Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 4th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, April 8th, 1975
Director: Aldo Lado
Writers: Giulio Berruti, Alberto Tarallo
Cast: Flavio Bucci, Macha Méril, Gianfranco De Grassi, Enrico Maria Salerno
DVD released: October 26th, 2004
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital mono
DVD Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
You can tell yourself it’s only a Movie – but it won’t help!
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.
Blue Underground comes through again as they give Night Train Murders an anamorphic transfer that retains the films original aspect ratio. The black levels are exceptional as grain is kept to a minimum. The overall detail is sharp and the colors are look strong through out. The source used for this DVD in is excellent shape with no signs of artifacts or compression.
An English Dubbed track presented in Dolby Digital mono is the only audio option included on this release. For a film that is nearly thirty years old the audio is free of distortion or hiss. The overall quality of the audio is very pleasing even for a mono track as the dialog is always easy to hear and follow.
The main extra on this release is an interview with the films director Aldo Lado. He speaks about the origin of this film and the actors he worked with on this project. Other extras include an extensive poster and stills gallery. Rounding out the extras are radio spots and theatrical trailers for the film. Blue Underground sets up once again rescuing another rarely seen film from obscurity and giving it a special edition DVD at an affordable price.