Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 26th, 2015
BluRay released: March 30th, 2015
Approximate running times: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono Italian
BluRay Release: 88 Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £14.99
Synopsis: Blackie (Flavio Bucci) and Curly (Gianfranco De Grassi) are two street punks who get their kicks by stealing, raping and killing anyone who crosses their path. Lisa Stradi (Laura D’Angelo) and her cousin Margaret (Irene Miracle) are on their way to visit family in Italy for the Christmas holidays. This is a trip they will never forget. Macha Méril who plays the lady passenger along with the other two girls will be terrorized by Blackie and Curly.
Going into Night Train Murders I had high expectations having already seen Aldo Lado’s Short Night of the Glass Dolls and Who Saw Her Die? Both of these films I had thoroughly enjoyed. Italian cinema has long been know for mimicking genres and films that are popular at the time by creating a film of their own to capitalize off of the other films success. Would this be another clone that offers little in return or will this film be a fresh take on the source material? The basic structure of this film is based around the Wes Craven film Last House on The Left.
Fate has a lot to do with the progress of this films story line as Blackie and Curley get on the train because the police are chasing after them after they slash a rich ladies fur coat. The first half of the movie is slow going and it does take some patience to get were the film is wants to lead us. One thing that I found strange is that they always seemed to elude the porter as he asked to see everyone’s tickets. Macha Méril whom played the rich lady passenger at first is a victim like the other girls and as the film progresses she joins into the mayhem with pleasure. Blackie and Curley at this time start to push the envelope in terms of their violence. Does she push the boys further then they might have gone through her enthusiasm. Her body language and her facial expressions lead the viewer to believe that she is the one orchestrating everything.
The most disturbing part o the films is when a male passenger on the train walks by the compartment in which the two girls are being raped. He stops and watches instead on going for help. Even more disgusting is when he is caught peeping they invite him in and he then has sex with Margaret. He might have been frightened at what they might do to him if he didn’t participate only he does something after he slips away from the compartment the solidifies his guilt he doesn’t tell anyone about what had just happened. Flavio Bucci an actor who resembles Dario Argento plays Blackie and he unique looks add to his characters menacing demeanor. His partner in crime Curley is the more insecure of the two characters and he relies of his fix of drugs to keep him going through out the film. Flavio Bucci tries his best to capture the qualities that made Krug in Last House on The Left such an imposing figure and the problem with this it that no matter how many have tried there is only one Krug, David Hess.
Morricone’s score for this film is sparse and the main part of the score is a harmonica that is played through out the film by Curley. Similar to the way he used the harmonica in Once Upon a Time in The West. The score is an important part of any films success and once again Morricone delivers another superb score that flawless captures the claustrophobic feel of the film. The most powerful part of the film is images of the two girls on there way home intercut with the parents who are waiting for them and it is accentuated later in the film when these cuts are made as the girls are being violated. The distinctive use of blue light while the girls are being held captive on the train along with the films cinema photography is perfectly executed as most of the film is shot in claustrophobic spaces adding to the tension that builds as the film progresses.
Overall Night Train Murders combines it influences into a cohesive plot that is at times just as engaging as it is shocking. The film is more then just another Last House on The Left clone and fans of Aldo Lado’s giallo’s will be presently surprised when they see just how different this film is compared to his other films.
Night Train Murders comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. And though this transfer appears to have come from the same source as the one used for Blue Undergrounds Blu-Ray for this film. There are some slight differences between these two releases and their transfers, most notably 88 Films improvements in areas like image stability and black levels. Also it should be pointed out that this dual layer presents two identically sized files for the feature film, one with English audio and the other with Italian audio.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in Italian. And though there are two audio options you have to choose one or the other before playing the main feature. They are no options for toggling between the two audio tracks. Both audio mixes sound, clean, clear and robust then they need too. Also included with this release for the Italian language track are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include English and Italian language trailers for the film (3 minutes 48 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), two interviews with actress Irene Miracle, the first interview titled ‘Strangers on a (Late Night) Train’ (21 minutes 38 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and the second interview titled ‘Further Adventures in Italy’ (3 minutes 59 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen).
Topics discussed in ‘Strangers on a (Late Night) Train’ include how she got involved in making films in Italy, how she prepared for a role back then verse now, she remembers what is was like to work on Night Train Murders and her thoughts on the cast and Aldo Lado, her thoughts on this films notorious rape scene, The Last House on the Left and The Virgin Spring and her thoughts about the final product.
Topics discussed in ‘Further Adventures in Italy’ how she arrived in Italy, working with Luigi Cozzi and the film The Nude Porter, his odd use of camera angles up her dress and her refusal to shave her pubic hair for a scene. She also discusses working with Stella Adler after she left Italy and returned to America.
Rounding out the extras is a collectable 300gsm original poster post dard, reversible cover at option and a booklet that features a new conversation with Aldo Lado. Overall Night Train Murders get a strong release from 88 Films.