In a summer that is dominated by high profile cameos, talked about bit parts, and scene stealing appearances it would appear prudent to revisit one of the greatest all-time scene stealing roles ever created on film, in the history of things that have been put on film, and are awesome. How’s that for a run-on sentence.
The film that we will be discussing today is The Horror Express. It’s a delightfully constructed horror film starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. For those who aren’t informed Lee and Cushing were the odd couple of Horror in the late 60’s through early 80’s. They played off each other in numerous roles for Hammer including Frankenstein and The Monster, Van Helsing and Dracula, the Mummy and the-guy-who-hunts-the-Mummy. The were a bankable property. If you had a halfway decent horror script and you dropped those two in as the hero and villain respectively you had a success, essentially.
The production company behind Horror Express knew that. But this time they put the duo together as a team. Lee and Cushing are on the same side of the law! Awesome! The crowds will travel from miles around to see it right? Well, maybe.
The film centers around Lee, as a not-indianna jones adventurer. The opening scene in the film is Lee, wearing an amazingly garish hat and sporting a wicked mustache, unearthing a mummy. Quickly, Lee gets the mummy on a train headed for a college where he is going to do research on it. Of course Peter Cushing plays a friendly rival scientist who is curious as to what Lee has in a person sized crate.
This is where the film gets really ineresting. The mummy in the crate, of course, gets loose and starts killing people. It looks at them with a glowing read eye and they begin to bleed out of the face and die. Awesome right? Well, it gets better. After about 30 minutes of who dunnit the mummy is killed and its consciousness is transferred into the train conductor. YES. Isn’t that exactly where you expected this to go? Well, it gets better. The super powered train conductor/mummy goes around sucking peoples brains out through their eyes. Lee and Cushing are so overwhelmed that they start taking up efforts to find and kill whoever is doing this… and that’s when the best part of any movie anywhere ever created happens.
Telly Savalis shows up as a Cossack pirate and hijacks the train.
There are more twists and turns to the film but I feel that I’d be doing them an injustice if I attempted to explain them to you. The Horror Express is something that is best witnessed. In not only for Telly Savalis but for the super powered mummy/train conductor. It’s the most brilliantly insane movie I’ve seen in years.
Do yourself a favor and go out and buy it.