Night Train Murders
Director: Aldo Lado

Cast: Flavio Bucci, Macha Méril, Gianfranco De Grassi
Review by Brian M. Sammons

Hey remember that grueling horror movie that shocked the world when it came out in the ’70s? You know; the one where the two young girls run into a group of lowlifes who sexually abuse and then kill them? The scumbags then just so happen to run into one of the girl’s parents by accident and go back to their house for some hospitality. Then mommy and daddy find out what the creeps did to their daughter and so take their bloody revenge out on the killers? Yeah, Last House On The Left was a true horror classic. It was as brutally honest in its depiction of violence as it was hard to watch and it can be argued that it changed shock cinema forever.

Too bad that’s not the film I’m going to be reviewing today, even though the exact same summary above can be applied to this film, word for freaking word. No, today I’m going to review the Eurotrash rip-off that came out three years after LHotL called Night Train Murders. Now to set the record straight, I love Eurotrash movies when they’re nice and sleazy and not afraid to “go there.” Sadly, that is not the case for this derivative and downright boring “homage” of the much better original. It doesn’t do a damn thing new and worse yet, it plays things oh so safe, as if it’s worried it might offend someone. There is only one semi-shocking moment in the whole film, and for something with the gall to have “more reprehensible than Last House On The Left on its cover, that’s a mix of funny, sad, and unforgivable. Oh well, let’s get this trip over with. So grab your tickets and let’s board this Night Train.

The film begins by showing us two bad dudes in Germany. We know they’re bad because they mug a man dressed as Santa and cut a rich lady’s fur coat. They hop aboard a train bound for Italy to escape some German cops. Also on the train is a mid-thirties woman who we soon learn is into the freaky deaky because she accidently drops her purse and out spills some black and white photos of her in the midst of international group sex. Scandalous! Naturally the two thugs and Frau Sex Fiend are destined to meet up. Unfortunately a pair of nice, young, pretty school girls on their way to one of their parents’ house for Christmas is also predestined to cross paths with the thrill seeking trio.

What’s really unfortunate is that it takes ssssoooo long for that, or anything else, to happen. 48 minutes slowly tick by, over half this movie’s length, before anything horrifying, titillating, or even remotely shocking ever happens. Now if this time was used to flesh out any of the five characters, this lull might be overlooked. But it’s not. Instead here you can thrill to hear people discussing European politics of the 1970s, witness “hot” sex between two fully clothed people in the train’s toilet, and sit on the edge of your seat as a knife fight is over in six seconds without anyone getting so much as a scratch. Seriously, the highlight of edgy for the first half of this snoozefest is when the two young girls lean against the moving train’s wall because the vibrations feel good. Again I say scandalous!

Eventually what you know is coming happens; the two girls get abused and then killed by the creeps on the train, but even this is boring chore to sit through, with the exception for one sick bit I’ll discuss in a second. When Last House came out the violence and sadism was like a punch to the gut. It achieved its desired effect of sickening the audience and showing how brutal and dirty violence can be. You can say it was exploitation, and it was, but it was also very real and effective. Conversely Night Train has a tepid, fully clothed rape where the woman looks more sleepy than frightened and some splashed about red paint standing in for the murders. The only effective scene to show how awful the three sadists are involves a knife and one of the young girl’s virginal hymen. This was actually pretty cringe-worth and effectively portrayed without being overly gratuitous. But what does it say about your movie when a switchblade deflowering is the highlight of your film?

Anyway, the girls’ bodies are tossed off the train and the trio gets off at the same stop where the girls were to meet their parents. The sicko woman has a hurt leg, and the father of one of the dead girls is a doctor, so he invites the three up to his house so he can be a Good Samaritan and help them out. Bing, bang, boom; dad learns of his daughter’s murder and that the creeps in his house are the culprits so a quick, and very weak sauce revenge happens and then thankfully this movie is over. Yay.

Now as undeniable bad and boring as this movie is, the good folks over at Blue Underground nevertheless gave it their usual first class treatment in regards to video transfer for this new Blu-ray. This copy looked amazingly great for a bit of mid-seventies European exploitation. Probably better than it had any right to be. In addition to the great picture, there are a few minor extras to be found here. Other than the usual trailers, radio spots, and poster gallery, there is an interview with writer/director Aldo Lado.

Sadly I can’t recommend Night Train Murders to rank and file horrorheads. If you are a fan of Eurotrash, or you loved Last House On The Left so much that you must have all the horrible rip-offs that groundbreaking movie spawned, then feel free to take a ride on this train. As for everyone else, just take the bus.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.

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