Terror Express / La ragazza del vagone letto (1979)

3.0 out of 5

If Aldo Lado's Night Train Murders ever required a companion piece for a double bill, then surely Fernando Baldi's Terror Express must be in with a good shout. With a near identical premise of three thugs terrorising passengers on a train, Baldi jettisons some of the more gruesome elements of Lado's film, in favour of more sleaze, nudity and general debauchery. And with the script being written by no less than George Eastman himself,it's a safe bet that this was, perhaps, originally intended for Eastman's regular directorial cohort, Joe D'Amato and not the more respectable Baldi.

With a great cast, Silvia Dionisio's prostitute-with-a-heart-of-gold spends most of her screen time screwing anyone in trousers who pops by her carriage. A frequently topless Zora Kerova gets her customary comeuppance in a dingy train toilet, with only Venantino Venantini as Korova's henpecked husband bringing an air of respectability to proceedings in a pretty straight role. There's not much point trying to intellectualise this film. It's job is to titillate, and it does that extremely well.

Terror Express clearly knows the audience it's aiming for. This is pure exploitation, but one that's never short on entertainment. A claustrophobic setting, relatively decent performances from the cast, and enough sleaze and sex to disgrace even Jess Franco's oeuvre, Terror Express is a pretty decent slice of Friday night exploitation.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics