Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Horror Express"(1973)d/Eugenio Martin

"There's a stink of hell on this train. Even the dog knows it!"
The Spaniards and Brits don't get together to make movies too often,but when they do,the finished product is satisfying,at least where this low budgeted kitchen sink number is concerned.You've got Christopher Lee,Peter Cushing,fossilized bigfeet posessed by alien intelligence,bloody white eyes,smooth brains,Rasputin-esque monks,a train fulla zombies,and just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any better,there's Telly Savalas as a brutal kossack.If you were curious,YES he whips someone,and YES,he smokes like there's no tomorrow.This flick is packed engine to kaboose with cult goodness,and it chugs right along to classic-ville.
And I thought Fossils came in tin collectors cases.
Professor Alexander Saxton(the great Christopher Lee)discovers a million year old fossilized anthropoid ape encased in ice while on an expedition in Siberia,and encounters a world of problems transporting it back to dear old Blighty on the Trans-Siberian express.He verbally jousts with countryman Dr. Wells(the late great Peter Cushing)over their conflicting outlooks and opinions as they both board the train,a mysterious Chinese pickpocket already lying dead with white eyes on the platform,next to the trunk containing Saxton's discovery.Also on board this trainride to Hell are an inspector,a female spy,a Russian count and countess,and a host of unsuspecting passengers.When Wells pays off the baggage man to sneak a peak at the contents of the trunk after Saxton has retired to his berth,the fossil picks the lock,and then fries the worker's brain with a lone red eye,overbrimming with untold powers.When the professor later opens the trunk upon insistance from the inspector,the creature is gone,and the baggageman's corpse is there in its place.Amidst the cold,snowy ride through harsh,icy terrain,there's worse danger to fear in the dark on this particular train.
Bad news for the brits:the fossil is gone,and a boiled-eyed,smooth-brained baggage man in it's place.
Though it looks as though the creature has escaped out an open window,it hides in the shadows of the compartments,killing those who cross its path,draining their brains of knowledge,and boiling their eyes in the process,as Saxton and Wells discover through makeshift autopsies of its victims.The men of science deduct that an alien intelligence possesses the primitive beast,and had lay dormant in the ice until Saxton freed it from its snowy prison.Before it can add Wells to its list of horrible murders,the inspector empties his gun into it,but not before the alien presence can transfer itself into the inspector's body.The killings continue,as a telegram for help reaches the next junction and the eyes of Captain Kazan(Telly Savalas),a brutal cossack,who plans to meet the devil head on when the train arrives,whip,knife,and kossack troops in tow.
Photo Explosion SE won't clear up this case of red eye.
Kazan's cruel methods and the Brit's scientific deductions combine to out the alien entity inside the inspector,Mirov,but not before it passes on to the fanatical monk,Pujardov,who takes on the kossack forces with his otherworldly malocchio,then raises them from the dead(!) to finish off the surviving passengers as the train hurtles towards a cliff,with little hope of survival for anybody.Do Wells and Saxton save the day?Does the possessed mad monk take all those aboard to a frigid Hell with him?Add this one to your collection to find out.
Who whips you,baby?Kazan(Telly Savalas) goes through lollipop withdrawal.
There's absolutely no reason to not have this sitting on your dvd shelves,as there's gotta be like 16 different releases of it floating around out there,it being one of those "public domain" movies.The Euroshock version is a cleaned up print,and widescreen,definitely the one to shoot for when you're shopping for it.The producers/director had used the train interior sets and train model itself for the movie they'd just completed previous to this one,"Pancho Villa"(1972),which also starred Telly Savalas.Peter Cushing very nearly bowed out of the production,as his wife had recently died,and were it not for Christopher Lee waxing nostalgic about all the good times they had together on other films,he may not have done this picture.A true cult classic by anyone's standards,to ol' Wop A. Licious,it rates:
When Pujardov(Alberto de Mendoza)sees red,the passengers are in trouble.


Anonymous said...

Coproducción Rubia Albion/Patria de Cervantes

beedubelhue said...

Gracias por esto!


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