jailed together after a fight over the blonde, they escape together, rob the sheriff of card game winnings he’s taken from Elmer, then set off for the Colorado River with a posse on their trail.

Then they run across Sue (Navi Rawat), a New York-educated Indian girl, who has vowed to kill every soldier she can find because of what they did to her people. Sue, you see, if the niece of the legendary Apache warrior Geronimo. So she kidnaps the two white men, until Elmer promises to lead her to a cavalry patrol so she can start doling out her vengeance.

Ah, but the posse catches them first. And it turns out the posse has been afflicted with Geronimo’s curse — they’ve turned into brain-eating zombies. Sue forgets all about vengeance. Luke and Elmer want to run for their lives and head anywhere to get away from the Geronimos.


The first clue that you shouldn’t take anything you’re about to watch seriously comes a few seconds into the movie, as the stage is being set. This message pops up on the screen: “Don’t worry. The part where you have to read is almost over.”

So sit back and prepare to be entertained by the best zombie-comedy Western you’re likely to stumble across.

Kattan is silly, Rawat is sexy, Denton is sardonic. Toss in loads of gore and brain-eating villains and it all makes for about 90 minutes of great fun. There’s even a neat twist at the end. And a sort of take-off on that final showdown in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Of course, director Glasgow Phillips was working with a pretty experienced cast. Chris Kattan worked on Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2003 and his co-stars here are also best known from their work on TV. Navi Rawat has had starring roles on two TV series, as Theresa Diaz in The O.C. and as math prodigy Amita Ramanujan in Numb3rs. James Denton played plumber Mike Delfino on Desperate Housewives. And Leslie Jordan has a neat little role as a preacher with nowhere to turn to escape the brain-eating zombies.

Directed by:
Glasgow Phillips

James Denton … Elmer
Chris Kattan … Luke
Navi Rawat … Sue
Mess Besser … Claypool
Chris Coppola … Cletus
Cristin Michele … Kate
Leslie Jordan … Padre

Runtime: 90 min.

Memorable lines:

Luke to a fellow inmate as he and Elmer escape jail: “Sorry we have to leave you here, but it just ain’t right to eat your wife and daughter’s brains.”

Elmer: “Let’s not fight, y’all. We’re all going to starve or have our brains eaten. We might as well be friends.”

Elmer, when the threesome have reached their destination, The Colorado River: “Why are we at the Grand Canyon?”
Sue: “The Colorado River is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Is this news to both of you?”
Elmer: “Geography wasn’t my thing. I was more of an arts and music guy.”
Luke: “I was remedial.”

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