One Hell of a Night in Mexico by Sunni Ellis is a hell of a weird Western. Wild and bloody, it fuses the stylized storytelling of a spaghetti Western the sex-laced darkness of classic Hammer. Harnessing the enthusiasm and energy of a good B-movie, Ellis uses broad strokes to set a gritty scene and populate it with rough-and-ready Western and horror types. The storytelling is cinematic, full of sweeping landscapes, thunder and lightning, high winds and dust clouds. And blood. Lots of blood.
In the monster-haunted depths of the Mexican desert, angry fallen angels are destroying towns, the Gates of Hell have opened, and demons are running riot. Of course, the best person to stop them is a gunslinging vampire who has been hired by the local archbishop to rescue a captured priest and save the last survivors of the border town of Almas Perdidas. But as good at gunfighting as that vampire is, he’s still going to need some help to get it done.
The main characters in One Hell of a Night in Mexico are largely stock antiheroes, with one spunky exception. There is no great depth to their development, but the plot’s fast action and over-the-top mayhem fills in the shallow spots through pure momentum.
Creed Goodnight is a rootless mercenary vampire, more than happy to work for the Catholic Church for the right price. Sister Anjelica is a young, beautiful, feisty nun, and the only survivor of a demonic attack on her monastery. Reverend Jim is half human, half fallen angel, raised by hell hounds and increasingly divided in his loyalties. Hadriel is a progressively-madder fallen angel determined to unleash Hell on Earth. And Archbishop McQuade is a hard, pragmatic clergyman willing to work with whatever monsters he has to, to stop Hadriel’s plot.
The secondary characters are also the familiar types you would expect–poor villagers, fancy prostitutes, tough outlaws, and tougher lawmen. There are a few surprises among the rest of the desert’s population, though, that add an interesting–and deeply weird– spice to the mix.
One Hell of a Night in Mexico is gory, rowdy, messy fun. Despite a relatively straightforward plot Ellis works in a few unexpected turns and some genuinely silly horror to keep things lively. I enjoyed it–and if the hinted at sequel comes to pass, I’m sure I’ll enjoy that, too.