Autry curator Josh Garrett-Davis interviews Brad Sykes, author of Terror in the Desert: Dark Cinema of the American Southwest, about the genre of Western horror and its use of the desert landscape.
Interested in learning more about the films and ideas discussed in the interview?
Brad Sykes’s Terror in the Desert: Dark Cinema of the American Southwest (2018)
The Sadist (1963) - Based on an actual killing spree, this is the original “desert terror” movie and still one of the best.
Duel (1971) - Steven Spielberg’s first feature is the ultimate road rage thriller.
The Hills Have Eyes (1977) - Horror-master Wes Craven’s tale of a nice American family vs. an inbred clan of cannibals.
The Hitcher (1986) - Hitchhiking horror doesn’t get any scarier than this.
Near Dark (1987) - The best vampire Western ever made.
White of the Eye (1988) - A brilliant psychological thriller about madness lurking within an average Arizona family.
Silent Tongue (1993) - Sam Shepard's spooky film is part Native American ghost story, part history lesson, and all terrifying.
Breakdown (1997) - The best road thriller since Duel, with Kurt Russell versus a malevolent trucker.
U-Turn (1997) - Oliver Stone's jet-black comedy is every stranded traveler's worst nightmare.
The Canyon (2009) - Survival horror in the Grand Canyon, featuring a strong lead performance by Yvonne Strahovski.