Horror Express (1972) Poster

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A first class ticket of horror !!!
Coventry22 December 2003
Pardon my enthusiasm but Horror Express really is a must see for all fans of classic horror. It simply is one of the best horror movies made in the seventies and I can't think of many aspects about it that are negative. First of all it stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. There.that should already be enough as a recommendation. These gentlemen are one THE greatest duo in horror ever and they didn't do their finest work just for Hammer Studio's exclusively. And the fun doesn't stop with these two icons.Horror Express also stars Telly `Kojak' Savalas in a delightful role. It's actually a shame that his screentime is rather limited because he manages to impress as much as Lee and Cushing. He clearly enjoyed playing Captain Kazan and he makes the most of his performance.

But Horror Express has a lot more to offer than just good acting. It's a powerful and fascinating story that delivers a good old fashioned amount of scares and atmosphere. The entire story takes place on a old train which is the ideal setting for a film like this. The old and noisy carriages create a unique atmosphere of claustrophobia and the `nowhere to run'-element is used to the max. The plotline itself surprisingly good and it keeps you alert during the entire movie. This is also thanks to the several other, interesting topics that are included in the movie like anthropology, religion and the evolution-theory. Sure, the entire screenplay is illogical and the plot contains as many holes as a small Swiss cheese but - seriously - who cares. I prefer this kind of silly inspiration and creativity a million times over the horror crap they make nowadays !! Horror Express is - simply put - a must see ! I'd even say it's essential viewing if you're looking for the highlights in the genre. It's original, creepy ( even pretty bloody and violent ), it contains enough humor to moderate things and most of all.it's very entertaining. Climb on board and find yourself a seat.Horror Express is one movie you won't regret watching !!
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BaronBl00d9 February 2000
Picture a frozen ape man discovered by a British archeologist and scientist at the turn of the century, and being placed aboard a Trans-Siberian railway from China to Russia..and you have the beginning of Horror Express. Christopher Lee plays the man who finds this fossil, as he calls it, which turns out to be so much more. The film itself is beautiful as we see this elegant train traveling across snow-covered terrain(actually filmed in Spain). The cast of characters aboard are of equal interest. Peter Cushing plays a scientist named Dr. Wells. For Cushing, this is a fine performance of a scientist less hypnotized by the ethic of science and more worldly. He bribes officials to get train tickets, has a baggage man drill holes in Professor Saxton's(Lee's) discovery, flirts with both his manly lady assistant and a beautiful stow-a-way, and in general seems less serious than many of his former roles. Nice to see him occasionally smile. Lee's professor is quite typical of Lee, burly, officious, obnoxious, and willful. Both Cushing and Lee are extraordinary and sights to behold as they waltz through the script of finding the creature which is wiping the minds of various peoples. The rest of the cast is also very good with a Rasputin-like monk stealing scene after scene. Horror Express is fast-paced action, inventive science fiction, gory thrills, and chilling horror. Indeed it is worth a look!
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Great Yarn
withnail-414 August 2000
Judged on its own terms--as a 70s ghoul movie--this film should be rated a 10 out of 10! The plot is well-structured and tightly directed, and contains lots of great elements: 1906 setting, fancy trans-Siberian train ride, a ghoul, a mad monk, alien theorizing a-la-X-files, zombie soldiers stalking, Peter Cushing sawing the top of somebody's head off, a beautiful spy, eyeballs in a dish, a beautiful Polish Countess, and, believe it or not, it's all very cohesive! That's an admirable achievement

And the acting is great. The Monk is a scene-stealer. Christopher Lee gets to play a testy, priggish Edwardian scientist, and he does it very well. Cushing's character plays off Lee's stodginess as a laid-back deal-maker(yes, he actually smiles and cracks jokes)These two performances prove that Lee and Cushing were both gifted and versatile actors. Telly Savalas arrives for the final act, and proceeds to strut around and chew up the scenery on a level that would make Rod Steiger or Al Pacino jealous. This movie is one of the best of its type. Yes, in the first two minutes you can see signs of a limited budget, and yes, the microscope scene is ludicrous, but in a way, on the level of imagination and poetic license, it's pure genius.

Corrections: a certain "Dik" offered this information while commenting:

1. "An Italian film".(It's a Spanish/UK production) 2. "Lee plays an American Scientist"(the first thing you hear in the movie is Lee saying he is part of the ROYAL Archeological Society, and there's also a lengthy exchange about his character's Englishness: "Queen Victoria, crumpets, Shakespeare"...etc.(The commentator actually goes on about how Lee's portrayal of an American reflects how foreigners view Americans. Well...there's a little problem with that idea, isn't there?)
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I loved it!
Boba_Fett113823 October 2004
The first halve of this movie is pretty standard seventies horror stuff like featured in most of the old Hammer movies. The second halve however really surprised and impressed me. I loved it!

I really love old-horror movies with both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in it. In this movie they are better than ever together. Their acting is superb and so is the rest of the cast even though it is a bit strange that almost all of the Russians are played by Spanish people. Telly Savalas also shows up in a fun role. Savalas is probably best known for portraying Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" but he also played in classics like: "Cape Fear" (1962), "Kelly's Heroes", "Capricorn One" and "The Dirty Dozen". It's wonderful to see such fine acting in one movie because normally mainly it are just only Cushing and Lee who are the only good actors in a movie like this.

Also this movie is actually scary and gory and it has a really good atmosphere. It starts like some kind of monster movie like "Creature From the Black Lagoon" but the second halve of the movie is more like a Zombie movie like "Lifeforce" (which is an underrated horror classic in my opinion with a great soundtrack). A combination that worked really well for me.

The story stays simple and of course ridicules but it still is better than 90% of the other movies from the same genre and it actually goes deeper in trying to explain some of the things.

In my opinion a real horror classic!


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Body- hopping alien on the Trans-Siberian Express!
Raegan Butcher10 June 2006
This was a very enjoyable movie. The story--about a body hopping alien loose aboard the trans-Siberian railroad in 1906--is like a dry run for all those X-Files to come, not to mention FALLEN. If you crossed the X-Files with Murder on The Orient Express you'd come close what is on display here. I really wasn't expecting much from this movie and maybe that is why i was so pleasantly surprised. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee--given a rare chance to play allies instead of enemies--rise to the occasion and deliver spot-on performances that are filled with an infectious wit and good humor. And the incomparable TELLY SAVALAS--in what is really only a glorified cameo--makes the most of his opportunity--arrogantly strutting thru the train swilling vodka and chewing on the scenery with delight.The director shows a real flair for developing an atmosphere of paranoia and fear and the screenplay is, quite simply, completely bonkers! The feverish pacing keeps everything hurtling forward with an hysterical abandon and a fine (if perhaps at the time, unwitting)comic edge.

If you are a fan of The X files, Agatha Christie murder mysteries, Brit horror icons Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, or just like movies set in Siberia featuring the dessicated remains of body hopping alien parasites--then HORROR EXPRESS is the film for you! Enjoy!
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Red Eyes, White Eyes - on a Train,Draining Brain
Bogmeister3 March 2006
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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Compact, eerie and intriguing low budget thriller
rixrex23 May 2004
An intriguing idea of a "spirit" of pure evil with the ability to jump from body to body aboard a trans-siberian train. Well done considering budget constraints, and claustrophobic. Lee and Cushing are fine, but it's Telly Savales who chews the scenery to good effect. He is an unexpected treat as a bullying cossack officer and good counterpoint to Lee and Cushing as civilized gentlemen. Don't expect a slick Hollywood production and you won't be disappointed. I watched this on late night TV spookfests everytime it was on during the late 70s and saw something new each time. It's something like a cross between Hammer and Argento, and a little bit of Corman, too.
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The real deal!
GroovyDoom19 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers

I've noticed that some people refer to this movie as "obscure", which baffles me because I used to watch it all the time on television in the 70s & early 80s, back when it was still fun to watch late-nite TV (before the dawn of the infomercial). For a number of years, all you had to do was turn on the TV after midnight and eventually you'd catch "Horror Express".

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing play two "distinguished gentlemen" at odds with a nasty frozen "fossil" that Chris picked up in the far East and is now taking back to Europe on the Trans-Siberian Express. The fossil, a half man/half ape Neanderthal that he believes may be the missing link, thaws out and becomes surprisingly animated. The creature begins attacking and murdering the passengers, draining them of their brain contents through their eyes, which turn white and bleed. Later, the fossil is shot down and "killed", and it's only then that we learn the true threat: a formless, extraterrestrial "intelligence" that can inhabit living bodies by entering through the eyes. The "brain sucking" allows it to absorb the intelligence of its victim, resulting in a cunning (and seemingly unstoppable) adversary.

"Horror Express" has got a wonderful European atmosphere to it, in the tradition of the best 70s genre films, and it is a real treat for those who appreciate this kind of thing. Although it's a low-budget Spanish production, it's almost on par with the best of the Hammer productions. The presence of Lee and Cushing might actually make you think it's Hammer, but when Telly Savalas shows up to keep order on the train, you'll know it's not.

The sets are weird and appropriately eerie. It's not quite as claustrophobic as a real train might be, the cars look a little too wide and a little too opulent. However, the miniature shots of the train are not all that bad for a low budget film. The movie does manage to be genuinely chilling in some places, especially the climax of the film that gives us an undead army of bleeding, white-eyed victims. Only a few campy sequences hold it back from being a real classic (the textbook drawings that are supposed to pass for real-life images they find in the creature's eyeball, for one). But so little to complain about in a film so delicious. Definitely worth your time, especially late late at night!
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A fantastic 70s horror movie
. .6 December 2013
This is simply a very good movie. There is really nothing about it to dislike. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are the biggest names and they work well together on the screen. Telly Savalas shows up towards the ending, and makes a great performance.

The movie is very impressively made. It is a work of art. Other than horror qualities, the acting is great and the setting works perfectly. This is one of those movies who works good on every level. The acting, the pacing and the sets are all perfect. The special effects in this one are still very fascinating and scary.

This is one of my absolute favorite movies and I highly recommend it to everybody.
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A simply terrific period sci-fi/horror treat
Woodyanders28 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In 1906 haughty, insensitive anthropologist Alexander Saxton (Christopher Lee in peak snobby form) discovers a missing link humanoid creature frozen in a block of ice in the mountains of China. Saxton ships the hairy thing across the country on the Trans-Siberian Express. The monster, possessed by a non-corporeal alien intelligence which uses human bodies as a vessel to inhibit, wakes up, gets loose and sucks various folks' brains dry so it can absorb the knowledge it needs to build a spaceship to get back to its home planet. It's up to Saxton and his more humane rival Dr. Wells (beautifully played by the always excellent Peter Cushing) to thwart the evil extraterrestrial entity.

This infectiously energetic, inventive and imaginative period sci-fi/horror combo treat gets by on the sheer basis of its unrelenting headlong momentum, tightly wound narrative and furiously busy multi-charactered story. But that's not all that this delightful humdinger has to offer: We also get punchy direction from Eugenio Martin, a wildly stirring conclusion in which the out-of-control train hurtles towards a cliff while its surviving passengers are terrorized by freshly revived zombies (!), a fabulously funky score by John ("Airport '75") Cacavas which comes complete with a burning fuzztone guitar riff and an eerie whistled theme worthy of Ennio Morricone, a then novel "body jump" premise which was later reused in a handful of 80's fright films (John Carpenter's "The Thing," "The Hidden," "Shocker," "The Horror Show," "The First Power," et al), a wonderfully witty rat-a-tat-tat rapport between the deliciously dynamic and redoubtable duo of Lee and Cushing as reluctant allies, and a superb supporting cast which includes a splendidly frantic eye-rolling hambone turn by Telly Savalas as a loutish, overbearing Cossack (!) police captain, Albert ("Open Season," "The People Who Own the Dark") de Mendoza as a deranged Rasputin-like monk, comely redhead soft-core film regular Helga ("The Vampires' Night Orgy") Line as a sexy, beguiling spy, and the ubiquitous Vic Israel (Spanish horror cinema's Mr. Cellophane) as an ill-fated baggage man. Moreover, the picture deserves further kudos for directly addressing the ethical repercussions intrinsic to unearthing and subsequently proving the existence of the fabled missing link: When Line accuses Lee's postulation that man naturally evolved from the apes as being "immoral," Lee flatly responds: "It's a fact -- and there's no morality in a fact." This audacious subtext, specifically devised by screenwriters Arnaud D' Usseau and Julian Halevy to challenge mankind's preconceived beliefs about his own evolution, clinches this honey's status as one of the all-time great early 70's low-budget horror winners.
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Great teaming of Cushing and Lee in horrific chiller
Renaldo Matlin19 June 1999
A sadly neglected and underrated horror story. Every avid fan of either Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing should see it! Consider the setting; a trainload of passengers on the Transsiberian Express, with no way to go -trapped with a spooky prehistoric monster! It has a feel of low-budget italian productions, but it's not enough to spoil the great atmosphere of this old-fashioned fright night. And how many times do you get to see Cushing and Lee on the same side, battling the same foe? The climax, which resembles a zombie-movie could very well be the scariest in the history of all on-screen train rides!
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A great B-movie, if that is not a contradiction of terms
SnorriGodhi1 July 2006
This movie sets itself a modest purpose: to keep us entertained for one and a half hours. It succeeds brilliantly, as long as we allow it to succeed, that is, as long as we are willing and eager to be entertained.

This is one of only two thrillers that I know of, in which almost the entire story takes place on board a train: the other is Murder on the Orient Express. The setting works very well in both movies, but I found Horror Express to be more satisfying. At the beginning, as the cast of characters got settled in the train, I got settled in my chair, eager for the journey to start. During the journey, there is enough suspense to keep the viewer interested, but nobody (except the very young or the very sensitive) needs to worry about being scared, or grossed out by gore. I must admit to not having paid too close attention to the plot, but this probably contributes to the enjoyment, and it means that I can enjoy seeing it again.

In short, this movie is jolly good fun as long as you are not too demanding in terms of plot or character development. One of my favorite horror movies.
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The best of it's kind
besasquatch21 July 2006
Plenty has already been written on here about the stars and plot of this movie,Lee and Cushing are in top form.Savalas is like Kojak with a Russian costume,"Do you believe in Satan little papa?"The monk Pujardov is awesome,The train chugging thru the Siberian landscape,set to some of the Most awesome music ever heard on any horror flick,fuzzed out guitars groan and boink over an eerie and hauntingly beautiful whistled Russian waltz and the train whistle,making a haunting theme,rivaling the soundtrack for The Good,The Bad,and The Ugly. The plot is full of unexpected twists and you are never quite sure if the entity is Satan or a displaced alien,when Pujardov is host to it he says he was an alien traveler left behind,but Satan is a notorious liar,so you are never quite sure,witness the chalk not writing on the box as the monk attempts to draw a cross on it.International spies,mad momks,Satanic entities ,fried eyballs,crazy kossaks,Cushing and Lee,all this makes this one of the greatest low budget flicks ever made,Pick this one up out of the bargain bin for a couple bucks, you won't go wrong!
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Undeservedly forgotten horror film - one of the better examples of Lee and Cushing working together in the '70s.
Jonathon Dabell18 February 2005
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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Seventies Cult Classic
thehappycobbler15 July 2000
Horror Express - Ingredients: A missing link unearthed from its icy tomb; an isolated train journey through snow-swept China and Russia; a mad monk; murder; startling discoveries and twists; a dash of comedy. Also add Christopher Lee; Peter Cushing; Telly Savalas. Place into pot and mix well, then prepare for one suspense thrilled journey. You will not be disappointed!
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Very enjoyable Euro horror.
Paul Andrews28 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Horror Express starts in Provincia de Szechuan, China during 1906 as a British expedition lead by anthropologist Professor Alexander Saxon (Christopher Lee) discover the frozen fossilised corpse of a two million year old Ape man. Together with his unique specimen Professor Saxon boards the a train to Russia in Pekin, also boarding the train is Dr. Wells (Peter Cushing) a rival scientist. As the train speeds through the icy wastelands the Ape man comes to life possessed by an alien energy creature capable of jumping from body to body & sucking the thoughts, ideas & knowledge from it's victims minds. A hunt is mounted to discover which passenger is possessed with the evil alien...

This Spanish British co-production was directed by Eugenio Martin & is an entertainingly absurd sci-fi period horror flick that is hard not to like. The script by Arnaud d'Usseau & Julian Zimet takes the basic premise from The Thing from Another World (1951) with it's story of a frozen alien found by unsuspecting explorers & adds a little bit of The Hidden (1987) in as well with it's body jumping alien & even manages to throw a tiny bit of The Night of the Living Dead (1968) into the mix with it's horde of zombies at the climax. One could also say Horror Express takes both it's setting & it's title from the action adventure Shangai Express (1932). The one thing that shines through about Horror Express is that it's very entertaining in it's silliness, a two million year old fossil coming to life, the sucking of people's minds dry, the idea that it's all down to a millions year old alien & the the scientifically unsound notion that images are somehow stored in eyeball fluid. It all works really well to create a unique horror film with a good story that continues to develop throughout it's duration, the character's are good & there's the expected religious reasoning as well which is disproved in favour of more scientific explanations. Overall Horror Express is a much better film than I had expect & as a film you can see that it has itself influenced quite a few other films that have been made since.

Director Martin does a good job, there is indeed a sense that we are traveling on a train at the turn of the century. The period Hammer horror style production design & costumes are excellent. According to the IMDb the train interior sets & the model train used for the exterior shots were the same that the producer/director had used for their previous film Pancho Villa (1972) although other sources state that producer Bernard Gordon brought the train model from the big budget Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) & decided to make a film around it with both sounding equally plausible in the world of low budget exploitation & horror film-making. Whichever is true (if either are) the makers certainly get a lot of use out of the train model since every two minutes they cut to a shot of it speeding along the track, seriously if you were to edit out all the train model shots then I think Horror Express would be a good twenty odd minutes shorter. There's not much gore, there's some blood, there's a dissected eyeball & a surprisingly graphic autopsy scene for the time where Cushing saws the top of a corpses head off to expose the brain.

Technically the film is well made with that 70's period Hammer horror atmosphere which makes so much difference, the way it's shot & the way the sets are so detailed really help make Horror Express look higher budget than it was. The model train shots look a little fake at times though, the monster is wisely kept in the shadows most of the time & the cheesy red eye effect often feels out of place. There's a good cast here with English horror stalwarts Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing who both turn in fine performances as one would expect. The bald one himself Telly Savalas has a small cameo as a Russian cossack & camps it up superbly. The rest of the cast while not as well know put in decent performances.

Horror Express is a highly enjoyable & likable sci-fi horror film in the best tradition of Hammer horror with a good cast & it has an adventurous story that tries to be different as it mixes religion, horror & sci-fi. Much better than I had expected & well worth a watch.
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Wonderful, inventive 70's horror flick.
roddmatsui6 October 2006
It's got a stylish, modern title, and its opening titles are in a slick, hyper-modern font...from the opening moments, this is clearly a film for the modern mind. But it's actually a period film...and it closes with a rock music version of its theme...I guess we could call this Period Cool!

A frozen ape creature dug up in an archaeological expedition comes to life and begins killing the passengers of the Trans-Siberian Express. That may sound like sufficient material for a low-budget horror piece. But two sparring scientists on the train quickly discover that much more is going on. The enigmatic creature appears to be getting smarter with each person it kills--indeed, it appears to be draining the minds of its victims and absorbing their intelligence. There's more, much more--and you're going to have to watch the film to find out what happens.

This is one of the best horror films of the 1970's...featuring many creative ideas and a fine cast including Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Telly Savalas (who steals the show during his brief appearance) and Silvia Tortosa. Everyone is lots of fun, and while this film is fairly gory, it's no mere bloodbath. It requires constant attention from the viewer as the story is actually rather complex. And unlike the characters we find in most current horror films, the characters in "Horror Express" are intelligent people, and their attempts to analyze the strange science-fictional situation in which they find themselves are most engrossing. Heck, even the monster in this movie is smart.

It's strange to consider that, though it features all the trappings of a horror film, it has little of the conventional atmosphere...it's very thinky, and so cleverly funny that the word "giddy" can be used to describe it. The cast seems to have enjoyed the opportunity to work with such an interesting story. It transcends its genre.

So much fun that the rough edges from its low budget are easy to ignore. One of the most enjoyable things Lee and Cushing did together.
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Classic and scary cult movie
arkadarian4 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
the first time i saw "Horror Express" (because i've seen it several times) i became a huge fan. It's a classic and scary cult movie: two icons of horror cinema, great acting, a creepy atmosphere,the soundtrack with these unforgettable whistling. The script is absolutely imaginative: an ancient alien monster sucking all the memory contents of the passengers of the train, to get the enough knowledge to make a spaceship for comeback to his planet, it's absolute awesome. The f/x are pretty decent and Telly Savalas, Julio Peña, Silvia Tortosa, Helga Line, Alberto De Mendoza, Georges Rigaud, and Cushing and Lee of course, gives great performances. It's specially indicated to see at midnight or later, you will enjoy it for sure!
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Creepy for a 1970's movie
rollinstock1816 May 2004
I haven't seen a lot of Hammer films, so I don't really know why the name Hammer is so significant in the genre of Horror. However, I must say that this film is just fantastic. It's actually generally frightening, and also a very compelling storyline. You have to take time and wonder just what the creature is, it an alien life form, or is it Satan? That's the one problem I have with the film. The movie can't seem to decide what it's villain is. For most of the movie, it shows strong evidence that it's Satan, or at least a demon ( i.e: no markings appear on the box that the creature is in when the monk tries to draw a crucifix on the box with chalk). But then when the life form enters the monk, it claims to be a form of energy from another galaxy... which says that it's an alien. But then that doesn't explain the other things. Those two facts contradict each other too often, so it's almost impossible to come to a conclusion. Either way, it's a great film.
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A one-way trip to outstanding horror.
AngryChair23 March 2009
In 1906 a British scientist discovers a mysterious frozen creature in Manchuria and boards a train to bring it back to England. Unfortunately the creature thaws and begins to possess the passengers; literally draining their souls by merely looking upon them!

Horror Express is one unique and finely-made genre gem. From its eerie opening credits to its smashing, fiery finale it's a journey through the bizarre and terrifying unknown. The story is truly chilling and remains compelling all the way, as it builds to some great shocks and is cemented in a profoundly creepy atmosphere. Eugenio Martin's direction is good, making a B budget film into grade A quality. The camera work is nicely done and the period setting is quite authentic-looking. John Cacavas' haunting music score is also a great addition.

Cast-wise the film is quite solid too. Horror veteran Christopher Lee delivers his usual sophisticated performance, while fellow horror star Peter Cushing adds a colorful presence of his own. The supporting cast is also good, particularly Telly Savalas who plays the captain of a band of rebels who take the train hostage.

Excellent on all levels, Horror Express is a delightful and scary film. Definitely a must-see for genre fans as this is one of the best British horror films of the 70's.

*** 1/2 out of ****
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Deserves a remake.
Fella_shibby8 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this first on a rented VHS in mid 80s. My dad used to watch a lot of Hammer films, especially of Lee n Cushing. Now he prefers TV series. Revisited this on a DVD. It hasn't aged well but its a must for all horror fans. A pretty good horror/science fiction movie for its time. Considering its low budget n the time it was made, Horror Express is quite atmospheric and impressive from a production standpoint. It has an amazing cast, Christopher Lee n Peter Cushing n amusing cameo of Telly Savalas. The setting of a high-speed train is a good one to bring out the claustrophobia of horror. Due to the lack of budget n the era, the trans siberian railway networks weren't explored properly. Woody Harrelson's Transsiberian film captured some very good scenes. This movie has a brief autopsy scene which may put off some viewers. The director did a good job of not revealing the creature too much due to its bad moster suit n cheap glowing eyes. The monk looked like a poor mans Robert de niro. There is a scene in which the luggage man sees the monster trying to open up the box n the monstrous hand cud b easily seen. Now rather trying to run or raise an alarm, the luggage guy tries to lock it. The two females, the countess n the spy were gorgeous for that time. In short, a fun monster movie with strong cast n strong script. It shud hav been titled the Thing on a train.
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Strange science! (Beware of police inspectors with one hairy hand!)
Lewis Williams25 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of those 1970s films that whilst it can't seriously be called a great film is certainly great fun and so full of bonkers ideas it makes you glad it was made and sort of sad that nothing like it would get made these days. Films like Zardoz and The Final Programme would also fit that same description for me, but unlike those films, Horror Express is, despite its occasional sci-fi elements, firmly rooted in the horror genre. In fact it feels much more like one of those horror films that made the video nasties list in the UK in the 1980s than it does the typical Hammer-style horror film that you would normally associate with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee (both of whom star). There is some quite graphic horror here with heads being sliced open and an eyeball being removed during autopsies, albeit with rubbish special effects and all safely within a 15 certificate nowadays. (The fact that the 2006 2Entertain DVD I watched it on presents the film in 4:3 aspect with less than great picture quality also undoubtedly helped to contribute to the video nasty feel!)

It's a British and Spanish co-production, although the only evidence of British involvement on screen is the presences of Messrs Lee and Cushing, a fact not lost on the writers. In my favourite moment it is suggested to the British leads that one of them might be the monster that is killing people off on board the titular express train. This is an allegation they refute with an argument that consists entirely of looking indignant and explaining in two words that this couldn't possibly be case because "We're British"! We British might be a little bit emotionally stifled,but we're not the kind of people that would turn into a prehistoric ape man come alive from a 2,000 year-old fossil, that may or may not be Satan himself or may or may not be an alien spaceman, and that is killing selected passengers on board a trans-continental express train journeying across Russia. That by the way is the plot, together with some remarkably strange science along the way that tells us people's memories are either stored in the fluid in their eyeballs or stored in the creases in their brains (which brains will therefore become completely smooth if one is unlucky enough to have one's memories sucked out through one's eyeballs). Also amongst the strange ideas that are shoe-horned into the film's shortish (83 minutes) running time, at the expense of overall coherence, are a mad monk who converts from devotion to God to devotion to Satan with a remarkable rapidity and a police inspector with one hairy arm who nobody notices as a consequence keeps one of his hands permanently in his pocket. We also get Telly Savalas who stars a Cossack Captain and does his menacing-holding-his-cigarette-in-a funny-way-persona (much as he did for his depiction of Blofeld in On Her Majesty's Secret Service) for maybe about 15 minutes of the film's running time before being turned into a zombie!

So all in all a film well worth a watch if you like that kind of thing!
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There's a stink of hell on this train!
utgard147 November 2013
Horror Express is a great little horror film. It combines four things I enjoy: trains, snowy backdrops, the dynamic duo of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and the theory of the missing link. It's an original and atmospheric film that is probably the best of any of the Spanish horror films of the 70's that I have seen. The special effects are pretty good and the direction is very nice for the genre and time.

But really it's the cast that sells Horror Express so well. Obviously, any film with Cushing and Lee in it is automatically worth seeing. Lee plays the crusty Brit stereotype to perfection while Cushing plays a more laid-back character than normal, which is pleasant to watch. He even cracks jokes! Most of the non-English actors do surprisingly good with a minimal amount of overacting. Alberto de Mendoza as Father Pujardov is the worst offender but it actually works well for his character, who seems a sweaty high-strung mess the entire time. Telly Savalas, billed as co-star with Lee and Cushing, doesn't show up until about an hour in and has a limited but memorable role. He hams it up in every scene but it's a real treat to watch.

Horror Express is a great movie to watch late at night. If you're a fan of the terrific actors involved or of movies that take place on trains, please give it a shot. It's worth it.
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A true underrated classic
pheonix22794 January 2012
This is a horror movie that a lot of people will not of heard of but should definitely watch as it is a classic.I did'nt know much about this film when i first watched it and was not sure what to expect but i loved the film.The setting on the train gives it a scary atmosphere and that claustrophobia sense and being unable to leave adds to the feeling of fear on the train.Horror legends Sir Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are on fine form and show us why they were such a legendary duo.Telly Savalas also stars as the crazy Captain Kazan,Though his screen time is limited he makes the most of it and delivers a great performance which adds positively to the film.This is fast paced action with genuinely scary scenes and some gory moments.This is a must see for horror fans,you will not be disappointed.
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A Late Nite Scary Movie Classic
Rabh173 December 2008
Okay. . .Okay. . .remember this was early 70's, so the monster effects will NEVER live up to today's standards. SO Just FORGET about computer digital effects. Forget about CGI. These were the days of costumes and Make-up. Forget Alien, The Thing, Bram Stoker's Dracula.

What the Director lacked in terms of the ability of bringing an imaginary script to animated life, they made up for with Suspense and Acting.

A Countess, a Poodle, a headstrong Scientist and some odd colleagues, a Priest and an assortment of other stock characters. A train crossing Siberia from China to Russia at the turn of the century with endless icy wastes all around. And inside. . .ancient evil.

Give it a try as a Late, Late, Late Movie-- this is best on a cold winter Friday or Saturday Nite-- AFTER 12. Watch fluff and serials before-- but nothing serious or modern, else you'll spoil the mood.

It's a nice go at a period piece set in the Victorian Age-- but in the Far East as opposed to England or Europe. And the central premise of the story is actually a little deeper than it looks on the surface if you give it a chance--especially since it isn't often that you hear the phrase "Millions of Years" and the phrase has NOTHING to do with Dinosaurs!

This used to be what we called the "Late Late Movie", forbidden Horror/thriller scares for after-Midnight when Mothers were always telling you to "Go To BED" if they woke up and heard the TV and found you snuggled on the floor in your blanket close to the flickering light.

It's still enjoyable as such. Let the inner kid out. Snuggle up with some hot chocolate and watch.
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