Trains are ubiquitous in our world, so common we barely think about them. They haul freight in mile-long caravans across wide open country. They move passengers from town to town, or, in cities, from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. If you live next to train tracks, eventually you get used to the trains going by, even take comfort in the sounds (it's called the lullaby effect.)
Aside from trainspotters and hobbyists, about the only time you really think about a train is when you see one pulling away without you on it, cursing that you now have to wait for the next one.
In these films, though, missing your train would be a blessing.
If you think about it, trains are a perfect venue for horror. They're contained spaces with not a lot of places to hide, so you're basically a captive. They move quickly, making escape difficult, if not impossible. They're massive vehicles, full of machinery and equipment that can crush, slice, boil, or run over you.
With all this in mind, when things go bad on a train, they can go really bad. This list explores what happens when people (or things) on a train decide to turn a pleasant way to watch the countryside pass into exercises in horror.
10. Night Train Murders - 1975 (Also Known As Last Stop On The Night Train)
Night Train Murders was one of the infamous video nasties banned in the UK in the 1980s, and for good reason. For all intents and purposes, it's a European remake of Last House on the Left, with all the expected violence and depravity.
Two college students, Lisa and Margaret, are travelling to stay with Lisa's parents for Christmas. Unfortunately, during their trip they cross paths with criminals Curly, Blackie, and their upper-class blonde accomplice. After being sexually assaulted and tortured, the girls are killed. Lisa's father meets the criminal trio, figures out what happened, and takes his revenge on them.
Night Train Murders is absolutely a product of its time. It's dark, gritty and raw, with some scenes that are borderline unwatchable (one infamous scene, where one of the girls forcibly loses her virginity to a switchblade, is thankfully shot very dark and the worst is left to the imagination.)
The film has some interesting social commentary on violence (Lisa's dad, a doctor, was a vocal critic of violence in society until he needed it as a tool) and working-class vs wealthy (the blonde clearly manipulated the two thugs into violence but used her upper-class status to escape unscathed at the end.)
Night Train is a tough watch, but it is a great mid-'70s example of a violent revenge movie and makes an interesting European book-end to Last House on the Left.