Can horror really be mixed with any genre? There are arguments that, yes, it can. In fact, besides comedy, it’s basically one of the only genres that can mix with others. Take, for example, the western. The old west is full of ghost stories. Ghost towns, cursed Native American burial grounds, and, of course, Haunted Mines. Today’s tale, if it wasn’t obvious from the title, is about the third type of story. Can you truly make a horror western story? Let’s find out with The Haunted Mine.
Dale is a man who goes to visit his Aunt Melva in a desert town. He wants his aunt to move out of this dangerous place and live in the city close to him. However, Aunt Melva is a stubborn woman. Dale decides to stay the night but, suddenly, his aunt disappears. Where could she have gone? And what is the problem with the mine the town just re-opened?
Finally, a story told by the Vaultkeeper! And the bookend segments are really well done, too! We have a Wild West backdrop that looks really nice and the showdown between the Vaultkeeper and Cryptie was really fun to watch as well. It also helps that this is a really good story that’s well told in all the right ways.
Hold on a second. This is an episode where the main character ISN’T a jerk and doesn’t have karmic retribution? You mean he DOESN’T just want to sell his aunt’s house for a fortune? He’s actually, genuinely concerned for his aunt’s well-being? Well, color me shocked! For once, we don’t have an ounce of greediness involved in a story where a family member wants another family member to move. I also really liked the mystery of why the town disappeared and the adventure through the dark, decrepit mine. This story is just all around really well done. And that goes double for the characters.
Aunt Melva is a sweet and funny character. I liked her stubbornness and her deep love of her dog. I also really liked Dale. He shows genuine concern for his aunt and only wants to keep her safe. They might not see eye to eye, but these are two family members who actually care about each other. After a string of episodes with characters who don’t care, this was really refreshing to see. Dale was especially likable if only because he had a relatable fear of bugs.
If there’s one gripe I have about the episode is the title. Frankly, and this is a spoiler, but… the mine isn’t actually HAUNTED. It’s just inhabited by a bunch of monsters. Don’t get me wrong, the monsters look really cool. However, there are no ghosts, so you can’t really call it haunted, can you?
This was a really well done episode. The western-ish backdrop was a nice change of pace and made for some good looking animation with nice, warm colors. I enjoyed watching this episode a lot and the characters were really a breath of fresh air. I highly recommend this episode to all those curious. It might even be one of my top 5 favorites I’ve seen so far.