Night Train Murders/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Night Train Murders

Following very closely in the footsteps of The Last House On The Left, Aldo Lado's train-based shocker follows that film's legacy down to the small print, taking everything from plot progression to taglines along the way. It manages at times to be a very artful knock-off, featuring quality cinematography, a relatively interesting Ennio Morricone score, and some eerie, claustrophobic locomotive suspense. Unfortunately, little brother doesn't really match his big brother in strength or power, making for a mildly entertaining film that barely shocks and rarely frightens.

Heading home to Italy from boarding school in Germany, Lisa is excited to spend the Christmas holiday with her well-to-do parents at their massive Italian villa. Bringing along her saucy and promiscuous pal, Margaret, Lisa and company hop a train to Italy, in hopes of arriving for dinner in a timely fashion. Unbeknownst to the girls, two local, doped-up thieves are on the train as well, and they're looking for love, and won't take no for an answer.


After cornering the girls into a secluded compartment and taking on a well-dressed and equally sick woman of ill repute, Blackie and Curly (our junkie antagonists) play vicious sexual games with Lisa and Margaret, eventually deflowering Lisa with a switchblade and forcing Margaret to have sex with an older male passenger. The female member of this sadistic posse watches the rape and torture in a cold, detached fashion, gaining power from viewing the desecration of two young and innocent teen girls.

These brief and tastefully filmed torture scenes are disturbing, especially with the rainy and dimly-lit corridors of the nearly empty train. Morricone's score also adds to the mood, utilizing sparse harmonica in the same vein of his immortal Once Upon a Time in the West compositions. Yet, this level of tension eventually wains, especially during the inevitable parental vengeance sequence towards the end of the feature. The stomach-wrenching heights of Last House or Ruggero Deodato's The House On The Edge of The Park are never met and what should have been a cathartic conclusion ended up feeling like too little, too late.

What we're left with is a watchable and professionally executed film that falters solely on the basis of its connection to a better feature. If not held up to the mirror of Last House's infamy, it may have turned out to be a much more interesting and original piece of work.

Reviewed by Mdeapo

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