Day 18 of 31
L’ultimo Treno Della Note – Don’t Ride on Late Night Trains (Horror, 1975) (Banned) D: Aldo Lado W: Roberto Infascelli (story) Renato Izzo + P: C: Flavio Bucci, Mache Meril, Gianfranco De Grassi. 1h 34m. Italy.
TAGLINE : Most movies hast less than two hours! This is one of everlasting torment.
A turbulent nightmare ride of pain and pleasure. Amplified by a past pace, daunting cinematics and a host of uncomfortable and grotty scenes. Seemly inspired by various other video nasties of the time, namely Last House on the left (1972) and Who saw her die? (1972). The film is more of a gore scare than anything really steeped in horror, it’s got that psycho edge as in Trip with Teacher (1975) where the crazy culprits have a lot of deep issues and sexual tension.
The film starts off so fucking happy, it’s Christmas time in Germany and school is out! Margaret and Lisa, high school friends, take the night train from Germany to Verona to spend Christmas with Lisa’s family. They flirt mildly with male passengers, including two randy delinquents in their 20s, Blackie and Curly. The four of them end up in a first-class cabin with a well-dressed woman of about 30 who has pornographic photographs in her valise. Egged on by the woman, the thugs and a male visitor to the cabin menace and then assault Margaret and Lisa. Meanwhile, we also see Christmas Eve and morning scenes at Lisa’s home, where her parents are polite to each other while discussing divorce. On Christmas morning, they go to the station to meet the girls. Will they be on the train?
Stylised as the typical Italian slasher the film is only really enhanced by the effects given by the momentum and lights of the moving train, a slightly less endearing soundtrack and some very peculiar situations and characters. One of the more unusual aspects of this film is that woman would be present, enjoying and orchestrating the physical violence onto the two young women… The two asshole goons are urged on by the well-dressed nymphomaniac portrayed by the beautiful Macha Méril.
There is another curious character in the film who at first appears to be a peeping tom, skulking around on the train, this well dress man who basically stands outside of the carriage door watching these two young girls getting tortured, when gets invited in to join the group, shags one of the girls then leaves! I mean is that what happens on night trains, he seemed to be quite an expert in this. There are lots of questionable actions and strange characters in this film. Curly, the other thug and drug addict is one of those characters who is pivotal but doesn’t really do much, except add in the harmonica soundtrack and gets feisty with his knife.
The film has a ton of different titles it’s also known as Night Train Murders, The New House on The Left, Second House on The Left, Don’t Ride on Late Night Trains, Last Stop on the Night Train, Late Night Trains, Last House Part II and Xmas Massacre
The film is heavily dubbed and I think a lot of it’s oomph has been lost in translation. There are the peculiar statements that don’t make a lot of sense in English but it deters little from the plot of the film. The “bad guys” taunting is pretty lame but in all respects the film isn’t aiming to be vulgar , there isn’t a lot of swearing, I’m struggling to think if there is any? but off the cuff statements like “What’s the matter? Have you never made love before?” coming from the “Lady” is enough to get the blood boiling and shameful tears flowing. Before you know it Curly is up and after a rape attempt he’s more than happy to….“We’re only gonna cut her a little.” And while high on “drugs” (what did he take so successfully in the toilets of a moving train?) he starts acting like a surgeon who forgets that he’s on a moving train.. dammit if he was using a hypodermic he would have been more accurate.
Fully scored by the musical genius Ennio Morricone, which basically is one of the actors blowing into a harmonica, which gives the film an eerie western noir feel. A lot the shots follow the male perspective and centres in on lots of female body parts. There is one scene that does make me laugh and it’s not funny but watching a half-naked girl run up and down a carriage always gets a giggle outta me, yep nekked butts on a train..
With some mediocre acting where everyone is trying to be someone else. Flavio Bucci who plays Blackie is a poundland version of David Hess, just a little underpowered but a still fairly thuggish. The teen girls who play on the edges of flirty are depicted well by Margaret and Laura, but the show is stolen by the Doctor/Father (Enrico Maria Salemo) who is both courageous and fearless and in a stark contrast Macha Meril who’s simply known as Lady on The Train who has one of the more complicated parts to play, not only is she a dodgy nympho, who teams up with some bad boys, she’s also a seductive liar and psychopath but with all the airs and social graces of a real lady.Lado was still coasting along from the success of Who Saw Her Die (1971) where the parents of a slaughtered girl search for her killer, and while it’s prevalent in a range of similar movies one of the other aspects in this film as vocalised in several conversations is all to do with hating the bourgeois upper class and violence in society, but it’s easy to skim over that for the gritty attack on two fairly innocent (?) girls.
The film does bring a new edge to fearful train ride movies with a sexual predatory gang with a dash of mental frustrations and a slightly dodgy ending. It does leave a stamp on the class war argument, but doesn’t make it a point. The thugs are obviously anti-establishment and have no regard for culture in anyway, in one scene they see a woman at the station in a fur coat and cut it just because it looks expensive.
You’ll need to be a diehard fan of Italian or European horrors of the era to really get into this, a lot of people rated the movie pretty low as it’s so very similar to a number of other films but I find that it’s quite brilliant As a standalone original film it doesn’t work. But as part of a trend of movies all following a certain pattern it fits in well. In a similar way that Train (2008) is a basically Hostel (2005) but set on a train.. Night Train Murders is similar to Last House on the left (1972) confined to a train..
Verdic: It is very similar to a lot of other movies but I feel it stands alone and adds in a few key attributes that were missed, mostly about social structure and our avid lust for violence, which the film that adds too. Obviously you’ve got to be on the perverted side to really enjoy the film, but then you’d have to be in the same frame of mind to like I spit on your grave (1978). Still it’s “enjoyable” to watch, and will remain one of my favourites. While it’s not a powerhouse of intellect and doesn’t make it’s statements as bold as it should have, I picked up on it and I do really.
A pair of psychotic hoodlums and an equally demented nymphomaniac woman terrorize two young girls on a train trip from Germany to Italy.
Related: Last House on the left (1972) , Hitch Hike (1977), Who saw her die? (1972) Torso (1973) House at the edge of the park (1980) , Next! (1971), Train (2008) , I spit on your grave (1978).
Spotlight : Italian Horrors
L: Train movies, Italian Horrors, Selected Italian Movies
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