Two genres collide (bloodily!) in A Town Called Purgatory, the new film from the team behind the award-winning 2017 festival fave The Night Watchmen, and Gruesome just landed this exclusive clip. A horror western, A Town Called Purgatory will make its U.S. premiere this Saturday at New Jersey’s Garden State Film Festival with cast and crew attending.

When COVID-19 had shut down the world in 2020, it was the right time to develop a script,” recalls A Town Called Purgatory’swriter, producer, and star Dan De Luca, who wore the same production hats on The Night Watchmen. “The film would have to be easily made under the new restrictions and COVID protocols.

“Well, as we all realize, nothing is easy in the film world, and the next thing we knew we were on a plane to Austria in the middle of COVID to film an American Western,” De Luca continues. “A ‘Strudel Western,’ if you will. While the world was in limbo, we made A Town Called Purgatory.”

The movie, directed by former Sopranos actor Matt Servitto, takes place in the haunting aftermath of the Civil War. Principled Yankee Lawman Beau Riffen (Purgatory/Night Watchmen co-writer, producer, and star Ken Arnold) joins forces with Cody Parnum (De Luca), a tormented ex-Confederate tracker. Their quest to apprehend notorious train robbers leads them to Purgatory, a town eerily deserted. Amidst the silence, they cross paths with a lone African American trapper and a prisoner harboring secrets who whispers of an ancient menace. As the shadows of Purgatory tighten, an impending confrontation with The Skinwalker, a creature from Native American legend, beckons, testing bonds of trust and humanity in their gripping fight for survival.

The impetus for A Town Called Purgatory came about after Arnold finished starring in a Western called The Marshal. “The idea sat well with both of us with our love for horror and an eternal boyhood dream to don cowboy hats and holsters,” says Arnold, who has nearly 100 film and TV acting credits under his (cowboy) belt, from Men in Black 3 to Law & Order.

“The inspiration for the film came from a blend of classic Spaghetti Westerns and horror folklore, aiming to work in a unique genre fusion that hasn’t been widely explored,” Arnold continues. “The development from story to screenplay involved extensive brainstorming sessions over video calls, sharing articles and videos that we had read and watched until our visions aligned. We were both passionate about keeping the narrative tightly woven around the characters, which is not often deeply explored in most low-budget horror films, making sure to delve deep into the actual struggles of Americans during the time right after the Civil War from multiple perspectives.” The filmmakers also wanted to fill a genre vacuum. “Recognizing the scarcity of horror Westerns, we saw an opportunity to carve a niche within the genre,” Arnold says. “And honestly, we’re just real big fans of both genres. Only a handful of horror Westerns have been able to create a suspenseful horror film that is visually compelling, fun, and with an emotionally

Tony Timpone