tA trip you will never forget, cult director Aldo Lado’s Last Stop on the Night Train is a grimy exploitation film billed early on as “The New House on the Left”. A bold statement, but one that is not without merit as the production follows a similar formula while interjecting its own tweaks on the revenge genre.
Described with the simple synopsis from the new TetroVideo release, “A pair of psychotic hoodlums and an equally demented nymphomaniac woman terrorize two young girls on a train trip from Germany to Italy”, the production certainly offers shock and thrills in abundance through deplorable humans terrorizing women on a train.
Beyond the indulgence in sex and violence, specifically rape/revenge, the production offers little in the way of narrative. The set up is simple, and the pay off is as uncomfortable as one would expect from digging into the depths of extreme 70s Italian cinema. Furthermore, the production follows the structure of Last House on the Left almost beat for beat – story progression will offer little new to fans of the genre.
However, replicating something that already worked does not mean the film is any less visceral and upsetting than its inspiration. Adding in a bit of social commentary on violence and political ramblings, the production just skirts around being a carbon copy through swapping out characters and having a more slightly leaning into social discourse.
The violence, surprisingly, is pretty sparse and not overtly graphic. However, the way in which it is delivered, the utterly lack of humanity, is immensely disturbing. Often exploitation films will rely heavily on either gore or sex, and Night Train Murders certainly leans into the latter. However, some wonderfully indulgent madness of violence still seeps its way in, with the production featuring one of the best dummy tosses you will see – it certainly is marked by moments of absurdity and dark comedy for those able to push past the sensationalism.
Visually, the production has that cook chic of all 70s Italian cinema where the women look stunning, the fashion is expressive (not to mention free of brand name logos) and home decor a dizzying array of outdated ghastly patterns. The train, where the production mostly takes place, is full of eccentrics who smoke away and ash on the gritty carpet – conjuring smells of yellowed walls and burnt rugs. It is extremely gritty, even before the violence begins, but it is an era that many cinephiles romanticize – the production hits all the right ‘pseudo-nostalgia’ notes.
The performances are serviceable, except Macha Méril as sexual deviant turned murderer, Signora. A character that is easy to hate, Sigorna pushes and applauds the mockery and assault of two young women, utilizing her allure over men. Furthermore, the character only shows emotion when her own life is at stake, the sign of a true psychopath. This makes her commands to knife someone to death, delivered with an unflinching certainty, immensely unnerving – a truly memorable performance.
Brought to you by the purveyors of extreme cinema, Tetrovideo, the blu-ray release comes with a bunch of extra goodies including soundtrack, poster and media booklet. If you had an inkling to own this filth for yourself, this release is the quintessential one to grab.
If you are browsing online you will see some stating that this production outdoes Last House on The Left and is the superior experience. Personally, I would not go that far, yet, I can see how people come to this conclusion as the production does offer that Italian flair that is so easy to get lost in. Regardless, the film is notable in exploitation history through its inclusion in the video nasty list, the fact that it is an enjoyable piece of sleaze is a bonus.
Greetings, My name is Adam and I am from Canada.
My love for all things bizarre came at a young age, as boredom in a small town lead me down a rabbit hole of obscure film, music, tv and literature. I have carried these fascinations with and turned it into a passion for writing, sharing and discussing the various arts.
My area of expertise, if there was one, would be geared towards Asian horror with a particular interest in film and manga. However, if it is odd, disturbing or trashy I probably heard of it or can at least pretend I have in conversation.
Thank you for taking the time to read my work, I always look to grow both as a writer and fan. I truly appreciate anyone willing to come along for the journey and share their passions in turn.