Friday, 8 February 2019


'HORROR EXPRESS' is not unlike a 57 variety soup all in one tin. Explain? Many moons ago when a full time student and living in an abode that could have easily have fallen off the cinema screen during a showing of 'Withnail', the day would eventually arrive when the cupboard was bare for all us seven 'vegetarian' students, bare of all atrractive and palatable nash nosh, and every bean, pluse, rice and dried vegtable would be boiled up in the contents of what we called, 'TSOATP' or 'THE SOUP OF A THOUSAND PLOTS' . .  most of us being media students, we compared each content to that of a movie plot line. 

THE POINT IS, where as most films have one, 'EXPRESS' has not only one plot, but several. Just as the film feels like it's following one direction, it throws in, another.. and another! There are lots of great ideas in this low budget Spanish horror, and each one has made it into the plot. It's not that it damages the film, far from it, it's these winds and bends that makes it very entertaining and never dull. If you are a Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee fan, you won't be a stranger to this film, if you have never seen the movie, I ain't going to add a damaging and de-railing SPOILER, that would no doubt ruin what is going to be for you, quite a unique 84 minute Cushing / Lee experience! But if you DO want more on the film, along with a gallery and plot, HERE IS THE PCAS FEATURE WITH ALL THAT AND MORE!

HERE IS THE NEWS: ARROW FILMS has a pulled off a very impressive transfer of 'Horror Express' and if you are a collector who has specific tastes to 'the lightness, the darkness, the contrast' of your purchases, I'll let you chew this one over, on your own. But for me personally, the picture quality looks very good indeed and WAY surpasses any other copy of the film I own from past purchases. This release has been restored to a very clear, clean and crisp 2K version from its original 35mm camera negative, and sits comfortably in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, plus the team at Arrow have carefully incorporated an additional 35mm interpositive element for the fifth reel, an appreciated and typical attention to detail that you would expect from Arrow!

IF YOU TOO own previous releases of 'EXPRESS' on dvd or blu ray, you'll notice, that the colours through out look natural, with no surprise out of step and colour continuity, of costumes and HAIR colours! As with many films of this era and budget, you would expect an element of grain, but this is pretty much levelled out and never looks really course, as it has on some version releases of the film. Shadows look very much like the quality of the Warner Brothers 'Dracula AD and Satanic Rites' remastered prints, it presents more refined detail than before, which is exactely what is needed for a film that gives us many scenes in the dark or shadows. Blacks are neither blotchy, have that annoying moving pixels element or are so dark you see nothing. Someone has taken great time and effort, to level out contrasts, to an even and impressive picture through out. 

HAVING WATCHED many releases of 'HORROR EXPRESS' over the years I am very very happy to tell you that, THIS remaster has nothing in the way of annoying drop outs and hisses. All of the my previous released versions, watched many times over the years, contained so many 'clicks, thuds and drops' that became almost like expected solo pieces of dialogue from unseen extra characters or old friends.... that even turned up like regular co stars in a tv soap, from one releaase to another! Thankfully, they are absent from Arrows remaster, which DOES come with optional subtitles in English SDH.  

ARROWS AUDIO is presented on an English mono LPCM track. There is one short piece of very minor distortion, see if you can spot it! This element I believe was damage caused during the dubbing of the film during production. For a mono soundtrack, from this age, the sound effects are good, dated but as good as Christopher Lee's DRACULA slamming a wooden door in the iconic 58' Hammer film.

THE SUPPLEMENTARY AND THESE DAYS EXPECTED EXTRAS for the Arrow films remaster include the compulsory audio commentary, this very enteraining and detailed yak track comes from  authors Stephen Jones and Kim Newman; there is also for those who want a little Fangoria stamp of approval in a optional 7-minute introduction to the film from Fangoria’s Chris Alexander; Ticket to Die, another 9-minute appreciation of the film by Steve Haberman; there's another chorus of approval, but with more weight from Night Train to Nowhere, which is a 15-minute appreciation of the film, but this time from producer Bernard Gordon by filmmaker Ted Newsom; Murder on the Trans-Siberian Express, a vintage 14-minute interview with director Eugenio Martin is probably the best of the bunch with BTS pics and stories of the cast and set; Notes From the Blacklist, a vintage 31-minute interview from 2005 with producer Bernard Gordon; Telly and Me, a vintage 8-minute interview with composer John Cacavas; the original theatrical trailer in HD; and a 32-page insert booklet with the essays Horror Express by Adam Scovell and Riding the Horror Express by Mike Hodges, as well as restoration. A rich bag of pickings, where Arrow has dug to find anything, that tries to make up for the problem that most releases face these days . . . little or no contribution material from Christopher Lee and nothing from Peter Cushing. I am sure any forum chats about this release will be littered with comparisons of the SEVERIN dvd and blu ray release.

IF FOR YEARS, YOU'VE BEEN stuck with a duff and sub-standard version of 'HORROR EXPRESS' buy your ticket and grab your copy now, of an exception remastering of a Cushing and Lee classic. It's all here and detail-wise, you'll be having hours of fun, visually spotting elements you could never have seen or spotted before. It really can not be  denied, this film has never looked or sounded better. Arrow has technically turned a well known and fan familiar terror train trip into what is a remastered, very SOUND and VISUALLY exciting, Monster hit Roller-Coaster ride! Well done, Arrow! 

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