Starring Devin Druid, Pat Healy, Stan Shaw, Noah Segan, Zachary Knighton
Written by Aaron B. Koontz, Cameron Burns, Keith Lansdale
Directed by Aaron B. Koontz
The Pale Door is a horror western written by Aaron B. Koontz, Cameron Burns, and Keith Landsdale and is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Koontz and Burns’ horror anthology Scare Package. Executive produced by Joe R. Lansdale and directed by Koontz, The Pale Door follows The Dalton Gang who seek shelter in what they think is a ghost town after a robbery doesn’t quite go as planned. What they find is a fate worse than death. The Pale Door will be released by RLJE Films and Shudder in theaters, on demand, and digital on August 21st.
Jake (Devin Druid) and his older brother Duncan Dalton (Zachary Knighton) suffer the violent loss of their parents when they are children and grow up to form a group of outlaws called The Dalton Gang. In a notable performance, Stan Shaw plays Lester, a friend of the family who saves the brothers from their parents’ killers and after raising them, becomes a member of their gang. The Dalton Gang consists of Jake and Duncan Dalton, Lester, Truman (Noah Segan), Dodd (Bill Sage), Wylie (Pat Healy), and Brenda (Tina Parker). The Pale Door features an exceptional cast, and the actors playing the Dalton Gang, especially, work together extraordinarily well as an ensemble.
The gang hears about a train that will be carrying a large sum of money and decide to rob the train, but unfortunately things do not go as planned. After a shoot-out, the gang locates a trunk on the train belonging to a mysterious owner, which is locked and wrapped in chains. Believing the trunk holds the money they were hoping for, they take the trunk, but when they open it, they find a girl wearing a strange iron mask covering the lower half of her face. Once they free her, she tells them her name is Pearl (Natasha Bassett). Duncan is injured in the process of robbing the train and Pearl tells the gang that if they take her home, they will receive a reward and a doctor can take a look at Duncan.
The Dalton Gang takes Pearl to Potemkin Township, which appears to be a ghost town, despite the fact Pearl says she lives there. Duncan has lost a lot of blood and Pearl tells the gang to take him to a nearby brothel to see the doctor. At the brothel, Pearl introduces them to her mother Maria, played by Melora Walters, who gives a fantastically terrifying performance. Appearances are deceiving at the brothel, which is filled with beautiful women, who take each of the men to a private room, including the injured Duncan. Jake declines a private room and while talking with Maria, he hints at the fact that he is still a virgin. While the women are bathing the other men and having sex with them, each of the women begins a terrifying transformation. The brothel is actually a coven of witches, led by Maria, who shares with Jake through flashbacks, her story of being burned at the stake two hundred years earlier.
The film is somewhat reminiscent of From Dusk till Dawn, minus vampires, which means there is no shortage of blood and gore. Director Aaron B. Koontz is a master of practical effects, so it’s not surprising the witches as well as the blood-splattered fight sequences in The Pale Door are impressive and horrific. Because he is a virgin, Maria wants Jake’s blood so the coven can use it to gain strength and powers. As the other members of the Dalton Gang attempt to survive the witches’ attempts to kill them in gruesome ways, Jake is trying to locate Duncan, who has disappeared from the brothel. While members of the gang hide in an abandoned church, Maria and her coven gather outside and patiently wait for an opportunity to kill the Dalton Gang and kidnap Jake for his blood. What the men don’t know is that the witches took hair from each of them when they had them alone and are using it to cast grisly spells on them. Ultimately, the fate of everyone depends on Duncan and Jake and the decisions they make when faced with death.
Boasting striking makeup effects, impressive gore and practical effects, as well as showcasing an amazingly talented cast, The Pale Door is a wildly entertaining, bloody good time.
The Pale Door is a wildly entertaining combination of great practical effects and an outstanding cast that is sure to please any horror fan.