June 24, 2015
Review #716: Horror Express.
Christopher Lee (Professor Sir Alexander Saxton), Peter Cushing (Dr. Wells), Alberto de Mendoza (Father Pujardov), Julio Peña (Inspector Mirov), Silvia Tortosa (Countess Irina Petrovski), Telly Savalas (Captain Kazan), George Rigaud (Count Marion Petrovski), Víctor Israel (Maletero – the Baggage Man), Ángel del Pozo (Yevtushenko), and Helga Liné (Natasha) Directed by Eugenio Martín.
It has been over two weeks since the passing of Christopher Lee, who I've covered numerous times on this show in the past. It cannot be stated enought how much respect I and other people had for his talent, on and off the screen. He did voices for some of Tim Burton's movies, played characters in both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, released albums of his singing (including metal!), was related to Ian Fleming (and even played a Bond villain once), and was in over 300 films in a very long film career. And he was also Dracula. As such, I decided to watch this film as a tribute along with the fact that it also stars Peter Cushing (who was one of Lee's closest friends) and Telly Savalas, who also once played a Bond villain. Also, Horror Express is an adaptation of Who Goes There?, which has been adapted three other times into films, two of which I have covered (The Thing From Another World and The Thing) already. As you could tell, the movie takes place on a train, in 1906. This time around, Lee plays a good guy, and he shares a great rapport with Cushing that makes the movie a little more interesting. What's interesting is that this was a Spanish/British production, which is why the movie is also known as "Pánico en el Transiberiano". The movie is what you might expect from a Hammer movie (except that it's not)- visually pleasing, coupled with some blood, and with a bit of overblown acting. But at least it's an enjoyable movie...if you're in the mood for some horror that does get interesting around the last 30 minutes, and then Savalas' character comes in late to provide some enjoyment. It's a 70's movie that has its moments of terror (especially with the lights off), and its moments of overblown stuff with de Mendoza's characters, but the movie is still at least passable. Is it as good as other movies that Lee and Cushing did together? No, but it is at least a mildly enjoyable flick that passes on quickly with some thrills of its own.
Lastly, thank you Christopher Lee, for everything that you did for cinema. We will never forget your contributions.
Overall, I give it 7 out of 10 stars.