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>
Most of this movie was shot without audio recording; the soundtracks and dialogue were all added in post-production. Sir Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and Telly Savalas provided their own voices for this movie's English-speaking version. See more »
When the train passes by in the shot just before the opening credits, the shadow of the camera crew is visible on the ground. See more »
Professor Alexander Saxton:
The following report to the Royal Geological Society by the undersigned, Alexander Saxton, is a true and faithful account of events that befell the Society's expedition in Manchuria. As the leader of the expedition, I must accept responsibility for its ending in disaster, but I leave to the judgement of the honorable members of the Society the decision as to where the blame for the catastrophe lies.
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In the opening credits of the English-language VHS version, Christopher Lee's name is misspelled as "Cristopher". See more »
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 »
All aboard the Trans-Siberian Express - non stop to the shores of hell. That's the interpretation of the priest character on board. But he's off-base; it's an alien monster that's causing all the trouble - a monster derivative of "The Thing" story, but about 10 years before John Carpenter presented his version. The creature is literally millions of years old, having passed through various forms as life evolved on Earth; then someone makes the mistake of storing it on board in a frozen apelike fossil. Next thing you know, certain individuals are behaving strangely, with glowing red eyes, and others turn up dead with eyes whited out (and brains drained). This, of course, benefits from the umpteenth pairing of Lee and Cushing; Lee is the arrogant scientist here and Cushing is again a doctor. Much of the entertaining dialogue stems from the conflict between science and religion, during the transitional phase of the early 20th century. The priest rants on about Satan; Lee calls it rubbish. Here's a typical quote from the priest: 'There's the stench of death on board this train; even the dog knows it.' The dog belongs to a couple of aristocratic Russians on board.
At the one hour mark, Savalas shows up as a power-mad Cossack with his soldiers, ready to kick everyone to hell and back. He manages to make quite an impression in the next 15 minutes as the death toll escalates. He and the two leads (British all the way) sort of ham it up, as if knowing they're in some crackerjack cheesy horror material, but there's also quite a bit of eeriness to the proceedings. The filmmakers managed to get the nice train set from an earlier big budget production and made good use of it. The train itself becomes nearly another character, hurtling through the dark with snow and a chill wind all around, and the interior set design is quite good. The musical score is also unusual; when one expects ominous tones during some sequences, instead we get a kind of tuneful melody. But the best thing about this is the concept itself - this thing, this form of energy, having been around forever and theoretically capable of curing all our ills, contents itself with the easy kill. Boy, does it like to drain brains.
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