Amicus Productions and Hammer Films were the kings of the horror films that reigned supreme in the 1960s and 1970s. These delights included Amicus’ anthology series of films — The House That Dripped Blood, Tales from the Crypt and Asylum (among others) — while Hammer served-up a seemingly endless stream of Dracula, Frankenstein and Mummy delights, often teaming Christopher Lee with Peter Cushing.
It was during this period that director Eugenio Martin’s Horror Express was released (around Christmas of 1973 by indie Scotia International), which is often confused as being one of the Amicus and/or Hammer theatrical releases from the period. That’s an easy mistake since the film stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
Regardless of its origins, Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has a new 2K restoration from the film’s original elements planned for Blu-ray on Feb. 12.
At the turn of last century, a Professor Alexander Saxton (Christopher Lee), an anthropologist, makes an earth-shaking discovey in remote Manchuria. An ape-like creature that he estimates to be some 2,000,000 years old!
He must get his find back to England, and thus books passage on the famed Trans-Siberian Express, which will more or less become a haunted house on wheels. To complicate matters, Alexander’s chief academic rival, Dr. Wells (Peter Cushing) just happens to be in the same place with his assistant, Miss Jones (Alice Reinheart).
They are not even out of the station when a mysterious murder occurs. And, as the train rumbles along in the remote reaches of Siberia, more killings … the creature is alive and on the prowl!
Horror Express, mixes in everything … from a body-jumping alien life form to zombies, to a murder mystery on a rolling train, with a crazed priest and even throws in a chew-the-scenery performance from Telly Savalas as a Cossack officer dispatched to find out what is going on aboard the Trans-Siberian Express (Savalas was in Spain, where the film was shot, and would work on both Horror Express and Pancho Villa for producer Bernard Gordon … the train was even used in both films).
As to bonus goodies, there is a newly prepared commentary featuring Stephen Jones and Kim Newman (co-authors of “Horror: The 100 Best Books” and “Horror: Another 100 Best Books”), a introduction to film by writer Chris Alexander, a video session with director Eugenio Martin and a pair of featurettes — “Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express” and “Telly and Me.”