Joseph Daniel Rodriguez’s ‘Ghost Of The Deadlands’ (2020) – Movie Review

Let me just say that as soon as I read the title of Joseph Daniel Rodriguez’s 2020 short, Ghost Of The Deadlands, I was intrigued. It brings to mind the lone gunman… the last gunslinger… the memory of what used to be. Then I was shown the trailer, and a vision slowly began to materialize in my mind. Where are they going with this? And when can I find out?

So you know I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to watch the short itself. Did it reach expectations?

Ghost Of The Deadlands was written, edited, and directed by Joseph Daniel Rodriguez (The Goatman 2018), who also created the special FX. The short stars Circus Of The Dead mastermind Bill “Bloody Bill” Pon (read our interview with him here), Aaron Delgado, Michael Heyes, and Aaron Steadman (Cryptids 2021).


Ghost of the Deadlands is a proof of concept short film for a much larger narrative. A zombie-apocalypse themed story with a twist. Taking visual inspiration from films like Dune (1984), Blade Runner 2049, and Mad Max: Fury Road, the story becomes a more sci-fi based narrative as the source behind the zombie-virus outbreak is revealed to the main character, The Lone Wolf.

The setup for Ghost Of The Deadlands is pretty simple. An unidentified man, his face covered by an iron skull-like mask, sits beside a campfire. He is approached by three men, their weapons drawn. It doesn’t take long before the infected are brought up, so we know what kind of world we’re living in. The paranoia of the armed men makes sense now. They question the loner, but they may not like what he has for answers.

Bill “Bloody Bill” Pon in Ghost Of The Deadlands

Ghost Of The Deadlands is a dark, concise short that delivers on the tension and tells a big story in just about 6 minutes. I love the almost sepia tone of the film, making it seem both desert-dry and timeless. According to the film’s website, this is a concept short for a feature length film, and I know my interest is piqued as to where this story is going. I am especially curious about the little shoes.

Ghost of the Deadlands

If you get a chance to watch Joseph Daniel Rodriguez’s short, take it. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing more about this project—and its feature length version—in the coming future.

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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