BOTTOM LINE: For decades HORROR EXPRESS has had to endure a rep as a classic with only pitiful examples to judge it by. If you have one of those PD copies then immediately toss it into the trash and upgrade to this fantastic new Blu-ray from Severin Films. You won't regret it. For those who have never seen the film and are curious this is a truly haunting, eerie film. I whole-heartedly recommend this new edition of HORROR EXPRESS and rate both the movie & this Blu-ray release a full 5 STARS.
THE STORY: 19th century English archeological expedition in Tibet discovers what may well be the remains of the Missing Link, and quickly arranges to ship the fossils back to London via rail, aboard the Trans-Siberian Express. The fossils are not what they seem however and shortly after pulling out of the station a very real, very hairy and very cranky something-or-other begins stalking & slaying the terrified passengers. As the train rolls through the remote icy mountain passes, the body count continues to rise. What exactly is the damnable thing? What does it want? And who will survive?
THOUGHTS: One of the most maligned horror movies from the early 1970's. The film's shady rep is largely due to the fact that somehow it fell into Public Domain during the VHS boom of the early 1980's, and abysmal garbage-quality copies from cheapjack releasing companies quickly flooded video store shelves & bargain sale bins. These crummy sub-par releases plagued horror movie fans for decades. HORROR EXPRESS is actually a first-rate thriller, with tons of genuine shocks & scares; enough to frighten the bejeepers out of baby boomers and their offspring for over 30 years. It's a masterful suspense/horror thriller that takes the viewer on one fantastically hellish journey into the weird & unknown. Picture a Victorian-era episode of THE X-FILES, mixed with a dash of FRINGE, and set to the stylings of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing team up for the umpteenth time and, as always, are quite wonderful together. Telly Savalas has a brief but memorable role in the second half of the film playing a whacked-out Russian Cossack officer who's brought on board to sort out the murderous goings on. The film design is lush and period-perfect. The actors are all-in for the grisly proceedings. The effects, while primitive by today's standards, are still enough to creep you out and certainly not something I'd subject to young or especially sensitive kids, for fear of igniting some serious nightmares.
THE BLU-RAY: Thank heavens a decent copy of this movie finally surfaced - unearthed in a Mongolian film warehouse of all places! We were then doubly blessed that it fell into the clutches of the good-natured gang at Severin Films, who did a bang up job transferring the film onto hi-def Blu-ray. Now HORROR EXPRESS can at last be viewed without eye & ear strain and properly appreciated for the minor classic it is. There's still some print damage (scratches, dirt & debris) but it looks worlds beyond the detestable Public Domain copies we've suffered until now; a revelation when measured against all previous home video versions. Please note: the film titles are in their original Spanish but the film's soundtrack IS in English. Speaking of which, the audio portion of this transfer is quite solid and fairly damage-free; some occasional pops, hissing & crackles, but all very minor. There's a wealth of nice bonus content to up the value of this release even more.