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  Late Night Trains Carriage Carnage
Year: 1975
Director: Aldo Lado
Stars: Flavio Bucci, Macha Méril, Gianfranco De Grassi, Enrico Maria Salerno, Marina Berti, Franco Fabrizi, Irene Miracle, Laura D'Angelo
Genre: Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's Christmas time and a Santa collecting for charity in a German street is suddenly set upon by two thugs, Blackie (Flavio Bucci) and Curly (Gianfranco De Grassi), when he takes the opportunity to have a drink. The two men run off, heading for the railway station, as are two young women travelling from Germany to Italy, going home for the festive season. Margaret (Irene Miracle) and Lisa (Laura D'Angelo) are cousins, and leaving behind one half of their family they catch the train to take them to the other half, but unfortunately for them so do the two ne'erdowells. They don't know it yet, but their paths are headed for a collision...

The strains of Demis Roussos herald the arrival of, no, not another production of Abigail's Party, but Late Night Trains, also known as Don't Ride the Late Night Trains, or L'Ultimo treno della notte if you're Italian. If you are a seasoned exploitation movie viewer, then after a while watching this a distinct sense of overfamiliarity will make itself plain, because this is not so much inspired by Wes Craven's Last House on the Left as a complete remake (or rip off, if you're feeling less generous), only this - and here's the crucial difference - is set on a train.

Other than that, although the script makes pretentions to social commentary, however sincere, these ring pretty hollow. Director Aldo Lado, who co-wrote, fills in various characters on the carriages once the journey gets underway, including a respected professor and a group of folk-singing Germans who Blackie prompts to "Heil Hitler" in the heat of the moment, but the most important one is the apparently prim young upper class woman who is revealed to be carrying naughty pictures in her handbag when it accidentally falls open.

It is she who has a close encounter with one of the thugs, at first resisting then deciding, apparently because she's one of the villains, that she quite likes the idea. Yes, those two are a bad influence, so mixing this with the lady's awakened depravity is a deadly cocktail. And when the train is stopped due to a bomb threat, Margaret and Lisa escape the threesome's attentions by jumping onto another train which will take them straight to their destination. But they will never reach it, because Blackie and Curly, now accompanied by the dodgy woman (icy Macha Méril's character is never given a name) find them in their compartment and invite them to a small party where violence is on the menu.

While all this goes on, we see Lisa's parents holding a dinner party themselves, only this is a far more civilised affair even if the are sanctimoniously discussing how to cope with violence in society. The fact that Lado sees fit to punish such intellectuals for their hubris is no cause for amusement, it's simply a method to justify the finale, which in an incredibly contrived turn of events has Lisa's father taking bloody retribution on the villains. Although unpleasant at times, Late Night Trains is nowhere near as intense as its biggest influence, so if you're a sleazehound looking for kicks, you're better off with the original. There's little that Craven did, or Ingmar Bergman did with The Virgin Spring for that matter, that Lado comes close to matching, but fans of Italian thrillers whose curiosity has been piqued can be advised to investigate. It at least provides some tension before falling apart in the last half hour. Music by Ennio Morricone.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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