Sunday, 25 March 2018

Horror Express (1972)

A joint UK / Spanish production Horror Express pairs the Wyrd Britain dream team of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing with Kojak himself, Telly Savalas, on a Trans-Siberian train journey.

Vaguely based on the sci fi classic 'The Thing From Another World' (later remade by John Carpenter without the last three words in the title) it's the story of English anthropologist Professor Sir Alexander Saxton (Lee) returning home with his prize archaeological find, the frozen remains of an early humanoid creature that he believes to be the evolutionary  missing link which defrosts and begins killing the passengers by draining their brains using it's glowing red eye.

Despite it's giallo origins the film has a heart that is pure Hammer  - with those two stars how could it be anything else - but mixed in with a slightly more sci fi storyline than is usually the case with these things that reflects the source material.

Cushing and Lee are, of course, fantastic with a chemistry honed by decades of collaboration and friendship but the cast are generally strong; Savalas bristles with machismo as the Cossack Captain, Silvia Tortosa is effortlessly cool as Countess Irina Petrovski and Alberto de Mendoza is in full on starey, glarey mad monk mode as Father Pujardov.  The end result is a fun and frolicsome horror movie made on a relatively small budget that makes good use of the confines of its setting to build tension and also to ground the movie as it's more outrageous elements are introduced.

Buy it here - Horror Express [DVD] - or watch it below


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