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  Terror Express
Year: 1979
Director: Ferdinando Baldi
Stars: Silvia Dionisio, Werner Pochath, Zona Kerova, Carlo De Mejo, Gianluigi Chirizzi, Venantino Venantini, Fausto Lombardi
Genre: Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Public transport in Britain is a disgrace! That's what I say anyway, so I guess that makes it official. Here in Bradford I believe "bus-surfing" has replaced last year's school-boy fashion of hurling breeze-blocks through bus windows and, even worse, I've actually seen with my own eyes young adolescent males openly smoking cigarettes on the back seat. If you hail a cab, the taxi-drivers actually speak to you... and explain to you that, thanks to crystal-meth, they haven't slept for fifty-seven hours - or maybe fifty-eight, they usually can't remember. And the trains! Oh God, the trains! Drunkards emitting screams in between lumps of vomit and crack-babies emitting lumps of vomit in between screams! Teenagers talking shit over mobile phones. Businessmen giving their poncey friends a minute-by-minute commentary on their journey via mobile phone. Fit birds telling their ugly boyfriends sitting right next to them how much they love them and how this abortion won't damage their relationship like last time..... via mobile phone. The dude pushing the food trolley containing only mineral water, his bubbling acne exploding in fury every time he recalls Mother telling him that one day he would be chairman of British Rail. Even worse, on a more personal level, a frumpish, cock-dodging social-worker once asked me to move seats so her elderly, crippled friend could sit down! I ask you! I mean, I buy a ticket like anybody else!

But this is Britain, right? Perhaps we should think ourselves lucky we don't live in Italy, where the cannibals are mean, the zombies are green (well, a sort of brownish-grey colour), concentration-camp internees are keen and the trains are just fucking death traps waiting to snap! Like in Late Night Trains. Remember that teenage lovely having her cherry popped by a David Hess lookalike's switchblade? Well that's pretty mild compared to the events of Terror Express.

OK. So get this folks. There's an insalubrious trio of affluent, drunken, and needless to say, sadistic slobs who decide to hold an entire train carriage hostage. And they all dress like late-eighties football thugs. And they all have sweaty armpits. Does that make you feel a trifle uncomfortable? Not really? Well, listen up my friends - one of them, known as Ernie, sports an enormous David Hess (Tch! That name again!) style bubble perm! That means big trouble, right? Let this be a warning to all thirty-something housewives out there; beware of that guy who always buys you drinks in the disco when your husband thinks you're at bingo. Curlies are always the worst....

There are so many breaches of public safety regulations on offer here one doesn't know where to begin, so here's a small selection. A bitchy, upmarket wife finds herself sandwiched in an unpallatable rape-sandwich... but because this is the Golden Age of Italian sleaze cinema, she asks for it! The father in a dysfunctional family shags the train's in-house harlot... while she wears his teenage daughter's nightdress! An elderly lady coughing on her death bed makes a date with the Reaper a little sooner than expected... when Ernie decides to choke her! And in the movie's grimiest scene, the happy threesome force the male passengers to roll dice to see who gets to deflower the aforementioned teenager.. including her father! It goes without saying that all this takes place in between various kickings, beatings and sexual harrassment. However, regular commuters will be really grinding their teeth and clutching their fists in anger when the party-boys play nerve-destroying Walkman-style tunes (a tinny drumbeat over a backdrop of white noise) on their bulky, old-fashioned, mono "tape-recorder" (a medieval word for "hi-fi", I believe). Just think, if they had been playing Ibiza Chlamydia Party 1998 they would probably have been murdered on the spot!

But hostage situations can only go on so long can't they, and sure enough the train has to stop for the intervention of a wheel-tapper (not Bernard Manning, you fools!), allowing a street-wise cop, his political prisoner and the misunderstood prozzie to overpower their captors. Does that sound like an extremely brief descrption of the end to you? Well, I told it to you in real time.....

Because, you see, Terror Express is little more, or rather no more, than a "home-invasion" movie on wheels. You know the sort I mean, House At The Edge Of The Park, Fight For Your Life, things like that, and the object of these movies is merely to show you as many humiliating experiences as is humanly possible within its ninety minute running time, without making you suffer humiliation yourself by frequenting the neighbourhood sex shop. While Straw Dogs, for example, concentrates mainly on Dustin Hoffman fighting back against his aggressors these horrid, yet strangely satisfying sick-flicks offer merely a petit-finale to an unpretentious carnival of cruelty, allowing the movie a tiny dandruff-grain of artistic merit, at least in the director's diseased mind. In fact, this movie concludes so quickly that many facets of the storyline are left dangling like its promiscuous heroine's suspender belts.

Still, you gotta love these films. Whether you're laughing along with your friends or sitting nervously alone hoping the neighbours can't hear through the walls, you always get your money's worth. Pillars of society would no doubt be horrified by this, mainly because they forgot to put it on the DPP list all those years ago ( It makes Nightmares In A Damaged Brain look like Spy Kids), but of course Rampton patients on day-release will lap this up. Think of it this way, you could stick a felcher's two-month-old chewing gum to your TV set and still not be as sickened as you would be by this... even if the felcher in question was sat right next to you... quietly slipping his arm around your shoulders.

aka Terror Express!, La Raggazza Del Vagone Letto
Reviewer: Wayne Southworth


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