Horror Express (1972)

January 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

So there’s this Neanderthal man found frozen somewhere in Asia, now being loaded onto a train by an arrogant professor (Christopher Lee) and as it turns out, it has a sort of glowing eye, is very much alive, and can grab people by the head and suck all the knowledge out of their brains, leaving them a corpse with plain white, colourless eyes.

As the weird-ass Neanderthal (actually an alien, it becomes more and more obvious) grows in strength, the whole thing plays out in the cramped, confined space of the train like some kind of horror version of an Agatha Christie plot.  The Christopher Lee character is given able assistance from an ultra-polite professor of some kind played by Peter Cushing.  The monster starts switching bodies, everyone is supect, there’s a cop, a countess, some kind of mad monk who believes the alien is Satan himself, and Telly Savalas shows up as a Russian officer with a New York accent.  There’s even an autopsy at one point that makes the X-Files look tame. Neanderthal dude claims he’ll cure illnesses and advance science by a few hundred years if he’s just allowed to hang around and, well, crush people into oblivion.

Why don’t they make bizarre, fun horror films like this anymore, instead of the joyless slaughter porn of recent years? Oh, and Peter Cushing (fast becoming one of my personal heroes) gets the best line in the film, when it’s suggested he or Christopher Lee could be possessed by the monster: “Monsters?  We’re British!”

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