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Horror Express 1972 – derail this train NOW

  • Jun 8, 2003
  • by
Rating:
-3
Pros: .

Cons: .

The Bottom Line: -__________


Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing & Telly Savalas? Come on, who put these guys together?

Granted, I picked this gem up at the flea market for a mere $3.00, but not a wise investment even at that price. I like old stupid movies. No nonsense monsters that lurk in the dark and jump out and eat up the good guys just make my day. Then there was Horror Express.

Whoo-Whoo
Geez, I don’t even remember which one found the frozen body of the ape-man – Cushing or Lee, but one of them did. Sure, I could pop it back in the VCR but I’m not sitting through it again to find out. Irregardless, one of them found the body and is shipping it back ……. Somewhere …….. and the other one wants to know what is in the crate.

Ok, I’m clear now – Christopher Lee was the finder, Peter Cushing the nosey one.

This train is moving along the most desolate terrain I’ve ever seen, representing Siberia. They do a lot of exterior shots, using up dead film space I guess, showing the train and all the snow surrounding the tracks – no cities, nothing. The occasional train station pops up, some shack with a man behind the desk and that’s about it.

Being the nosey norvis that Cushing is, he wants to know what Lee is sneaking back to ….. somewhere …. So he pays the baggage dude to sneak a peek inside the crate – zippo to the guy, he’s fried.

Things begin to escalate
There is a stow-away nubile young lady that may or may not be an undercover agent to some agency we don’t know the name of. As well, there is a countess who may be the wife of Cushing, although he is just a doctor, not a count. Unless they didn’t bother to mention that point, or I missed it on one of the many times my mind wandered away from the screen. She’s fairly well endowed as well.

Just as a side note, have you ever noticed how these women always have their entire bodies completely covered head to foot and yet their breasts are fully exposed, even shoved together and uplifted to look like some overripe melon that is about to burst. Have you noticed that? Bet you will next time.

Who loves ya, Baby?
They pick up Kojak somewhere along the way. Sorry, he was Captain Kazan, a Cossack something – captain I guess – played poorly by Telly Savalas. Sure, tell me this, he is a Cossack whatever, in the middle of wherever and yet he sounds like someone just dropped him in from 5th & Broadway or the heart of Queens. He TRIES to adopt a gravelly Russian accent but that flat nasal tone slips right in – you expect a bright shiny lollipop any minute. Especially when he slides that cigarillo in his mouth, looks just like a lollipop stick.

”They’re comin to get you, Barbara”
If that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s true, they reenact the ‘Night of the Living Dead’ when they reanimate all the dead guys [and gals, we didn’t leave them out even tho they had those perky breasts] to chase after Christopher Lee – or was it Peter Cushing?

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no …… it’s ……. What?
You don’t get a decent look at this creature. A couple of shots so shaded and backlit you can’t fully enjoy them, a few dripping hand shots, a lot of glowing red eye shots. I want to bond with my monsters, get up close and personal. No sleight of hand, no side-long shots, no snippets ….. give me the bad guy or give me death ….. hey, wait, let’s reconsider.

Supposedly it is some conjunction of man & ape with an attitude, from what I can garner. It’s eyes work like some brain zapping machine when you stare into them. It has to be dark to see them tho, which is why I assume 90% of this movie was in the dark and shadows. Once you have made eye contact with this dude, he removes all your brain waves – memories – whatever, who really cares? You die and it has a new place to live.

I will follow you to the ends my Lord
There is also some Svengali like priest dude that is attached at the hip to Cushing and the countess. He is like their psychic from what I could figure out but half way through the deal he switches to the ape-man guy. This could be just to save his miserable butt from being brain-fried, don’t know …. Don’t care. The priest, Father Pujardov, was played by Alberto de Mendoza and was probably the most fun in the movie.

This stellar production was directed by Eugenio Martín and written by Arnaud d'Usseau and Julian Zimet. It won the Catalonian International Film Festival CEC Medal. Must not have been anyone else in contention that year. It’s just bad.

Thanks,
Susi


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More Horror Express reviews
review by . July 15, 2011
An arrogant, ambitious anthropologist (Christopher Lee) encounters a kindly physician (Peter Cushing) while boarding the Trans-Siberian Express in the early 20th century. His cargo consists of an ancient corpse obtained in Manchuria that contains an unimaginable power. Before long, this entity develops a body count and a set of surprisingly lofty goals...      This British/Spanish production has quite a lot to recommend it: an excellent cast, fine cinematography and a cunning …
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Details

Director: Eugenio Martín
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi
Release Date: October, 1972 (Spain), 1973.12.3 (UK), January, 1974 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Arnaud d'Usseau
Runtime: 84 minutes (Spain); 88, 90 minutes (USA)
Studio: Benmar Productions, Granada Films
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