I originally bought this DVD as a going away gift for Jimmy when he was making his way to Africa.
I presented it to him at a friend's New Year's Party and I think he could automatically tell how crappy the movie was and how little I paid for it. Both of these factors caused Jimmy to "forget" it at the party, where I was forced to rescue it.
After watching the movie for the first time I was convinced that in order to entice the actors into taking a role they must have been offered whores made out of gold.
It was the only way I could explain the presence of Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Telly Savalas.
The movie centres on an English anthropologist (Christopher Lee) who is transporting on the trans-Siberian express - the Horror Express, as it were - a frozen creature, which he believes to be the missing link.
Unfortunately, as is wont to happen on a Horror Express, the creature thaws out and begins to slaughter the passengers. It is now up to Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, an English doctor, to track down the monster and find out what is going on.
Add to this stunning plot a morass of shady characters (spies, Rasputin-like monks, countesses, cruel cossacks, etc) and you've got one hell of a stunning cinematic achievement.
As the movie goes on it becomes clear that the creature holds an exciting, plausible link to the history of the world - one which will revolutionise science as we know it - a link that is neither exciting nor plausible.
The special effects are fittingly inferior, the autopsy scene easily coming to mind as a graphic reminder of either how little money needs to be invested into passable special effects or just how much of an autopsy can be achieved with a hacksaw.
The special effects department deserves extra credit for making the Horror Express look like a miniature toy, which I'm certain was their intention all along. Even more astounding about this achievement is that they didn't achieve it at all given that, according to allmovies, the footage was taken from an earlier movie.
I estimate that the budget for this movie was three lemons and a turnip that looked like a lemon.
The 1970's must have been a beautiful time, especially for cinema. It was a heady time where "science-fiction" roughly translated to "making illogical shit up" and presenting it as fact without the slightest trace of self-consciousness.
Adherence to the principles of science, however, is rarely why cheap, low-grade horror movies are made.
The sad fact of this monstrosity of a film is that it is genuinely entertaining. It is so stupid and over the top that you can help investing yourself into it.
It allows you to suspend your disbelief enough to accept the sickeningly obese plot holes. You find yourself accepting the flawed "facts" and just going for the ride. I mean, yeah, it's stupid, but, then, so are you.
It also delivers some pretty funny one-liners.
This thing cost me about ten bucks, and if you ever see it, I suggest you buy it.
Oh, and it also has zombies.
Reviewed on Sunday, 20 July 2003