The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR (1985) *** ½

This is one of the stranger movies to come out of the 80’s (and that’s saying something!).

It’s an anthology movie that features a good cast, some terrible editing and some of the worst special effects I’ve ever seen. In short, it’s highly recommended!

The film begins on a train where some cheesy 80’s pop band plays. The breakdancing vocalist sings “Dance with me! Dance with me! Everybody’s got something to do, everybody but you!” Then God and Satan are seen sitting in a box car discussing the fates of some tormented souls.

They review “The Case of Harry Billings” in which John Phillip (Diabolik) Law is a man who gets pulled from a car wreck and stuck in a nut house where Richard (Night Court) Moll is the greasy assistant who mutilates women. Law is brainwashed into picking up women (one in a church!) for the mad female doctor’s experiments. In the end, Law decapitates a whining Moll and the doctor gets her just desserts. After God and Satan decide Law’s fate, Satan makes a play for the breakdancing band’s souls, but God says no way and calls their music “touching”!

Then God and Satan review “The Case of Gretta Connors” in which a slick dude picks up a chick at a carnival and turns her into his piano playing mistress. He also puts her into his homemade stag movies. (Who knew that carnies made such good porn stars?) When a young college student sees one of her movies, he falls in love with her and they start dating (!) When her pimp gets jealous he invites her man to his “castle” (it looks like something you’d put at the bottom of a fish tank) where they play bizarre variations of Russian Roulette. In one, they remain perfectly still while a badly animated stop motion bug flies around the room. It later goes out the window and attacks a couple making out. In the next they use electrical shocks instead of bullets and a Jimi Hendrix look alike says “Excuse me while I smoke!” and gets electrocuted. When the college kid tries to quit the so called “Death Wish Club”, the pimp holds him at gunpoint while they play the next game in which a wrecking ball is hovered above the members they are wrapped in sleeping bags. After the wrecking ball lands on some woman’s face, the story abruptly ends and train conductor says “They lived happily ever after”! HUH!?!

In the final and longest segment, “The Case of Claire Hanson”, Cameron (The Toolbox Murders) Mitchell is a detective tracking an ageless Nazi war criminal who is actually “The Devil’s Emissary”. He also wants an author (Richard Moll, from the first story but in a different role) who has just wrote a new book called, “God is Dead” to join Satan’s ranks. When Moll refuses, he gets turned into a flaming ragdoll and is impaled on a cross. There are also lots of bad Claymation monsters in this segment that are good for a few chuckles. In the end, the train carrying God and Satan (and the breakdancing band) crashes, but at the last minute God intervenes and the final shot of the movie is that of an obvious train model ascending to Heaven!

I’ve seen a lot of crazy “What the fuck?!?” endings, but that takes the cake.

This was actually three movies (Scream Your Head Off, Death Wish Club and Cataclysm) edited down to make a three part anthology. The only thing that really detracts from the fun is the editing. While the first tale moves right along, the second one ends abruptly and the third is overlong and slow in spots. The first runs a half an hour, the second only a scant 15 minutes and the third is almost 45 minutes. If all the stories were about the same amount of time, the film may have been better.

God stars as “Himself”, but it’s actually Ferdy (The Fearless Vampire Killers) Mayne. (Satan is billed as Lu Cifer!) The breakdancing singer, Byron Yordon is the son of screenwriter Phillip Yordon. No less than five directors are credited, but hey that’s five times the fun! Anthology movies kinda fell out of favor in the 80’s (Creepshow and Cat’s Eye are the obvious exceptions) but this would make a good double feature with The Offspring (AKA: From a Whisper to a Scream), another neglected 80’s horror anthology movie.

AKA: The Nightmare Never Ends.
Tags: anthology, cameron mitchell, horror, n
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