Last Stop on the Night Train (1975)

As of December 20, 2020, if you can believe it, I’ve never seen Last House on the Left. But I have seen nearly every ripoff of it and movie that stole its ad campaign or title. I have no idea why. It just worked out that way.

This Aldo Lado-directed piece of Italian grime also went by the names Night Train Murders, The New House on The Left, Second House on The Left, Don’t Ride on Late Night Trains, Late Night Trains, Last House Part II and Xmas Massacre, depending on the whims of fate (and Hallmark Releasing).

Margaret (Irene Miracle, who was also in Midnight ExpressInferno and Puppet Master) and Lisa are set to taking the night train from Germany to Italy, but the train is full and they have to sit in a long corridor. They help Blackie (Flavio Bucci, Suspiria) and Curly (Gianfranco De Grassi, The Church) hide from the ticket taker as they board the train and hide from the cops. Of course, instead of saying thanks, they end up decimating the two girls, along with the help of an upper class blonde (Macha Méril, Deep Red) who has already turned the tables on Blackie’s attempts at assaulting her by seducing him. The two thugs really have no idea what they’re in for, because this mysterious blonde is more dangerous than both of them put together.

The whole time the girls are being victimized, murdered and forced into suicide, Lisa’s parents are hosting a Christmas dinner party where her doctor father speaks on the ills of a more violent society.

Later, when they arrive at the station to get the girls, they are worried when they don’t arrive. If you wonder, “Will they end up taking the people that killed them home?” then yes, you have seen your share of revenge movies. The most shocking thing is that the blonde may be the only survivor of the evil trio, as her fate is left open.

This video nasty is the kind of movie that I don’t put on when people come to visit.

While some decry the bumbling cop comedy in Craven’s film, this one jettisons any attempt at levity, adds some 1975 Italian style, gets a soundtrack from Morricone and gets way, way dark.

Lado also made Short Night of Glass Dolls and Who Saw Her Die?, two of the more original and downbeat giallo to follow in the wake of Argento. Even when he’s ripping someone off — not that Craven didn’t also rip off The Virgin Spring, so there are no innocents here — he can’t help outdoing his competition.

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