Blu-ray Review: NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR (1985) [Vinegar Syndrome]

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Spoiler Alert Defined: As I do not believe in spoiling anyone’s good time, my film reviews reveal nothing that cannot already be seen by viewing the motion picture’s original theatrical trailer.

 

“I can laugh and cry, at the same time!”

–God

Release Dates:

1985

10/08/13 (Blu-ray)

The Gist:

The film starts with a scream, a train rushes through the blue-lit night, and we’re in the eighties. More specifically, we’re transported to a place where it’s okay to wear loose, electric coloured clothes, have big hair, seem permanently sweaty and dance like seizure patients to the worst pop the realm of music has ever heard. A horrifying band rehearses a solitary choreographed number in vain of the worst George Michael impersonation, repeatedly. They may already be in hell. This is just the opening scene of the picture.

Moving onto the next train car, God and The Devil, yes you heard me, God and The Devil (Ferdy Mayne and Tony Giorgio) have a philosophical chat about human nature and society and whether or not it can be saved. This is done by way of a case-by-case study through a celestial television screen and where it’s revealed that we’re in for an anthology of tales, the two serving as narrators. Fates are decided and souls are cast in either direction, upon a fast moving train, in the dead of night. In addition, there is a fleeting reference to the train crashing in two hours time, right on schedule.

The tales include a man, detained against his will in a mental hospital, given electroshock therapy and hypnotized. His new mission, to drug and abduct beautiful women and deliver them topless for a doctor’s bizarre game of mutilation. With the second, a boyfriend’s jealously towards the impervious grip her ex holds over her and the willingness to do virtually anything to purge him of this world, including a death cult where demise is the only way out. Also, kung foo ensues. And in the third tale, a woman dreams about an ageless Nazi General slash vampire slash demon that murders a room full of people, leaving a man to grow old without his family. Years later, the man witnesses the demon on television and hatches a revenge plot. The woman’s husband writes a non-fiction novel about Jesus never existing. You may think the old man, the woman, and their problems are unrelated, and you may be right.

 

The Verdict:

This is a foolish and demented venture into forgotten eighties horrendous horror, or in most cases, the never known. The flick itself is actually a recycled set of three abandoned projects that were chopped, fused and glued together by a surprisingly cool narrative; the God/Devil debate and bantering turns out to be sturdiest section and truly quite engaging. The vignettes themselves make absolutely no sense unless you are insane, and the charm is they really aren’t supposed to. Blood, beetles, breasts, bandanas and break dancing, this is a rough diamond not to be passed by.

 

The AV:

For the Blu-ray, the colours glitter and pop on the screen in vibrant, rich detail, which is quite rare in a film from this decade. The blacks only crush in a few scenes, the rest is filled with lovely gradations. The definition is immense giving full detail to God’s beard and the demon’s eyeliner, among everything else. The film arrives on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio and restored in 2k for 35mm Negatives. As far as the soundtrack, there are some hisses but it varies from segment to segment. The synthesized pop and original orchestrated soundtrack accurately boom with lively pulsating melodies. Vinegar Syndrome shines yet again. This is truly the exceptional package and treatment for a film that could have easily been trapped in the bowels of cinematic lost and found bins forever.

The Supplements:81969_large

On The Blu-ray:

Two Commentary Tracks – One with Producer/Director Jay Schlossberg-Cohen where it takes him literally until the end of the film to start talking about to even start talking about it. The other is a commentary track with The Hysteria Continues crew making fun of the film and its cast. It should be avoided, as even the wisecracks are dreadful.

Theatrical Trailer – Presented in 2:40:1 High Definition

 

On The DVD:

Gretta – The real treat here is the full version of the film Gretta, sourced from the original 1” tape master. 91mins in length it gives full insight to the second vignette of Night Train To Terror. A scene in a porn shop takes the sticky cake. See Elbow Grease for further detail.

Another Commentary Track – This one is with the Assistant Editor and far more interesting the prior two. It is presented as an audio only track. 29mins in length.

 

The Video Specs:

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

The Audio Specs:

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles:

None

Discs:

25GB Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD)

DVD copy

 

Link To Purchase:

http://vinegarsyndrome.com/launch/?product=night-train-to-terror-bddvd-combo

 

 

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Christopher Gibson

Chris can be found only at night, playing vast hours of XBox 360, reading uniquely disturbing novels, and scouring Netflix for late sixties horror flicks. He has 69,000 Gamerscore and counting. Supposedly at the age of three, he beat Super Mario Bros. on NES, though possesses no recollection of this. Writing novels since the age of fourteen, he hopes to one day publish them. On Friday nights, he is seen at the local indie film theater, then the pubs next door shortly after, for thorough critique among friends. Follow him on Twitter @Literaryman420

 

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