1

Horror Express (Blu-ray)

Cover art:

img/reviews/bluhorrorex.jpg

Horror Express Blu-ray reviewStarring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Telly Savalas, Silvia Tortosa

Directed by Eugenio Martín

Distributed by Severin Films


Unfamiliar with Horror Express? Holy shit, have you been missing out. Growing up in the Seventies in Brooklyn, New York, this flick was a late night staple that would be watched each and every time in the Creepy household. Over the years the movie has come out on just about every medium imaginable but never … never like this.

Before we get into that, here’s a plot crunch.

Christopher Lee plays Sir Alexander Saxton, an explorer who unearths the Missing Link. With his discovery secured, the precious cargo is stowed on the Tran-Siberian express train as a means to get it England for further study. There’s just one thing … once the creature, a sort of Bigfoot if you will, is thawed out, it begins roaming the speeding train and absorbing the brains of those he encounters (via his light-up red hypnotic eyes), thereby possessing his fellow passengers into becoming mindless zombies to do his bidding. With bodies beginning to pile up high and the creature now jumping from body to body (a la John Carpenter’s The Thing), Telly fucking Savalas boards the locomotive at a scheduled stop with his army of Cassock soldiers to get to the bottom of things. More bodies pile up. Full blown zombie mayhem ensues. Sound a little out there? Brothers and sisters, you have no idea! I’m peeing my pants just thinking about the absurdity of it all.

Let me state that I’ve seen this movie HUNDREDS of times, and that’s no exaggeration. It’s a favorite of mine and an absolute go-to film when I need a boost. Yet, I’ve never seen it look as good as this. Severin has gone back to the film’s original 35mm negatives to bring us this all-new 1080p remastering. The only hitch? The source material wasn’t in that good of shape to begin with. You’ll notice some occasional scratches, compression issues, and brightness flickering; but even so, the clarity and detail presented here are still pretty amazing given the film’s low budget and condition. No matter how you slice it, shortcomings and all, this is the best the flick has ever looked.

The disc includes the Spanish Dolby Digital Mono track and the English track in Dolby Digital Stereo. Both are nothing to write home about, but let’s not forget this was a flick in the public domain. Severin did its best with what it had.

The special features are where this package truly shines. Things kick off with a hilarious and informative introduction by current Fangoria editor Chris Alexander in which his love for this film is a bit over-expressed, and from there we get to the meat. First up is a near fifteen-minute interview with director Eugenio Martín, who waxes on about working with Lee and Cushing as well as the flick’s modest origins. Next we sit down for a thirty-minute featurette with producer Bernard Gordon, who gives us some true insight into what it was like being on Hollywood’s blacklist during the McCarthy era, and this leads to the mother lode … a near hour and a half 1973 audio interview with Peter Cushing that’s nothing short of spellbinding. Sprinkle in an eight-minute interview with composer John Cacavas, include a trailer, and we are done. A fine package for a fine movie.

This cannot be emphasized enough … Horror Express is an absolute gem and needs to be included in your collection. The flick is delightful, spooky, and sleazy fun and should NOT be missed by anyone. Do not hesitate a second. Get this NOW!

Special Features

  • Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express: New interview with director Eugenio Martín
  • Notes from the Blacklist: Producer Bernard Gordon discusses the McCarthy era
  • The Guardian 1973 audio interview with Peter Cushing
  • Telly and Me: New interview with composer John Cacavas
  • Introduction by Fango editor Chris Alexander
  • Theatrical trailer

    Film

    4 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features

    4 out of 5

    Discuss Horror Express in the comments section below!

  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

    One Comment

    1. This is a childhood favourite of mine, one of the handful of films that unsettled the crap out of me as a kid. The idea that a monster could… suck your mind out through your eyes until they were blank and white… ugh! I saw it again a couple of years ago and, while it didn’t scare me at all, I still enjoyed the hell out of it. Such an under-appreciated horror film.

      I’d buy this Blu-ray without hesitation except for the small matters of (a) not owning a BD player and (b) being in the UK, so importing a brand-new BD release is probably going to be fairly costly.

      Did you have a chance to see what the DVD copy of the movie is like? I’d be verrrrry tempted to import if it were anamorphic widescreen, as my current DVD of it is a creaky old 1.33:1 fullscreen edition.

    Leave a Reply