Night Train To Terror (1985)
Directed by John Carr, Phillip Marshak, Tom McGowan, Jay Schlossberg-Cohen, and Gregg C. Tallas (whew!)
Written by Phillip Yordon
Run Time: 98 minutes
25 Words or Less:
Three movies, one never finished, edited into a full length film complete with God, Satan, boobs, and death machines.
Plenty of cheesy animation consisting of demons tossing around dolls, er, people, flying death-wasps with glowing eyes, etc.
The first third of the movie features more than enough distasteful shots of semi-nude women getting brutalized to varying degrees. Kind of gross to be honest.
The pastel-clad 80′s ‘rock’ band playing in the back of the train should be more than enough for anybody. ‘C’mon and daaaaaance with me! daaaaaaance with me!‘
Even though the gore consists mainly of off-screen stage hands tossing red paint on the walls, the first part of the movie is rather violent with plenty of dismemberments and jars of (fake) heads, rooms full of arms and legs, etc.
This weird movie is actually composed of scenes culled from 3 films penned by writer Phillip Yordon:"Scream Your Head Off", "Carnival of Fools", and "Satan’s Supper". Each film had bits and pieces cut out of it which were then edited together into 30 minute shorts with an amazing lack of clarity and continuity. You may wonder just how in the world this could make any sense. Well, it doesn’t. But they attempt to sew things together by wrapping the 3 mini-movies into a larger story about a doomed train on which God and Satan (who calls himself Lou Cipher…ha ha, get it?) discuss the fates of the souls of the people in the shorts which they watch on the window via some sort of ethereal projector. Oh, and there’s a really cheesy 80′s rock band on the train to pad out the run time and pleasure us with songs, break dancing, and horrible hair. There’s no real way to get through the film in any coherent manner. Even the continuity within the various shorts is hopelessly confused and you end up wondering what the hell were they thinking with all this?
The first short (cut from "Scream Your Head Off"), features Harry, played by a bored John Phillip Law, who ends up in a mental hospital after a car crash. (How?!) The eeeeevil doctors turn him into a mind-controlled kidnapper who is sent out to drug women and takes them back to the Institution where they have their breasts groped by Otto (a young Richard "Bull" Moll from "Night Court" fame) before being lobotomized and/or dismembered by the hospital staff. As mentioned before, the story line is utterly confused, dialog is missing and/or simply spoken over by the narrator so you have no idea what’s going on at any given time unless it’s women being abused by Otto, which happens fairly often.
Anyway, after a seemingly endless series of misogynic scenes, Harry fights his way out of the asylum, guts and beheads Otto (more red paint tossed on the walls) and escapes back to the outside world where he…we never find out, and frankly, I don’t care.
The middle act, and by far the most entertaining of the 3, is called "The Death Club". A young college guy, Glenn, who looks like he’s 15 years older than his "college" classmates, falls in love with Greta, an actress in a stag movie his buddies are playing in their frat house.
Through the magic of editing, Glen tracks down Gretta playing piano at some creepy guy’s night club, befriends her, and eventually discovers she’s part of a "death club": a group of rich weirdoes who meet to tempt their fate with death in a variety of admittedly entertaining methods: killer bugs, electric chairs, and a wrecking ball swung over their heads by a rope just barely NOT strong enough to hold it. After a while, for some reason, the Death Club members take Glen hostage and force him to take part in the "festivities". After a bit, the story simply ends (!) and we cut back to the train where God simply announces "and then they lived happily ever after."
If you bother to look up "Carnival of Fools" on the Internet, you’ll discover that the plot is completely different than the one presented in this short bit, but who cares, right? Although the plot is really, really confusing, it is pretty funny to watch the Death Club going through their rituals with ludicrously elaborate devices set to randomly select somebody for death.
The third and final vignette is an absolute mess. To boil the story down to something halfway understandable: An old Holocaust survivor is watching TV one night and recognizes a man whom he is certain was a murderous guard nearly 60 years go. How could that be? The guy on TV looks so young? (Cue evil laughter). When the police refuse to investigate, the old guy takes matters into his own hands and ends up being killed by a demon. A police detective who lives across the hallway takes interest in the story and gets killed as well. (I think. His partner is killed at least. Ack.) The rest of the film consists of various characters appearing, sticking their noses into this demon-guy’s business, and getting killed off by hilariously animated monsters. I guess the forces of Darkness win that round.
In general, the stop-motion demon animation is atrocious, but fun to watch in all of its glorious corniness. The devil masks were ok; at least they were sufficiently coated with slime and goo so that all seams were hidden from sight. On a positive note, although the effects are generally sub-par, there is a lot of scenes showing demons killing people in various ways, so you’ll get your money’s worth here.
With the end of the third act, the train crashes, and everybody dies. Never fear, God outwits "Lou Cipher" and takes the band to Heaven with him. Whew. What a relief.
Cut to closing credits…I’m outta here.
Dennis Grisbeck (April 2012)
An odd curiousity bit from the 80′s. Amazing what people can do with an editing machine and a few beers. I think this movie is probably going to be hard to find, assuming you’d want to find it in the first place. I happened to be blessed with a copy in my ever-entertaining Drive-In Classics box set. (Thanks again, Karl). Is it worth watching? Meh…..if you get a chance, sure, pop it in at least for the “Death Club” scenes.
|Pastels for the win!
And he can break-dance too!
|Monk dragged to Hell
…and by a Play-Do spider demon…how embarrasing.
Check out the poster here
Oh, and a little collection of scenes to give you an idea of what I sit through for this site…