The Cushing Files: Horror Express (1972) Simon Fitzjohn May 6, 2013 From The Vault 4012 A Hammer film in all but name (but not actually from the studio itself), Horror Express is an enjoyable romp that throws up a few more ideas than the genre norm. Let’s face it, any film that sees horror titans Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing square off against each other (and, in this case, team up as well) has got to be worth a watch, and this certainly proves to be the case. Set in the Victorian age, Lee plays Sir Alexander Saxton, an explorer and scientist who in the opening scenes of the film comes across a yeti-type figure frozen in a cave. Saxton is convinced this half-man, half-ape is two million years old and could be the answer to the evolution of man. For that reason he decides to box up the beast and pack it on a train heading across Siberia. The train is packed with a mix of the general public and the elite, including rival scientist Dr Wells (Cushing). Wouldn’t you know, after a short while the beast begins to thaw out and carnage ensues. We get brutal murders, zombies and even talk of aliens as the film moves along at a cracking pace. If this all sounds like your run-of-the-mill creature feature then think again, as Horror Express offers a lot more than that, although to go into too much detail would spoil the fun. Both Lee and Cushing are on top form (Lee has the bulk of screen time) and, as if that was not enough, Telly Savalas pops up in the film’s closing scenes for a bizarre cameo. With a lot of the filming taking place inMadridthere is a definite Euro-feel to proceedings which distances itself from the Hammer efforts, and director Eugenio Martin keeps things moving along nicely. Setting the action almost entirely on the train itself adds a nice urgency to things, and the confined carriages make for a neat horror scenario. There is also (well, in my mind anyway – my missus hated it) a cool soundtrack, a real 70s vibe complete with an eerie ‘whistle’ motif that really helps the mood. To be honest there really isn’t much I could moan about regards this film, other than to say some of the action was so dark it was very difficult to see what was going on at times – but I think that was more an issue with the DVD than anything else. Horror Express is fun, thrilling and has a bit of thought thrown in for good measure – great entertainment.