On Christmas Eve, two young women board a train with the intention of getting back home for a delicious Christmas dinner, however a trio of strangers turn a time of joy into a nightmare of terror and despair.
Judging a Book by its Cover
– Even the cover art has a tagline that, uh, “borrows” from Last House‘s. With a movie like this, I guess there’s no being subtle about it.
– The entire cover is actually a huge warning sign.
You can tell yourself it’s only a movie…but it won’t help!
Directed by Aldo Lado
Starring Flavio Bucci, Irene Miracle and Macha Méril
The day before Christmas, university students and best friends Lisa and Margaret (Miracle) are off to the train station in Munich and taking an overnight train into Italy to visit Lisa’s parents for the holidays. As they board the train, a pair of thugs, Blackie (Bucci) and Curly, manage to run onto the train after robbing a sidewalk Santa and are trying to hide from the authorities. The girls help them out when it comes to having no tickets and the boys head out looking to cause more trouble because if not there’d be no movie. Blackie heads out into another car and molests a blonde woman (Méril) who actually reverses the situation a bit and she comes back with him and Curly.
The train stops in Austria and the girls, put off by the boys’ behaviour, get off after a bomb scare and try to call Lisa’s parents who are out getting ready for a party. They decide to board a different train that will take them straight to their destination. The train is sparsely crowded so the girls find an empty car and go on to have a nice, quiet evening. For about fifteen minutes.
Blackie, Curly and the blonde woman with no name (seriously, her credited name is “Lady on the Train”) have followed the girls onto the train and basically trap them in the car. The blonde woman is a sexual predator who urges the boys to do cruel things to the girls though the boys have their own issues as Blackie likes to beat his women and Curly is a heavy drug user which does not bode well at all for the girls. As the cover art leads you to believe, there’s a loose re-enactment of 1972’s Last House on the Left taking place on a train and if you have seen Last House then you realize things will go from bad to worse.
While yes, the films are fundamentally different from one another, Night Train Murders accomplishes its goal of being an uncomfortably depressing thriller that will leave you feeling a little bit crushed after the credits roll. While the first half leads into some tense scenarios, the film veers into some ugly subject matter which was enough to briefly get the film mentioned on the UK Video Nasty list so it’s clearly not for everyone. Obviously.
Story: 4 – A pair of young women on an empty train become the target of a trio of violent, sexual predators…things don’t go well.
Blood: 5 – The bloodletting is mostly minor aside from two scenes — one on the empty train involving a nail-biting scene involving a knife going where knives should not go on a woman and the revenge scenes towards the end. However, it’s the nature of the violence on screen that leaves you feeling dirty.
Nudity: 2 – Thankfully light on showing too much, it’s never meant for titillation.
Overall: 3 – If you’re looking for a movie to make you feel a little dead inside, here’s one for you!
– Night Train Murders was banned in the UK in 1983 though later removed from the infamous Video Nasty list in 1984. It wasn’t until 2008 that the film was released uncut.
– The film was scored by Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad & the Ugly, The Hateful Eight)
– Alternate titles include: The New House on the Left, Second House on the Left, Last House Part II, the cautionary Don’t Ride on Late Night Trains, and Last Stop on the Night Train. Also, director Aldo Lado remade his own movie in 1993’s release titled Dark Friday.
– This song opens and ends the film: