Horror Express (1973)

Horror Express, or as my pals in Spain call it, Pánico en el Transiberiano, is one of those slow old horror movies you always figure all old horror movies are like. It's not written particularly well and pretty much every character is detestable or at best boring. It is also really tame as far as monster effects and gore go. So generally, the slow part (which is the first fifty minutes of the movie) is nearly unwatchable by modern man.

There is a monster stalking a bunch of awful people on a train, picking them off one-by-one. By the time the third person gets killed everyone starts to panic and the heroes start getting serious, first by having many leisurely meals in the dinner train, then by waiting for more people to die. Eventually they have no choice but to act when the monster attacks them, but even after killing it the murders continue! What on train could be happening??!?!?

And then the movie suddenly and without warning picks up when Telly Savalas aka Kojak shows up, playing the part of a crazy Cossack. I couldn't stop watching the movie every time this guy showed up. His dialog is nonsensical but is delivered so well you can't help but enjoy it. I personally was rooting for him to kill everyone on the train, including the monster and the train itself, but sadly the script writers and I were not on the same page and before you know it the movie becomes a zombie flick for about thirty seconds and then the ending happens and you get an image of the planet Earth. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, meddling scientists!

So besides Siberian Kojak what else is there to like in this movie. I am particularly fond of the scene where the scientists look at goo from the monster's eyeball in a microscope and are shocked that the monster stores it's memories not in it's brain but in it's eyes. They know this because looking at the eyeball goo under microscope reveals clear as days images of everything the monster has ever seen: the last guy it killed, a brontosaurus, and the planet Earth.

So although this movie has got the goods when it comes to thought-provoking scientific issues ("just what would a race of creatures whose eyeball goo is like an icky ViewMaster be like?"), it comes up short in the Horror (and honestly, the Express) categories.