When this is written in February of 2020 the Spanish legendary filmmaker
Eugenio Martín (born in 1925) is still alive, according to Wikipedia.
IMDB says he has directed 31 films between 1955 and 1987 and among them
many were Paella westerns, as Requiem para el Gringo or
Requiem for Gringo (Duel in the Eclipse/Requiem für
Django) and you can read about this one on my Cult & Classics page
But, he also made the very atmospheric horror Una vela para
el Diablo (A Candle for the Devil) in 1973 - read about this
one on my Horror page 2
but unfortunately only in Swedish, about repressed sexuality, bigotry
and murder in a spanish country village.
A Candle for the Devil is very underrated and unjustly obscure, in fact
it's one of my Spanish Golden Era all time favourites.
Horror Express is top notch, an absolute classic. It
looks sensational due to the cinematography by Alejandro Ulloa and even
though a low budget
the special effects, the spare sets, the clothes look great. Part of
a train and miniatyre sets was used cleverly, mostly, and everything
was shot in
Madrid. The snowy plains seen in the film was done, i suppose, the same
way as David Lean's colossal Dr. Zjivago was done, it's not snow but
some calcium or other powder. And, the best thing about this film is
not, i think, the relaxed acting from Lee & Cushing duo, the over
eccentric act Telly Savalas pulls off or the beauty of Silvia Tortosa,
but - the great and clever story Eugenio Martín came up with.
The very interesting and surprising Sci-Fi angle he adds to this Creature
loose on a Train horror movie.
In the intro we get to see Sir Alexander Saxton (Christopher
Lee) lead an expedition into a mountain range in Szechuan, China, where
he finds a
creature frozen into a block of ice. Nest, we're on the Trans-Siberian
Express and the creature is contained into a crate to be taken to London.
But, the creature wakes up, escapes from his box and starts to kill
and brainjump to the people on the train, the crew and the passengers.
Sir Alexander and Dr. Wells (Peter Cushing) tries to come up with an
idea of how to stop the 2 million year old beast.
Among the passengers there are the Count and Countess Petrovski (George
Rigaud and the beautiful Silvia Tortosa), the crazed monk Pujardov
(a great Alberto De Mendoza, i thought it was Paul Naschy at first)
and the police Inspector Mirov (Julio Peña, also very good) and
at the ending
in a guest role Telly Savalas has great fun in the role as an eccentric
The Gorgeous Silvia Eulalia Catalina Tortosa
In the extras audio commentary by duo i.a. Kim Newman
only one thing is sure, he won't mention any beautiful woman, and the
Tortosa as countess Irina Petrovska is totally ignored, but maybe Helga
Line (in a small role) as the spy Natasha are mentioned.
I've only seen Catalan actress Silvia (b.1947) in 3 films, this 1972
one, in 1991 TV movie El Caso de Carmen Broto, and
in Amando De Ossorio's
1973 delightful trash-horror classic Las Garras de Lorelei
as teacher Ackerman.
She's a popular Spanish TV actress and has mainly played in TV series,
but with a career stretching back to the 1960's she has acted in some
movies too, in a handful of horrors and crime movies. Besides the above
mentioned also in the obscure and seldom seen 1977 Paul Naschy crime
thriller "The Frenchman's Orchard", in a Carlos Aured 1983
thriller "El enigma del yate" and in a trashy 1988 Jess Franco
Silvia Tortosa in 1991 TV movie (read more about this film on my Cult
& Classics page 1)
The film is presented in 1.66:1 widescreen with an english
mono audio with english subtitles, region B.
Extras: Audio commentary by Kim Newman and Stephen Jones, Ticket to
Die: filmmaker Steve Haberman (8 minutes, 2018), Night Train to Nowhere:
filmmaker Ted Newsom on the blacklisted producer Bernard Gordon (15
minutes, 2018), Murder on the Trans-Siberian express: Archival interview
with director Eugenio Martin (13 minutes, 2011), Notes from the Blacklist:
Archival 2005 interview with producer Bernard Gordon (30 minutes),
Telly and Me: interview with composer John Cacavas (18 minutes, Severin
2011), theatrical trailer