Monday, 3 November 2014

Euro - Horror Vaction: The Night Train Murders (aka Last Stop on the Night Train) (aka The New House on the Left) (aka L'ultimo Treno Della Notte) (1975)

The Night Train Murders (aka Last Stop on the Night Train) (aka The New House on the Left) (aka L'ultimo Treno Della Notte) (1975)
Director: Aldo Lado
Starring: Flavio Bucci, Macha Meril and Gianfranco De Grassi
Running Time: 94 min

  I'd been meaning to watch this for a while, it's another title from the Video Nasties list, but I just hadn't found the time to check it out.  This film was banned in 1983 but was acquitted and removed from the list a year later, however didn't get an uncut release until 2008, so I'm looking forward to seeing what all the hub bub is about, bub.

  It's Christmas eve and young thugs, Blackie and Curly are out looking for trouble.  After wandering around downtown, they attack and mug a charity Santa and take off with the police chasing them.
  Meanwhile, cousins Margaret and Lisa are running late for the train, so to fill in time and create a plot point, Margaret's mom calls Lisa's mom to let her know that they are heading off to catch the train and to warn Lisa's father about the ugly turquoise painted tie that Lisa bought for him for Christmas.  They finally get out the door and down to the train station just in time to catch the train.  However they're not alone in arriving right on time because Blackie and Curly hop on the train as well to evade the police.
  On the train, it's crowded and Margaret and Lisa can't find a seat, so hang out by the bathroom.  They chit chat about boys and Margaret teases Lisa about still being a virgin.  Eventually, Blackie and Curly find their way over to the girls but when they do, they are interrupted by the conductor looking for tickets.  Before he comes around, Blackie and Curly ask the girls to help hide them.  The girls do and then the thugs move on, looking around the train for trouble.
  Just after leaving the girls, Blackie spots an older sophisticated woman leaving her train compartment and he and Curly follower her back to the bathroom.  When she goes into the bathroom, Blackie pushes his way in and starts fondling her.  She tries to stop him at first but then she gets into it.  While the have sex in the bathroom,  Curly gets into a fight with someone trying to use the bathroom.  Unfortunately, Curly is losing the fight but luckily Blackie comes out just in time and cold cocks the guy.  And like thugs, they take off before they get caught.
  Later that night, the train stops because of a bomb scare and the girls beg to get off the train to call their family to let them know there has been a delay.  Lisa cannot reach her parents but they call a friend to let her know their situation.  After this bomb scare and the fighting, the girls are reluctant to get back on the train but lucky for them there is another train leaving in fifteen minutes, so they decide to catch that one.  Unfortunately, the two thugs are being thrown off their old train and that older lady is leaving with them as well.  On the new train, Lisa and Margaret are happy to have a whole compartment to themselves, until they are joined by the thugs and the weird lady.  Blackie and the older lady keep making out and then force the girls to start taking off there clothes and trying to molest them.  Can these girls escape these sex maniacs or will they become victims on the worst Christmas ever?

  Much like "Last House on the Left", this is a pretty ugly movie to watch.  Director Aldo Lado (The Humanoid, Who Saw Her Die?), creates a very tight atmosphere of terror and he doesn't allow that tension let up inside the train car when these character are all together.
  Also, the haunting music of Ennio Morricone helps these scenes, with a repetitive but chilling piece that lets you know when the thugs are around.  Ever time I heard it, I got a bad feeling swept over me.

  I know that this may sound awful, but I was surprised that there wasn't as many murders on this train as I was expecting and I don't think Lado really took the violence in this film to the next level.  Don't get me wrong, what happens to the Margaret and Lisa characters is horrific and gross, but we've seen this already with "Last House" and unlike Wes Craven's camera years earlier, Aldo's camera is quite a bit shyer to show us what is going on.  Which makes this film look more like a rehash or a cheap knock off.
  However, what is most frustrating with the film is that all the participants of the atrocious acts are not punished or even punished properly.  In this genre of horror, there is some expectation that there will be justice for all hideous acts committed, but in this film only half the people seem to get their just desserts.  **SPOILER** For example, the male train passenger who rapes Margaret, he gets off scot-free and that's not fair.  He isn't redeemed because he calls the police anonymously and gives a description of the people who killed the girls.  This guy needs the same punishment as the rest.  Also, letting the train lady skate was a sore point as well.  I was expecting, some last minute reveal but it never came."  **ENDSPOILER**  This makes the ending of the film very frustrating and unsatisfying for me.

  This is not a Christmas movie that everyone can enjoy.  Although the pacing is a bit off and the ending isn't very gratifying, this is still a very hard film to watch and has some incredibly disturbing scenes in it.  So, if your looking for something unpleasant to watch that will leave you with a dirty feeling, buy a ticket for this and it'll a train ride you won't forget.

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