By Brett Stillo
Horror Express, which will be screened at San Francisco’s historic Balboa Theatre on Monday, December 14 by Super Shangri-La Show, is a grimly fiendish artifact of old-school European horror from the early 1970’s. It's the kind of movie you would stay up late to watch on the Saturday late-night Monster Movie on your local TV station.
Horror Express (1972) was a Spanish production, but it took its cues from the Technicolor macabre of the Hammer films of the era. Indeed, Hammer’s two greatest stars, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing (who usually faced off at opposite ends of a crucifix and a wooden stake), are teamed up here as rival Edwardian scientists up to their sideburns in skullduggery aboard the Trans-Siberian Express at the turn of the century. The train is packed with intrigue, sinister mustaches, and an ancient cosmic evil unleashed upon the unsuspecting passengers. Throw in Telly Savalas in an over-the-top super-cameo as a Cossak with a New York accent and you have an old-fashioned horror-adventure that combines elements of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie with Lovecraft-inspired pulp straight out of a moldy old issue of Weird Tales.