Horror Express [1973]

Director: Eugenio Martin
Stars: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing
Runtime: 90 minutes

Released in 1972 under the international title Panic on the Trans-Siberian Express, this effective horror thriller is now regarded as one of the better European horror films of the 1970s, aided immeasurably by the casting of horror icons Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Set at the turn of the 20th century, the story begins in China when the arrogant British Professor Saxton (played by Lee) boards the Trans-Siberian Express with a mysterious crate containing a body that he claims is the missing link in human evolution. What he doesn't know is that his ancient discovery is still alive--a monster with glowing red eyes that stare into the eyes of its victims, boiling their brains and absorbing their intelligence, turning them into zombies possessed by the creature's evolving personality! Pretty soon even Telly Savalas (as a power-mad Cossack) is raving among the train full of zombies, and it's up to Lee and rival anthropologist Cushing to destroy them... or die! There's a surplus of thrills and chills in this sharp, fast-paced Spanish-British production, made at a time when suspense and clever writing were still valued over graphic gore and special effects. --Jeff Shannon

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