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Horror Express deftly bridges the gap between a taut period thriller and the trademark 'penny dreadful' storytelling of Hammer Studios.

Horror Express is far from the finest Hammer horror ever made but the picture contains more than enough schlocky entertainment to keep you amused for about 85 minutes.

Set in the year 1906, aboard the Trans-Siberian Express, the film first piles up the mystery and then the bodies as an ancient ape-man, recently excavated in Manchuria, escapes from his cage and goes on a rampage. The film might steal blatantly from more famous body-snatching tales - and even Agatha Christie - yet Horror Express quite deftly bridges the not so easily overcome gap between a taut period thriller and the 'penny dreadful' storytelling associated with Hammer Studios.

Stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing bring their customary touch of class to the proceedings while graciously leaving the real spotlight to scene- stealers Alberto de Mendoza (as a thinly-veiled Rasputin substitute) and Telly Savalas, who clearly has a blast in the movie's predictably over-the-top but satisfying final act.

release: 1972

director: Eugenio Martin

starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto de Mendoza, Telly Savalas


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