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Horror Express - Blu-ray - Severin Films Print E-mail
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Written by Chris Mayo   
Friday, 09 December 2011
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Cover Art for Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema
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AKA: Panic in the Trans-Siberian Train, Dödsexpressen, Dolofonia sto express tou tromou, Expres hruzy, Expresso do Horror, Kauhun pikajuna, Pánico en el Transiberiano, Terreur dans le Shanghaï-Express

Directed by: Eugenio Martín
Written by: Arnaud d'Usseau, Julian Zimet
Produced by: Bernard Gordon
Cinematography by: Alejandro Ulloa
Editing by: Robert C. Dearberg
Special Effects by: Pablo Pérez
Music by: John Cacavas
Cast: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto de Mendoza, Silvia Tortosa, Julio Peña, Ángel del Pozo, Telly Savalas
Year: 1972
Country: UK, Spain
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1 h 30 min

Studio: Severin Films

 

Horror Express” begins set in 1906.  Via voiceover, it is revealed to the viewer that this is a recounting of the events of a disastrous expedition through Manchuria.  Professor Alexander Saxton (Christopher Lee, "Dracula: Prince of Darkness"), the leader of the expedition, recounts this through his report to the Royal Geological Society.

The team explores a cavern in Manchuria.  There they find a skeleton/ape-like creature encapsulated in shards of ice.  The team boxes up their finding in a chained, locked crate and makes their way to Shanghai in order to catch the Trans-Siberian Railway.  There, Professor Saxton runs into Dr. Wells (Peter Cushing, "The House That Dripped Blood"), a fellow colleague who is also “coincidentally” riding the train.  After some confusion with Saxton’s accommodations the local law enforcement grants Saxton a passing and he’s on his way with the crate.  Not before, however, a “dirty thief” attempts to break into the crate, causing his eyes to turn bloodshot and milky-white ending in his ultimate demise.  Next, insert a warning of imminent dread, when a religious man, Father Pujardov (Alberto de Mendoza) asserts that the crate is evil and the work of the devil.  “Whatever you have here is unholy, and must be destroyed” he warns.  Paying no heed to this cautioning the crate is placed aboard and the train leaves.

Fortunately, the film wastes no time removing the creature from the crate, for it reaches for a nail and uses it’s hominid lock picking skills to unlock the crate.  During it’s escape, a baggage man on the train becomes it’s next victim.  This time we see how he meets his demise.  One of the creature’s eyes glows red, the man’s eyes turn milky-white, dripping blood, similar to the previous victim and then his time runs out.

As the story develops it is revealed that the creature has been absorbing the knowledge of it’s victims by way of frying the brain with it’s glowing red eye.  With each casualty, the creature not only takes a life but also the knowledge that the human brain holds.  From here the plot continues to evolve in “Horror Express” and as new circumstances are revealed, the bloody-white-eyed victims continue to amass.

This UK/Spanish production by Spanish director Eugenio Martín has a unique ever growing storyline that keeps you on your toes.  The setting of the film is a great one: a primitive creature murders it’s victims, the whole while this train is blasting down the tracks through a snowy wasteland backdrop.  While the subject matter could be considered tame by today’s standards it is still rather grisly for the times, with bleeding eyeballs and head dissections exposing freshly erased brains from underneath skullcaps.  The creature, while rather crudely conceptualized, is still pretty cool looking.  The body is a man in an ape suit, and the face is like a cross between a zombie from “Burial Ground,” “The Incredible Melting Man” and an ape.  The rough look for the creature seems to lend an air of awesomeness to the film much like the zombies from “Burial Ground.”

Horror Express” is a great horror film with Hammer Horror powerhouses Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and until now has dwindled in the abyss that is public domain movie bargain bins.  Telly Savalas (“The Dirty Dozen,” “Lisa and the Devil”) also makes an appearance as Captain Kazan, an imposing Cossack Officer.

Severin Films injects new life into “Horror Express” with this Blu-ray/DVD Combo release.  The transfer has been re-mastered from vault elements unearthed from a Mongolian film depot!  It is presented 1.66:1 anamorphic, 1080p, MPEG-4 AVC on a 25GB disc.  The film exhibits a fair amount of visual blemishes and film damage.  There are flecks, blotches and scratches throughout but it never becomes too distracting.  The print the film was taken from obviously had some imperfections but overall this is rather minor and the film looks good being both vibrant and crisp.  The audio is presented English Dobly Digital Mono and Spanish Dolby Digital Stereo (even though the packaging says mono).  Obviously the soundtrack has a central focus from your speakers but works well for this 1972 film.  There are several Special Features included in this release.  We begin with a 7-minute ‘Introduction by Fangoria Editor Chris Alexander’, who really shows his appreciation for the film and films from this era in general.  Next, is a recent interview with the director of the film running 14-minutes entitled ‘Murder On The Trans-Siberian Express: New Interview With Director Eugenio Martin’.  Moving on we have a 30-minute interview with the producer of the film from 2005 entitled ‘Notes From The Blacklist: Producer Bernard Gordon Discusses The McCarthy Era’ where he discusses being blacklisted from Hollywood.  ‘1973 Audio Interview With Peter Cushing’ runs the length of the film and acts as a commentary.  ‘Telly And Me: New Interview With Composer John Cacavas’ runs 8-minutes in length.  Completing the extras is a ‘Theatrical Trailer’ for “Horror Express” as well as other Severin Films trailers for “Psychomania,” “The House That Dripped Blood” and “Nightmare Castle.”

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema



 

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Title Card from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Severin Films Blu-ray release of "Horror Express" on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 BLU-RAY: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 1080p MPEG-4 AVC
 Region: A
 Audio:
English Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish Dolby Digital Stereo

 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - Murder On The Trans-Siberian Express: New Interview With Director Eugenio Martin
 - Notes From The Blacklist: Producer Bernard Gordon Discusses The McCarthy Era
 - 1973 Audio Interview With Peter Cushing
 - Telly And Me: New Interview With Composer John Cacavas
 - Introduction by Fangoria Editor Chris Alexander
 - Theatrical Trailer

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Friday, 09 December 2011 )
 
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