Night Train Murders Review

Night-Train-Murders

Two young women are travelling by train to spend Christmas at one of their parent’s house.  They never make it to their destination. They are instead terrorized, humiliated, abused, sexually molested and eventually killed by two thugs and a mysterious seemingly well to do older woman. The criminals think they have gotten away with it until they find themselves at the parent’s house and find mercy is in very short supply…

If this sounds at all similar to a little Wes Craven film from 1977 called Last House on the Left, you would be bang on the money. Night Train Murders is essentially the Italian Last House. Much like its inspiration, Night Train Murders (also known as Late Night Trains and Last Stop on the Night Train) also got caught up in the Video Nasties scare of the early 1980s. Luckily (or unluckily, from a notoriety perspective) Night Train Murders was never successfully prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act, while Last House on the Left was. Which is somewhat surprising (and just proves how ridiculous the criteria for prosecution was) as both films are just as grim, unsettling and just plain nasty as each other.  I don’t mean that as a criticism (or as a slight to the Last House purists out there!) as a film with such a subject matter should be unpleasant and difficult to watch at times, it doesn’t make it any less of a good, even dare I say entertaining, well-made film.

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5 Semi Obscure 1980’s Slasher Films That Are Worth Checking Out

While slasher films may have their roots in the 1970s with such fare as Bay of Blood, Black Christmas, The Town That Dreaded Sundown and Halloween, the sub-genre was at its prolific height in the 1980s. If you ask most folk about slasher films from that era most of the responses will focus on the two titans of terror that are Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees and Nightmare On Elm Street’s Freddy Kruger. And possibly the terror of mediocrity that was some of the sequels to these original gems ( Personal Rant Sidebar Alert: while Halloween 3 – Season of the Witch as managed to become somewhat of a cult classic, despite the lack of Michael Myers, the same will never be said of Friday the 13th Part 5 – A New Beginning.). But what about other teenagers in peril films that the decade came up with? Don’t they deserve their time in the sun as well? Here are, in no particular order, 5 Semi Obscure Slasher films that I think are worth anyone’s time checking out… (Spoilers ahead, even though these films are all 30 plus years old internet etiquette doth demand it!)

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Don’t Look In The Basement Review (AKA The Forgotten)

Cast your mind back, if you will, to early 1980s. If your mind doesn’t cast back that far (and mine barely does, being born in 1982), you may still have heard of the DPP39. If not of that, then the more visceral sounding ‘Video Nasties’ may ring a bell. In the early 1980s, home video technology was very new and very exciting to the people of Britain. While the VHS player is a mere punch line for many folk these days (although you will have to prise mine out of my cold dead hands), back then it was like DVD and Blu-Rays (and probably Laser Disks) rolled into one, rather unwieldy, fantastic package. Amazingly, Hollywood wasn’t quick to tap into this remarkable new market that would allow the public to watch films in the privacy on their own homes, believing it to be flash in the pan and a needless expense of converting their films to VHS that wouldn’t reap any profit. Wrongity wrong. VHS players were hugely popular, and the demand for new titles was high. Cue many video distributors popping up to help out in this regard. Often simple operations based in people’s garages and the like, they set about buying in the cheapest titles, often from Europe, and distributing them via their own labels. Horror films, cheap to make and buy, were an obvious way to make the most money. Another advantage was that the BBFC didn’t have any power over video distribution, so films that may have been denied a certificate when submitted (a costly procedure) could be released on VHS instead, at no extra expense to the film makers. Everything ticked along merrily for a couple of years and then… PANIC! DISGUST! OUTRAGE! And let’s not forget that old favourite, everyone shout along now; WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?! Video Nasties had arrived. Pursued mercilessly by the press, politicians who really should have had more pressing matters to attend to and the Mary Whitehouse brigade (lead by the lady herself) horror films which otherwise would never have been heard of other than by a handful of people were thrust into the limelight and vilified for all the countries ills, especially children’s exposure to them. Video shops up and down the land were raided for ‘obscene’ titles, that were seized (including, in one memorable police mix-up, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas). Eventually, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) very kindly decided what the unwashed plebs of the UK were permitted to watch, and the films that would turn us all into raging maniacs were consigned to a list, eventually whittled down to 39 titles (the aforementioned DPP39). Distribution of these films was illegal, video shop owners and the people who sold these films to them would face jail sentences if they were found guilty of doing so.  And people did. That’s right. People went to actual jail for this. The words ‘fucking farce’ spring to mind. Because it was basically, a horror film witch hunt. And how many of these so called ‘evil’ films did Mary Whitehouse, her cronies and the folk on the panel assigned to this bollocks actually watch? None. They saw clips, out of fucking context clips, and that was enough apparently. The rancid assumption that they, as fine up standing (mostly upper class) citizens, would not be affected by watching this ‘filth’, but the general populace of chumps would surely mentally snap if they saw Evil Dead all the way through is frankly hypocritical and insulting, and also a whole different rant for another day. And believe me, Video Nasties is a topic I can go on for days about (Yes, I am great fun at parties. Thank you for asking). You may have gathered, if you made it this far into the cultural history lesson, that today I am going to be looking at a film that was caught up in the Video Nasties hysteria. It isn’t part of the DPP39 (films that were prosecuted), but was part of the wider list, the DPP72. Many films on both lists have been discussed to death already (I still can’t get over the fact that Evil Dead was on it. A film, by the way, had actually been approved by the BBFC and released at cinemas way before this whole sensationalist bullshit started). Today’s film, children, and I hope you are sitting comfortably, is Don’t Look In The Basement, also known as The Forgotten, made in 1973. Will merely watching it turn me into a raging murderous time bomb? Let’s find out shall we? Spoilers to follow.

  

While The Film Poster May Have A Familiar Tag Line, The VHS Cover Looks Like A Book Written By R.L Stine.

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