Running Time: 86 minutes
MPAA Rating: NR
Format: Standard 4:3
Audio: PCM 48khz 16 bit stereo
Languages: English
Subtitles: None
Region: 1
MSRP: $7.99 (OOP, thankfully)

Own It!
Horror Express (1972) (Simitar)

Horror Express features Hammer horror veterans Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in a Hammer-esque film -- but not made by Hammer studios. Lee's character, Professor Saxton, has discovered a "missing link" type corpse frozen in some caves in China and, as he boards a train to cross Siberia with his prize, finds himself in the company of fellow scientist Dr. Wells (Cushing), some Russian royalty, a mad Monk, a police inspector, and some easily panicked passengers. As one might expect, the thing that Saxton has locked in a crate in the baggage compartment is still alive and now it wants blood. In a strange twist on the standard "monster in a confined space" plot, this creature can transfer itself into the body of another person, making for some rather silly developments as the utterly rational scientists try to play "Spot the Monster." Things only get worse when Telly Savalas arrives as a Cossack who hijacks the train. Campy monster fun for fans of Lee and Cushing.

See our full review at Stomp Tokyo.

Compared to most tapes of Horror Express you'll find, the DVD is a small step up, but compared to DVD transfers of almost any movie, it's barely watchable. The full screen presentation does murder to the original widescreen print, and the lines that occasionally run across the screen serve only to mask the dirt particles on the original crappy film print. About the best that can be said for the visual aspects of the DVD is that the reds don't flare as much on the disc as they did on the tape. Sound quality is pathetic, with constant static fuzz that becomes glaringly apparent when you leave the audio running during a 2x fast-forward.  Luckily, Image Entertainment has released a better transfer.

The menus are clunky at best, with some confusing terminology ("Random Access?") and only eight chapter stops to break up the film. The "movie factoids" are some short bios and selected filmography listings for Cushing, Lee, and Savalas. Hardly the extras of which great DVDs are made. Even the $7.99 list price is too much to pay.

Chris Holland, 4/3/00