• Night Train Murders

    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: April 12th, 2015.
    Director: Aldo Lado
    Cast: Irene Miracle, Laura D'Angelo, Gianfranco De Grassi, Flavio Bucci
    Year: 1975
    Purchase From Diabolik DVD

    The Movie:

    Directed by Aldo Lado in 1975, Night Train Murders follows a pair of skuzzy criminals named Blackie (Flavio Bucci) and Curly (Gianfranco De Grassi) who wind up on a train with the intention of doing some damage. Also on this train are Lisa Stradi (Laura D’Angelo) and her cousin Margaret (Irene Miracle), two pretty young women travelling home to see their families for the holidays. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happens next, and the girls soon find themselves essentially being held hostage on a train by a pair of oversexed psychopaths.

    Blackie and Curly were on the run from the cops though, that’s the very reason that they got on the train in the first place – will the law catch up to them before they go too far or are Lisa and Margaret basically screwed? And what’s up with the older woman on the train (Macha Meril), the one who seems to be enjoying all of this far more than she should?

    Very clearly influenced by Wes Craven’s Last House On The Left, Lado’s picture isn’t nearly as slick as some of the Giallo’s he is better known for but it definitely delivers some sleazy thrills. Setting the action on the train gives the story some added tension, as you just can’t run out the door and escape the way you can from a building. The train is moving at a good pace and any escape attempt on the part of Lisa and Margaret would be dangerous. As such, you very definitely get the feeling that our two victims are very much in some very real danger quite early on in the storyline.

    Performance wise, D’Angelo and Miracle both look right for their respective parts. The each offer up some decent work here and play things both sweet and sexy at the same time. Their characters contrast with those played by Bucci and De Grassi, the latter of whom does his best David Hess impersonation in the film but can’t quite reach the same levels of intensity that the late Hess brought to Last House’s Krug. Throwing Meril’s character into the mix also spices things up a bit, as she shows some interesting development here. Her initial rejection of the thugs’ abrasive tactics soon turns into something far more accepting of it. As such, the antagonistic side of the script winds up with an unexpected third element.

    Lado and his team shoot the film with plenty of style. Like the best Italian horror movies the film always looks great, making excellent use of the train’s closed quarters and high speed to build tension and atmosphere. The film makes no qualms about rubbing the viewers’ faces into the seedy side of humanity. This is made readily apparent in a scene where the two girls are being raped and a fellow passenger first peers at them and then winds up joining in on the assault. Ennio Morricone’s score for the film is a good one, heightening the mood that helps bring everything to a suitably dark and grisly conclusion. It may be derivative, or even a flat out rip off of Craven’s film, but Night Train Murders is done well enough that you probably won’t mind so much - it’s simultaneously effective, sleazy, slick and disturbing.


    88 Films’ transfer looks almost identical to Blue Underground’s Blu-ray issues back in 2012. The 1.85.1 widescreen transfer looks good, encoded in AVC and presented in 1080p high definition. Detail is improved over standard definition offerings of the past while color reproduction looks great. Close up shots show a lot of facial detail while texture is also considerably better than what we’ve seen in the past. Flesh tones look good, print damage is minimal (you’ll spot a few specks here and there but otherwise things look very clean) and there aren’t any heavy edge enhancement problems to complain about (you might spot some minor instances here and there but it’s never overpowering). Compression artifacts are a non-issue as well and overall, the movie looks very good here. Those put off by some of the odd noise that’s appeared in previous Blue Underground transfers, however, may note some of the same issues appearing here as well but the good very definitely outweighs the bad at a very substantial margin.

    Audio options are provided in English and Italian in LPCM Mono with English subtitles provided for the Italian language option only – oddly enough, there are two separate, but identical, encodes on this 50GB disc rather than two separate audio options provided for the same video encode. This means that you’re not able to switch back and forth between audio options, instead you need to go back to the main menu and switch it from there. Regardless of that odd authoring choice, the audio here is fine. Dialogue for both tracks is crisp, clear and nicely balanced and the subtitles that are provided on the Italian track are easy to read and free of any obvious typos. The Blue Underground disc didn’t include an Italian language option so it’s nice to see this alternate audio track included here.

    The main extra on the disc is a twenty-two minute long featurette called Strangers On A [Late Night] Train which is basically an extended interview with leading lady Irene Miracle in which she talks about how she wound up working as an actress in Italy, what it was like working with the cast and crew on this picture and her thoughts on some of the more extreme, exploitative content in the picture. Also included here is a separate segment called Further Adventures In Italy running just under four minutes wherein she talks about a strange incident that occurred while working on a film with Luigi Cozzi. We won’t spoil it, but it’s an amusing and bizarre tale to be sure.

    Rounding out the extras are English and Italian language theatrical trailers, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    88 Films offers up a solid presentation of Aldo Lado’s Night Train Murders, a sufficiently sleazy slice of Italian horror that offers up some memorably twisted set pieces, great location work and a cool score made even cooler in high definition. The transfer doesn’t improve on what Blue Underground previously offered but the inclusion of the Italian track is a nice touch and the exclusive extras will be of interest to fans.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!