55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
First off, I am a fan of Italian horror films of the 70's and 80's. I had always wanted to see Night Train Murders, but it was never released in the United States making it nearly impossible to view. Instead of buying a bootleg, which I thought about on several occasions, I waited for its official release. After receiving my DVD, I was pleasently surprised by how good the film was. Like most Italian flicks, they "rip-off" or "borrow" ideas from American films. Zombie borrowed from Dawn of the Dead, The Beyond borrowed from The Shining, Conquest borrowed from Conan the Barbarian, and Night Train Murders borrows from Last House on The Left. So much in fact that it was released as Second House on the Left, New House on the Left, and Last Stop on the Night Train in other parts of the world. Many of the story elements are borrowed from Craven's film debut, including characters and situations. Even though it freely borrowed from Craven's film, I actually came out liking this film better. First of all it has higher production values so the filmmakers were able to heighten the cinematography, and other such aspects. I also liked how Night Train Murders was more disturbing and gritty. There were no awkward comedy moments like the ones present during Last House. There is more character development so you learn to like the two leading actresses more. In turn, since you like them better, you hate the goons more for the violoations they did to them. The director inserts a lot of flair and style while making a truely likeable revenge/exploitation epic that finally gets its just release in the United States. I've been waiting a long time for this film and I greatly thank Blue Underground for releasing a this steller DVD. The picture absolutely looks wonderful and the extra features were great. For fans of Italian horror, this DVD will not disappoint!
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
B. M. Kunz
- Published on Amazon.com
I agree that while this film borrowed heavily from Last House on the Left, Night Train Murders is the better of the two. Good production values, excellent cinematography, an Ennio Morricone score, decent acting and a tight script, set Night Train Murders above Last House and other films of this type. The first third of the film introduces the main characters and then gets them on a train (the night before Christmas) that is full of odd, quirky travelers - most of whom seem to be prone to indulging in one perversion or another. The "defilement" section of the film is a gripping, harrowing affair that escalates in viciousness before climaxing in a very brutal fashion. The final act does not live up to the scenes that precede it. While there is another escalation towards a violent outcome, the plot seems to falter in a couple of spots, and the eventual retribution seems tame in comparison to the acts which have ignited it. The character who gets revenge is a surgeon, and when we first see him he is cutting into people (using what looks like real footage) so I was expecting a truly grisly and horrific conclusion. However, the director's desire to keep from glamorizing violence is probably why the ending feels somewhat restrained. As for the DVD itself, the image is pristine throughout most of the film, the sound quality is good and extras include an interesting interview with the director. However, one problem I have with the presentation is that the original Italian audio track with English subtitles is not an option, only an English dub is available. Still, this is another great release from Blue Underground and definitely a film which deserves a larger audience.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
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If Bunuel had ever made a "genre film" it would have been a lot like this.
I rented this thinking it was going to be just another slasher movie, but imagine my surprise when a few minutes into the movie I realized that the director, Aldo Lado, actually had some talent and shot a film that was not only engaging, but quite beautiful.
I won't ruin the movie by giving away a bunch of spoilers but lets just say two girls on the way home for Christmas have a bad (to say the least) encounter with two petty thieves who are unknowningly being manipulated by a rich (and ultra-seductive) female passenger played by Macha Meril, who was in Bunuel's erotic masterpiece BELLE DE JOUR.
If you're a gorehound looking for wall to wall guts (or nudity) then you'll be disappointed, but if you want to see an intelligently made film about the darker side of human nature then check it out. Make sure you watch the interview with director Lado, very interesting.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Night Train Murders follows the same basic set-up as The Last House on the Left. Two girls are kidnapped by thugs, tortured, raped, and then brutally murdered, and then their parents find out and exact bloody revenge. The setting this time is in Italy, and the plot follows two girls on a series of train rides to one of their parents house. The film starts off much like a film about two innocent tourists. The girls get on the train and have a series of little adventures, not entirely innocent, but innocent and without much fear. However, as their train rides continue, things don't go as planned. Two thugs sneak on board and begin to harass the girls, as well as another female passenger who soon decides to join them on their night of debauchery and mayhem after one of them rapes her.
When the two girls find themselves fearing for their lives and uncomfortable, they take advantage of a somewhat convenient bomb-threat and sneak onboard another train that will get them to their destination about half an hour early. They get on-board only to find that the train is, mostly, deserted and seemingly without lights or electricity. They take a nap in one of the compartments and then wake up later on in the night to have dinner by candlelight. However, during their dinner they soon discover that the thugs, along with their female friend, have sneaked on-board and the two girls find themselves trapped in a horrible nightmare of torture, rape, humiliation, and heartless cruelty.
When the deeds are done the terror still continues. Even after the bodies are violated and disposed of there is still such incredible suspense in it's unfolding of events. When the parents show up to pick the girls up and find the two thugs and the girl at the train station instead, we can feel the slowly building paranoia as the characters realize who they are each dealing with. As the parents come to find out what happened, we truly can feel their sorrow as they realize that they will never see their daughter alive again. Then the revenge aspect comes into play and it is even more shocking than we anticipated. It is not shocking in a gratuitous gorefest kind of sense, but rather it is shocking in that it is obvious that the father who performs these killings is unprepared and inexperienced in such matters. The terror comes from the fact that he is a normal man who is doing something he has never wanted to do. As a result the film is not only horrifying, but it is also an emotional roller coaster ride.
This is one of the most effective horror films I have ever seen. The realism of the situations presented here comes off so authentic and suspenseful that it's practically a guarantee that most viewers' stomachs will be in knots. The film is relentless in it's horror and the way the victims' lives are toyed with. The audience is toyed with as well in several moments of what I could pretty much describe as false hope. The film will likely take an emotional tole on viewers who aren't prepared. This film is far more disturbing than The Last House on the Left due to the unfolding tension. There are no moments of forced dark comedy or cheap style. The film pulls no punches in depicting the last hours of the lives of these two innocent girls. The character of Curly is also far more terrifying than the character of Krug in the original in that he comes across as so simple-minded and yet so screwed up in a realistic way. This is an absolute must-see for all horror fans. This film is a masterpiece, and I'm glad that a modern day version of The Virgin Spring has finally been told in a proper and effective way.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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Night Train Murders is often called Last House on the Left on a train and make no mistake it's fairly obvious where Night Train Murders got its idea from. It's pretty much the same exact movie at times only difference is set on a train. Basically if you have seen Last House on the Left you pretty much know how this movie will turn out.
Night Train Murders has a lot going for it though; for starters unlike the movie it knocked off there is no comedy here. It's a straight forward movie with no happy ending.
The script by Renato Izzo & Aldo Lado lacks in the character development, but despite that they are able to create real characters as well as make some political statements. Aldo Lado also directs and does a fine job at the pacing of the movie; the first half of the movie is rather slow. Not a whole lot happens as we follow the two teenage girls who despite depth come across as real and likeable people.
Some people might find the first half boring and in many ways I understand why. But despite the slowness I still quite enjoyed it. I liked the two main characters and that helped keep my interest. The scenes with the parents early on are also well done and like the two girls the parents lack depth, but come across as real people.
Night Train Murders does start to get a little boring right before the villains attack the two girls. But it's only a matter of minutes before the movie picks up again. The torture scenes on the train are actually rather tame compared to most movies like this. Though the razor blade scene easily has to rate as one of the most twisted scenes ever; besides that scene while there are some shocking moments and the torture scenes are unpleasant Night Train Murders is though very tame compared too many movies with this style.
The train scenes during the attack are very well done; first off it's well shot and beautifully lit. The blue lighting used really is amazing and adds to the tension. The girls are stuck with these terrible people and you feel as if you are stuck with them as well. Anything that might be lacking in those scenes is made up for with the feel of claustrophobia.
The villains are pretty much a poor mans version of the villains from Last House on the Left, Flavio Bucci as Blackie even has a resemblance to David Hess. Despite that the villains work well for the most part and are very unlikable. In movies like this even when the villains pay for their crimes there is no happy ending due to what came before. But Night Train Murders while offers nothing really different to this genre doesn't have your typical ending.
Like in real life not everybody pays for their crimes and while there is revenge in Night Train Murders not everybody gets what's coming to them. While it's some what disappointing it also keeps the movie a little more real. The two thugs are worthless vile people who truly get what they deserve, but I thought the most interesting part was the fact the Lady on the Train played by Macha Meril was probably the most sadistic.
The lower class will often pay for their crimes, which they should; but many times the upper class even if more ruthless a lot of the times get away with what they have done. Some of these aspects help keep Night Train Murders feel very real. The revenge scenes were solid, but they could have maybe lasted a little longer. They are too quick, but at the same time get the job done.
While Night Train Murders may not be the best this genre has to offer and the torture scenes are tame compared to other movies like this, it still works well and is rather unpleasant to watch. Even when the movie ends you still feel a bit down due to what came before it. For those looking for something hardcore you won't find it here, but Night Train Murders is quite well done in my opinion.