Horror Express

February 18, 2017 at 11:52 pm (7 Heads, Horror Express) (, , , , , , )

Horror Express – 1972 – England/Spain

In the year 1906, an English anthropologist finds the “missing link” in a Manchurian cave. He is traveling with the specimen on the Trans-Siberian Express when the creature comes to life and prowls the train. Whoever meets its glowing red gaze dies suddenly. Their eyes turn white and (an autopsy reveals) their brains become completely smooth. It turns out that the creature is actually inhabited by an alien parasite made of pure energy. The alien steals people’s memories in hopes of gaining the scientific know-how to get home.

The concept of a Neanderthal being possessed by an alien is original. Horror Express’s science fiction elements may be unrealistic, but they are compellingly weird. A train on the Trans-Siberian Express is a great setting too. Its diverse passengers include some English scientists, a Polish count and countess, a Rasputin-like monk, a female spy, and a maniacal Cossack. When the killings start, the train is isolated in the Siberian tundra. Its narrow hallways and compartments begin to feel very claustrophobic.

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing star as scientists trying to unravel the mysterious murders. Cushing’s character is a clever, unflappable chap who has all the funniest lines. The deranged monk is also notable, especially when he calls the alien Satan and begins to worship it. He soon becomes possessed too. In the film’s most horrific scene, he kills a train car full of soldiers with his glowing eyes.

Rating: 7/10 Shrunken Heads. There are probably other horror films set on trains, but I can’t think of any aside from Midnight Meat Train (2008).

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