REVIEW: NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS (1975, TetroVideo)

Aldo Lado’s Night Train Murders is one of those films that most people have heard of but never seen. Rejected by the BBFC in 1976 then banned as a Video Nasty in 1983, the film was only granted a full uncut release in 2008 when it was released by Shameless Entertainment. Now, in 2021 the film is released on bluray for the first time by TetroVideo.

Two young girls take an overnight train from Münich in Germany to Italy with the intention of spending Christmas with their family. A scenic train journey descends into a nightmare when the train is boarded by two petty criminals who are out to make people’s lives misery…

Similar in tone (but certainly not identical) to Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left (1972), Night Train Murders is a notorious and savage revenge horror thriller which was way ahead of its time. When I think of Video Nasties, Night Train Murders is always on my mind and it had a lasting effect on me the first time I watched it and it is a rare example of one of the nasties which you could understand why it was banned back in the day.

There is nothing worse then being stuck on a train with a bunch of rowdy strangers late at night and it portrays this fear perfectly. It is the fear of the unknown which is in the air on every carriage on the train and you don’t know what is around the corner.

Aldo Lado assembled a fine cast of exceptional actors including Flavio Bucci (Suspiria) , Macha Mèril (Deep Red), Irene Miracle (Puppet Master) and enlisted the legendary composer Ennio Morricone (The Thing, Dollars Trilogy) to provide an epic score. The production values are incredibly high at every turn and it has the class and suave of a euro-crime thriller.

The film is shocking at times and really goes as far as it can to villainize the criminals and their newly met companion who humiliate and abuse two innocent teenage girls. Every scene is structured in such a way that every actor is involved or sells their behaviour traits, there are no background extras used just for the sake of it. There is even some slapstick humour thrown in at the strangest times to remind you it is just a movie. The acting is fantastic across of all of the cast, and the reason it hits you so hard is because it all looks so real and believable.

When Night Train Murders gets into full swing it is uncompromising. The seediness is turned up to full and it batters the morale compass repeatedly. It isn’t worth discussing the key plot points in this review is it will water down the effect of the on screen shocks. Much like I Spit On Your Grave (1978) you have to stick with it and it is worth watching it until the end credits. With any revenge thriller you have to sit through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff.

Night Train Murders is a movie which hit me hard long before I dabbled with the extreme genre, but going back to watch it all these years later made me appreciate it so much more. It is rare to watch a Video Nasty which has such a powerful impact in today’s times. Hopefully this is the first of many nasties to find its way onto the TetroVideo range.

Score: 5/5

Night Train Murders is available to pre-order on bluray from TetroVideo and is due for release on 15th December 2021.