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Horror Express (1972)

Pánico en el Transiberiano (original title)
In 1906, in China, a British anthropologist discovers a frozen prehistoric creature and must transport it to Europe by train.

Director:

Eugenio Martín (as Gene Martin)

Writers:

Arnaud d'Usseau (screenplay), Julian Zimet (screenplay)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Lee ... Prof. Sir Alexander Saxton
Peter Cushing ... Dr. Wells
Alberto de Mendoza ... Father Pujardov
Silvia Tortosa Silvia Tortosa ... Countess Irina Petrovska
Julio Peña ... Inspector Mirov
Ángel del Pozo ... Yevtushenko (as Angel del Pozo)
Helga Liné ... Natasha (as Helga Line)
George Rigaud ... Count Maryan Petrovski (as Jorge Rigaud)
Alice Reinheart Alice Reinheart ... Miss Jones
José Jaspe ... Konev - Conductor (as Jose Jaspe)
Víctor Israel ... Baggage Man (as Victor Israel)
Juan Olaguivel Juan Olaguivel ... Creature (as Juan Olaguibel)
Vicente Roca Vicente Roca ... Station Master
Barta Barri ... First Telegraphist
José Marco José Marco ... Vorkin (as Jose Marco)
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Storyline

An English anthropologist has discovered a frozen monster in the frozen wastes of Manchuria which he believes may be the Missing Link. He brings the creature back to Europe aboard a trans-Siberian express, but during the trip the monster thaws out and starts to butcher the passengers one by one. Written by Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Your Non Stop Ride to Hell Boards at 8 P.M. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Spain

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Horror Express See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Blu-ray)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frequent airings on television throughout the 1970s and 1980s helped to gain this movie a devoted cult following amongst horror fans. See more »

Goofs

When the telegrapher announces what the government officials want done with the train and its on-board monster, the telegrapher says that the train is to be shunted to a dead-stop side track, further up the line. The interrogator asks, "Upon who's order?" and the telegrapher answers, "Moscow orders it." Until the Bolsheviks gained control of Russia, Petersburg was still the capital. Moscow was restored as capital in 1918. See more »

Quotes

Yevtushenko: I'm an engineer. A scientist. And this is ordinary chalk. How do you explain it not writing on that crate?
Professor Saxton: Hypnosis! Yoga! These mystics can be terribly convincing. They can even hypnotize themselves.
See more »

Alternate Versions

DVD by Image Entertainment is 88 minutes long, the original theatrical version. DVD by Simitar Video is 85 minutes long, the television version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Devil Returns (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Undeservedly forgotten horror film - one of the better examples of Lee and Cushing working together in the '70s.
18 February 2005 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. The two go together like strawberries and cream, like white wine and fish. One is a glove, the other is a hand that fits perfectly inside. The Lee/Cushing partnership made many movies together during the '50s, '60s and '70s, including some of the finest Hammer horror movies. Of their three decades as screen partners, their work from the 1970s is probably their weakest - Nothing But The Night, Dracula AD 1972, and The Satanic Rites Of Dracula are inferior examples of their films together. However, even in he '70s "low period" they still served up the occasional gem. The Creeping Flesh was a nicely done horror flick with a wickedly unexpected twist ending, and this - known in America and Britain as "Horror Express" - is a powerful and inventive bloodcurdler with a sprinkling of science fiction.

In Siberia, 1906, anthropologist Alexander Saxton (Lee) finds a frozen creature which he believes to be the Missing Link. He transports the being back to western Europe by trans-Siberian train. Aboard the train are the usual assorted types:- a Polish countess (Silvia Tortosa); her husband (Jorge Rigaud); a mad monk seemingly modelled on Rasputin (Alberto De Mendoza); and a fellow scientist and long-time rival of Saxton's, the charismatic Dr Wells (Cushing). Midway through the journey, as the train passes through a desolate snowscape many miles from civilisation, the creature thaws out and begins killing the passengers. Wells carries out an autopsy on the corpses and realises that they are not up against the Missing Link, but a weird alien organism which inhabits the bodies of its victims and steals their memories. As the finger of suspicion falls upon each character, the scientists try to figure out which passenger is "carrying" the shape-shifting monster, while trying to keep everyone safe and alive.

Horror Express has its share of dumb moments (what horror film doesn't?) but in the main it is quite an intelligent and original piece. Some of the supporting actors are quite amateurish, too, giving performances that distract one's attention for the wrong reasons. However, Cushing and Lee are believable as always, and it's their straight-faced conviction which makes the story as spine-tingling as it is. There is also a well-developed subtext in the film condemning religious fanaticism, with Mendoza's character shown to be so unreasonable and misguided that his "Christian" rantings are every bit as disturbing as the teachings of a heretic. The atmosphere is spookily maintained, with lots of eerie scenes (which probably got many a heart fluttering back in 1973, in the pre-Exorcist days of the horror genre). In particular, the climactic sequence in which Cossack soldiers, led by Telly Savalas, board the train only to be zombified by the deadly alien, is a chilling episode. You may need to be a fan of old-school horror flicks to enjoy Horror Express, but if you are it's definitely one worth seeking out.


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