Friday, January 16, 2015

Who Loves Ya, Tovasrisch?

The fun thing about doing this is rewatching something for the first time; when I was a kid and watched "Horror Express" (1972), I did so on a black and white television.  Until rewatching it tonight, I didn't realize it was in color.

Two of Hammer Studio's major stars, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee are on a train where something is killing the passengers, something that Lee was bringing back from China to England via the Trans-Siberian Express.  Thankfully, Telly Savalas is there to help the case as the Cossak policeman,  Captain Kazan.
By the end of the movie, there are even zombies.

Because I was too young to know at the time- I hadn't even seen John Carpenter's The Thing- but this shares the same source material as  Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World, John W. Campbell's Who Goes There?,  and as a period movie set on a train, it echos the claustrophobia of the antarctic base of Carpenter's film, making it one of the niftier (not necessarily better) remakes.

This post is an inadvertent Telly Savalas double bill, since last night, after getting halfway through Blatty's novel The Exorcist, I decided to check out some of the Exorcist style movies that came out in the wake of the movie. 

I've enjoyed the Mario Bava films I've seen (Blood and Black Lace, Five Dolls for an August Moon,  among others) so I thought, Bava + Exorcism = Win, right?

Yeah...  not like that.  It turns out Bava did a movie called Lisa and The Devil.  In the wake of The Exorcist, they re-cut the movie with new scenes from another director and released it in the United States as "The House of Exorcism" (1973).  I think, had I been running a fever and sipping NyQuil, The House of Exorcism would have been fine.  As it was, it was an hour and a half of "What was that?".  Not something I needed at two a.m.  "Lisa and the Devil" is still on my to be watched list though.