31 Days of Horror: Day 29- Horror Express

Posted October 29, 2017 by Thomas James Juretus in Movies

It’s Day 29, and were edging closer to the end of our creepy cinematic journey. Today’s entry is the 1972 movie Horror Express, the second movie adapted from the novella “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell Jr. (the first was Howard Hawkes’ 1951 classic The Thing from Another World). An anthropologist, Professor Sir Alexander Saxton (Christopher Lee), has discovered a frozen ape-man during an expedition in Manchuria. Believing it to be the missing link, he transports it by train back to Europe aboard the Trans-Siberian Express. Also aboard the train is Dr. Wells (Peter Cushing). Before boarding, a man tries to open the crate, and is found murdered, his eyes turned white. Once on the train, the creature in the crate thaws out, and more killings occur. An inspector (Julio Pena) attempts to aid the two scientists in trying to solve the mystery. Eventually soldiers under the command of Captain Kazan (Telly Savalas) board the train to confront the menace.

The movie is a nice mix of classic horror and science fiction as we find the creature is not of this world. The creature itself is on the creepy side, as our the remains of its victims. The cast is terrific, as its always great to see the two legends of Lee and Cushing work together. The other characters we meet are also well portrayed, especially the priest, Father Pujardov (Alberto de Mendoza),and the Countess Irina (Silvia Tortosa). Savalas may have only a small part, but he’s very enjoyable when he’s onscreen, strutting about and drinking vodka as he commands the passengers. The effects used were very effective, both in showing the results of the creature’s attacks and the creature itself. The director Eugenio Martin (credited here as Gene Martin) maintains an atmosphere of mystery and paranoia aboard the train as the creature moves from one body to the next. One can definitely see how this would come to influence future films that would use a similar concept. The movie is available on both DVD and Blu-ray, and is well worth checking out. 8/10 stars

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Thomas James Juretus