Night Train Murders (1975)
aka DON’T RIDE ON LATE NIGHT TRAINS, aka LAST STOP ON THE NIGHT TRAIN, aka TORTURE TRAIN, aka XMAS MASSACRE, aka THE NEW HOUSE ON THE LEFT
Directed by: Aldo Lado
Written by: Roberto Infascelli/Renato Izzo/Aldo Lado/Ettore Sanzò
“You can say to yourself, ‘It’s only a movie,’ but it won’t help.”
Nice tagline. And nice list of alternate titles. Jesus.
We start off with a Tim Buckley-esque song and a Santa beating. Then two very stupid young girls (Irene Miracle from Midnight Express and Laura D’Angelo) get on a train to go home to Italy from school in Germany during Christmas break. Too bad for them, they end up on a train with a couple of violent stowaways (Flavio Bucci and Gianfranco De Grassi). Even more unfortunate, those two stowaways end up crossing paths with a middle class woman (Macha Meril who looks like an older Kirsten Dunst) who is even more depraved than they are.
The girls change trains…to a train with no lights. And no one else on it. Uh…ok. What the fuck?!
Anyway, they get on this seemingly abandoned train and fall asleep. Of course, the three evil folks show up and torment the girls.
Meanwhile, one of the girls’ parents (Enrico Maria Salerno and Marina Berti) are having a Christmas party where they discuss the influence of society and how it creates violence. Little do they know the violence about to be inflicted upon their daughter and her friend.
And, actually, that’s where the whole thing turns into Last Train On The Left. Director/Co-writer Aldo Lado says that he never saw Last House, but the producer had and wanted a movie like that. And, boy, did he ever get one. This movie is, beat for beat, a remake of that film…just on a train. We get a little more time with the girls. (Get to know them. Get to know just how stupid they are.) And we get less time with the actual revenge, which was the whole point of the original.
But the torture/rape scenes are almost more disturbing here. Slightly less graphic (and shot in nearly total darkness so we can hardly see anything except what the blue light wants us to see), but slower and more drawn out. Just a bit, but enough to notice. And the killers almost show a tiny bit of remorse. Even the woman who was kind of the perpetrator of the whole thing.
Certainly not a good movie, but a decent one. And miles above a lot of the other Nasties. And the score by Ennio Morricone (WHAT?!?!) is probably the best thing about it. (Although he seems to be aping himself with the harmonica going throughout.)
One little quibble about details: they usually don’t release the names of victims (especially young ones) until AFTER the family has been contacted. A family would never find out that their daughter is dead from the fucking radio. At least, they shouldn’t unless everything has broken down.
Low point: “Deflowering” one of the girls with a knife. Yeah. That’s how dark this fucking movie gets. “She’s as tight as a frightened asshole!” BLECH!!