Friday, October 20, 2017

Night Train Murders


I picked up the KILLER THRILLERS COLLECTION a while back to get a copy of STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER - a favorite of mine. I figured I get the film I want and two others I have not seen before. Maybe I'd like them. I love STRIP NUDE, though the title is still cringe-worthy. :)

Baba Yaga was a ton of fun as well, so I was way up on my purchase.

Then...I watched NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS and HATED it. I thought it to be mean spirited and cruel. Yes, I understood that it, too, was based on the Ingmar Bergman classic The Virgin Spring like Last House on the Left (also mean spirited), but I had not stomach for it and just wanted it to end.

Later I posted this on the DARK DISCUSSIONS PODCAST PAGE (a great podcast, by the way!) and one of the leaders basically said that he loved it and thought that I would as well. I thought I missed something - stuck on the violent aspects instead of the story, perhaps. I made note to return to it at some point in the future. Seeing as this is GIALLOctober at the Horror Show, it seemed like a good time to do a re-watch. And, I was pleasantly surprised.

The story is very "Virgin Spring". Two girls are heading home to visit and run into some bad folks. Very bad folks. Blackie and Curly are scoundrels. They are train hopping and avoiding the ticket master when they run into the girls and "The Lady on the train". The girls are friendly enough with them and the Lady is VERY friendly with them - having sex with Blackie in the lavatory in a heated rush.

The girls jump trains when a delay threatens to hold them back from their destination and the dastardly trio also hops trains.  Now, all five of them are in a train car in a rather deserted train and the girls lovely holiday dinner goes horribly wrong. They are raped and defiled and eventually - sadly - killed.

In Virgin Spring fashion, the evil trio ends up at the same house as one of the girls parents after the Father sees them at the train station as he's trying to pick up his daughter and her friend. After the parents figure out that these people have hurt their daughter,  revenge is dealt out by the Father and his shotgun. I found this to be very satisfying indeed. heh

Simple plot well executed. But, on this viewing I found several things that I found to be very interesting. Namely the Lady and her arc.

Now, the two men are very cartoon-like. We see them stealing from people and bashing things and scooting around trying to avoid paying for their train trip. Curly (with curly hair)  plays a harmonica and is a little creep while Blackie (with black hair) seems to have a BIT of a heart, but not much. But, the woman is a far deeper character. 

When we first see her, she's wearing a veil on her hat. A bag of hers falls and naughty, sadistic photos are hurriedly pushed back into her the case quickly. Then, at one point, she lifts her veil - maybe sometime around meeting the evil duo.  From that point on, she's as evil as the two men. She's mean and a full sadist with the two girls. She eggs on the men and even holds the girls for them at one point. She's loving the mean spirited games and is all in.

When they get to the girl's Family Home and things go sideways for the trio, she quickly says that she was also taken advantage of by the two men and that she tried to help, but couldn't. The parents assume that she must be telling the truth. I mean, another woman wouldn't do that to two college girls - right?

The men are dispatched and she stands there like a grim statue, then she lowers her veil again as if to tell the viewer, "I've had my fun and now it's time to replace the mask I wear in society."  I loved that aspect of the film. It was grand.

On the whole, I don't think I'll be returning to this as often as I return to Strip Nude for your Killer of Baby Yaga, but I don't hate it like I did on my first viewing. It's well worth a watch even if you only watch it once.

If you loved and return to Last House on the Left, you'll love this film. Check it.

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