Monday, October 23, 2006

31 Days of Halloween - Day 23 Movie

Except for an epilepsy inducing opening credits sequence, and an irritating score, "Horror Express" (1973) is a pretty decent movie, though tedium does start to set in during the final 10 minutes. Christopher Lee uncovers a very well preserved 2 million year old ape man in China, and has it shipped, via trans-Siberian train, when the ape-man comes back to life and all hell (and the ape-man) breaks loose. The ape-man is not what it seems, but is merely the host of an extra-terrestrial intelligence that learns what it needs by completely absorbing the contents of its victims' brains, sucking them dry and killing them in the process. Through in a mad religious zealot in the Rasputin mold, a Russian soldier played by Telly Savalas, and Peter Cushing, and you have what is mostly a clever little movie.

This movie was made shortly after Cushing's wife died, and he stayed on at Lee's urging, reminding him of the enjoyment they'd shared on numerous movies in the past. Unfortunately, the shared scenes between Cushing and lee, who play rivals, are not as plentiful as one would hope, and don't play them off of one another either. Shortly before he died, screenwriter, Arnaud D'Usseau was one of my writing instructors at NYU.

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