Title: Night Train to Terror a.k.a. Shiver a.k.a. The Nightmare Never Ends (1985)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Tagline: “A one way ticket to Hell…and beyond.”
My Tagline: “Dance with me, dance with me.”
Favorite Quote: “Excuse me while I smoke.”
Plot Synopsis: It’s pretty hard to tell just what the hell is going on but it would seem that during a routine judging of souls by God and Satan, that for some reason takes place on a train, which determines where the dead will go in the afterlife they pick up an 80’s band with the intention of killing them all in a horrible train wreck. (this movie’s a train wreck alright) Although they rarely judge those who are actually dead yet we watch on as the two of them view short movies reenacting a brief period of life experienced by the souls in question. There are three souls being debated over (I guess the Grim Reaper knocked off early that day or something) and each one gets their own movie for us to watch. They are all very strange and it’s like getting three fun-bad movies for the price of one. The first follows one man’s tragic tale of drug-induced hypnosis where he is forced to bring young women to a clinic where some rather nasty things happen to them shortly after they arrive. The second appears to be some kind of continuation of the director’s first film, “Death Wish Club” a.k.a. “Carnival of Fools.” In this bizarre tale two young people are forced to participate in death games likened to Russian Roulette after they piss off some middle aged guy. In the third and final chapter an aged holocaust survivor recognizes the murderer of his family on the television and proceeds to tell his cop neighbor who makes it his personal mission to bring the man to justice. And for reasons still beyond me we also get to watch the director’s son break-dance between segments.
Review: If you are like me you will fall in love with this movie within the first two minutes. It’s just that good. Sparse and abrupt narration attacks your senses in a desperate attempt to make sense out of the images that are flickering in front of your face. Hilarious continuity and the recycling of actors keeps you on your toes as you struggle find meaning in a movie that contradicts itself so badly in back-to-back scenes. It was made before the advent of available CGI so whenever something fantastic happens it will cut to a scene of claymation reminiscent of “Celebrity Deathmatch.” The concepts for the individual stories are actually really good and potentially interesting but they are so short and executed so foolishly that they never really had a chance to be good. Though I have to say all the actors were brilliant in their own way, very entertaining to watch. Plus you get to see Night Court’s Bailiff Shannon strangle naked women which is always fun. Oh, it also has Kalgan AND Diabolik! This is actually a great film for MST3K fans because it also has Commander Alex Jansen (or Santa) from “Space Mutiny” and I’m not sure but I think the roundhouse lighthouse is from “Wild Rebels.” And, amazingly, according to the film’s credits the crew actually managed to get God and Satan to play themselves. Incredible. I also enjoy the fact that despite the presence of the Prince of Darkness himself, Bailiff Bull sawing woman into pieces while they’re still alive, a Hell-sent demon committing genocide, and a man who looks like Mike Huckabee forcing people to participate in elaborate death games the creepiest guy in the whole movie is the humble train conductor. I hope I haven’t over-hyped the movie too much but I just love it and I bet if you give it a chance you will too.
After you see the movie you will more than likely be left with many questions, chief among them will be as follows but I would recommend you watch the movie first…
-What the fuck is the deal with the break-dancing teenagers?
-Only one of the main people they are examining is even dead yet so why are they even doing this?
-Okay, I can forgive the fact that the girl’s hair is cut like a man’s and I thought she was a new character in one scene and then it’s back down to her shoulder blades in the next but why was there so much animosity between the two young lovers in the short hair scene if in the next the narrator was just going to explain that they somehow managed to escape and now live together because they were just so much in love?
-So just why is the train conductor so damn creepy?
-Why was Kalgan being judged so harshly when he was kidnapped, drugged up, hypnotized, and being forced against his will? Just what exactly did he do wrong? Get in that car wreck? Is that all it takes to be damned to Hell? And why was he even being judged at all? He wasn’t dead yet!
-So you’re really going to end the movie like that huh? You’re really going to end it on a mutilating train wreck and with Satan’s minion running amok on Earth forever?
-So God’s brilliant idea to deal with the Devil is to leave him on Earth? No Hell or anything, just stuck on Earth with us to deal with? Thanks God, really appreciate it.
-Oh yeah, I thought Satan was already supposed to live in Hell? What’s all this about casting him down to Earth and threatening him by saying you will open the gates of Hell?
-So what exactly was the point of Papini?
-So was that piano-playing chick just stoned out of her mind 24/7? (She’s the best thing in the whole movie by the way)
-Is there maybe an extended director’s cut I can get my hands on?