This month marks the third anniversary for Rockstar Games’ Undead Nightmare, the bonus content released for Rockstar’s very successful Western video game Red Dead Redemption (2010). Released in late October of 2010, Undead Nightmare combined the Western genre with that of the supernatural as a plague brings the dead to life in the West of the early 20th century.

Image – Rockstar Games

Playing as John Marston, the lead character of Red Dead Redemption, gamers must deal with zombies seeking sustenance from the living, attempt to rescue survivors and simultaneously try to uncover the source of the plague. There also sightings of undead animals and reports of mythical beasts. The game makes very strong use of mood lighting and camera angles to create an uneasy atmosphere as you ride across the landscape. Here is the trailer for Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare (note: mature images):

Of note to this writer is the very effective soundtrack that was created specifically for Undead Nightmare. That soundtrack, composed by Bill Elm and Woody Jackson, modifies songs from the original game into an eerier form and the original compositions for the second game include darker tones, melancholy and even “horror-whimsy”, if you will. The following track, “Showdown at Escalera”, has a mix of trumpet and guitar to strong – and fun – effect:

In addition to Red Dead Redemption winning the Game of the Year at the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards, Undead Nightmare won Best DLC (downloadable content) at the same awards. Within 8 months Undead Nightmare had retailed 2 million copies. The original Red Dead Redemption itself sold over 12.5 million copies in less than a year-and-a-half.

As a final note, wishes everyone a safe and Happy Halloween!

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)


  1. Should join you for that….two brothers taking on some bad things in the West….sounds like a potential plot-line. 😉

  2. I’ve often wondered why these two genres, horror and Western, don’t seem to have been successfully combined in film. Joe Lansdale and Richard Matheson both have written excellent novellas combining the two. In gaming there games such as Undead Nightmare from Rockstar and the Deadlands roleplaying game. But when it comes to film we seem to only get things like Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter and Billy the Kid vs. Dracula. It seems to me that the setting and mythology of both genres would meld together wonderfully in film.

  3. Hi Jerime…thanks for the comment and I hope this message finds you well. I agree that there is rich potential for a gothic/supernatural Western still to be mined. Playing Undead Nightmare, there was something singularly eerie about a fog-laden rural setting with zombies shuffling toward you across the distance. I will take the time to check out the writers you mention.


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