Upon release “Night Train Murders” was advertised as the “Second House on the Left” referring to the Wes Craven exploitation film (“Last House on the Left”). It took on a few names such as “Xmas Massacre” and “Last Stop on the Night Train” before being known simply as “Night Train Murders”. For 1975, this film was at the high point for exploitation-driven sex-with-violence movies.
In review, even with the graphic nature of its infamous rape and murder scenes it might still fall a bit less in impact today than much of what has come out of underground cinema. Directed by Aldo Lado, this Italian made movie has been a reoccurring name that often appears on extreme horror lists. It follows in the footsteps of films from the same era such as “Last house on the Left” which also contains a violent rape scene.
Getting down into the premise. “Night Train Murders” might translate somewhat convoluted for much of its directional reasoning . A pair of thugs, Blackie (Flavio Bucci) and Curly (Gianfranco De Grass) begin the movie robbing and stabbing a hired Santa Claus just for a little cash. They proceed to hightail it onto the next train leaving.
They stow aboard a destination train on its way from Germany to Verona while basically acting about as annoying as possible. This includes a fight with one of the conductors and indulging with one of the trains socialites.
That “might” be an issue, if this 30-something lady really minded. Though we find that even with her snobby upper class manner, she is far from polite and respectable “celebrating” her encounter in the women’s bathroom.
Margaret (Irene Miracle) and Lisa (Laura D’Angelo), 2 high school friends have set out to attend a Christmas get-together at Lisa’s parents home. Their train ride is delayed so they hop aboard another hoping to make up the time. Thinking they are alone, Margaret and Lisa soon find themselves in the company of Blackie, Curly, and the socialite who now appears to be part of the gang.
As Blackie and the lady fondle each other in the cart, Curly steps out briefly to shoot another hit into his arm. He returns amped up progressing his sexual desires unto the 2 ladies. This begins much for the worse.
“Night Train Murders” tries to be authentic but is quickly hampered by some bad acting and unrealistic situations. Some of which include a train ride that remains un-policed thru most of the film allowing an extended raping to occur followed by an accidental stabbing. Margaret and Lisa are subjected to the indulgence of these 2 men while being egged on by the lady who only antagonizes the situation. Allowing 2 women to be raped as she pretends like its just a game might fit the story but is often outside of how we expect things to play out. In addition, an older man stands by and watches outside the train compartment only to be invited in to participate. The socialite turns out to be the worst of the bunch who contradicts the opinion of her leading up to this part of the film. In fact, much of the violent and sexual behavior is directly influenced by her need to see things occur rather than showing any signs of compassion for the younger girls situation.
I suppose the whole affair is shocking and unnecessary attempting to give the piece a heightened emotional state that becomes the center of the whole film. “Nigh Train Murders” is actually a film that is centered on this middle event often giving us visual comparisons between the tortures these 2 girls must endure and a upper class party that carries on back at home. I wouldn’t call this a Christmas film, even though the whole weekend is spanned over the holiday
“Night Train Murders” was determined to be too intense for viewers getting a famous “video nasty” stamp to its name. The movie has been re-released on blu-ray per Blue Underground in its fully restored state.
Night Train Murders (1975)