Retro Review: Freight Train of Fright: Horror Express (1972)

I remember watching channel 5 when I was young waiting for whatever cool movie they were going to show that night. They played a lot of horror so I would just sit down and watch. One movie they played often was Horror Express !
Filmed under the title: Panic on the Trans-Siberian Express, Horror Express opens with Christopher Lee as Prof. Sir Alexander Saxton, discovering “The Missing Link” and preparing to board the Trans-Siberian train bound for Europe. While arguing with the station manager, he runs into an old acquaintance, Dr. Wells (Peter Cushing), who unlike Saxton, seems genuinely happy to see him. You get a real sense that Dr. Wells is a slightly arrogant fellow and that Prof. Saxton cannot stand him. There is little time spent on their relationship but as usual, these two bring their “A” game, and everything is said with body language. Saxton is very secretive about his discovery and this only feeds Well’s curiosity.
The deaths start before the train even leaves the station as a would be thief who had taken an interest in the Professor’s discovery is found lying on the floor near it, his eyes open and completely white. The body sparks much interest in Saxton’s crate including Father Pujardov (Alberto de Mendoza). He is employed by a Count and Countess who have an interesting idea of a marriage indeed. The Countess Irina Petrovski (Silvia Tortosa), seems rather infatuated with the good Prof. Saxton and its fun to watch the outcome of that. Father Pujardov has issues with their lifestyle but has greater issues with being unemployed.
As a bonus, we get Helga Line as alluring thief Natasha, and of course, Telly Savalas as Captain Kazan, who desperately needed his own film!
 
The film plays like with the “and then there were none” formula well and come on, how many movies do we get set aboard a moving train? The Link escapes and kills several passengers before being taken out. There’s just one loose end,  the creature can inhabit anyone’s body and its up to Peter and Chris to find it before its too late. Yep, its a bloody mess that leads to an interesting sci-fi tinged climax.
From producer Bernard Gordon, writer of “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers” and “The Day of the Triffids”, before being blacklisted, and excellent Spanish director Eugenio Martin (A Candle for the Devil), this film plays like a lost Hammer Gothic version of “The Thing”.
I have fond memories of this film and watch it often. It reminds me of a time when life was simpler, sitting on the couch in the living room, watching TV with my grandparents. Those days are gone but the movie is still here for a trip down memory lane.