Night Train to Terror

Production Year: 1985
Release Date: 10/08/2013
Studio: Vinegar Syndrome
Collection Number: 1332

The 80's were a special time for the genre, if you had an idea and knew the right people you could probably get a picture funded.  Sure, occasionally you might have to cut a few corners...Maybe the mob funded your film, who knows.  It was an "ask questions later" kind of time when companies were more willing to take risks.  It's that kind of freedom and attitude that produced some of the genre's most memorable films.  It also gave us films like Night Train to Terror.  A movie that will likely leave you scratchin' your noggin.



The film kicks off with what must be one of the worst dance scenes in cinematic history and is quickly followed by a conversation between two elderly men on a dark old train.  To get a little more specific the two men are God and The Devil.  Their discourse?  Debating whose souls they're going to take.  Yeah, I can't make this stuff up.


This conversation leads into a series of short stories about characters facing redemption and damnation.  You read that right, this is in fact an anthology film!   Anthologies and horror go together like cunnilingus and Michael Douglas...Right?  Too soon?


Anyhow, the first story is titled Harry and it's really all over the place.  It's about an psych ward staffed by deviants.  The crew collect body parts from various patients using a man named Harry (John Phillip Law) as bait.  The main issue with each of these shorts is that they occasionally don't make a lot of sense.  Each has been pieced together from unfinished or abandoned horror/suspense films.  It's kind of like watching a film and hitting the "skip" button every five minutes.  The central story is there, but you can't help but feel like you're missing a few pieces of the puzzle.


Gretta is more of the same, the story of a young woman (Gretta; Merideth Haze,) and the man obsessed with her (Glenn; Rick Barnes.)  The couple get mixed up in a cult ("The Death Club") that's obsessed with near death experiences.


The last is titled Claire and it's the best of the three stories, Claire (Faith Clift) is a woman of faith, her husband James (Richard Moll) is the polar opposite and is on the verge of releasing a book titled God is Dead.  The couple cross paths with Oliver (Robert Bristol) who just so happens to be the son of Satan.  He also happens to look like Richard Ramirez while sounding a lot like Stewie Griffin.  I'd say that's the ultimate combination.  Joking aside, this is the strongest of the three shorts with a decent story and some damn cool (albeit a bit campy) visuals.


All three are tied together with fervent debates between God and Satan along with the occasional music video-esque dance number.  Yes, more about the singing...Along with the biblical-two you've got a train full of jamming musicians who are unknowingly riding to their demise.  You'll be humming the song for days until you find escape through the barrel of a pistol.  Yeah, it's that catchy.


The film looks surprisingly good in high definition.  The colors are natural and there's a good amount of detail present.  The film occasionally suffers from some issues due to it's age but it's not enough to cause any alarm. In terms of AQ things are about the same.  Vinegar Syndrome has supplied the blu-ray with a 2.0 DTS HD sound mix.  Things are about even across the board, the dialogue is clear, the music is never overbearing.  There is a bit of a hissing heard occasionally, but it's few and far between.

There's a handful of supplements to chew on if you're still yearning for more once the credits roll.
-An interview with the director Jay Schlossberg-Cohen: (Audio only)
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An interview with Assistant Editor Wayne Schmidt: (Audio only; exclusive to the DVD)
-Commentary track with The Hysteria Continues
-Gretta: (DVD only) this is the complete version of one of the shorts featured in the anthology
-Theatrical trailer (HD)

The audio interviews can be a bit tedious at times, but are well worth the listen once they get into the subject of Night Train to Terror.  The film Gretta is a nice inclusion, as I mentioned the shorts do occasionally suffer from the obvious trimming, I love that Vinegar Syndrome included one of the completed films to accompany the main feature.



Night Train to Terror is so bad that is manages to be oddly fulfilling.  The wrap around story is well...Strange.  The musical numbers are cliched, the acting is often campy, and the stories occasionally do not add up.  With all that said, it manages to entertain in the strangest of ways.



4 comments:

  1. Man I must applaud the screen caps, they are top notch! I can't believe this hatchet job came out on Blu-Ray! The pic looks a slightly hair better than the video dub. Did you see my review http://www.theaterofguts.com/2012/11/night-train-to-terror.html

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    1. It's surprising VS went after it and did such a good job with the disc, but I'm happy that someone is willing to go out of their way for a film like this. I just checked out your review, have you downloaded the catchy song yet? I'm thinking about finding it and keeping it on repeat for a few days. I'll call it "an experiment in suicide."

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  2. I would watch it on TV or Netflix, but wouldn't purchase it.

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  3. I didn't know it was available! The song is catchy and hostile like they are calling us losers

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