From the mountains a madness is recovered and released, a vitreous humour on the Trans-Siberian Express. That sentence is actually more interesting than the film itself, as director Eugenio Martin’s debacle assaults and insults with a barely cohesive script and unintelligible internal logic.
Professor Saxton transports a well preserved hominid fossil upon the isolated railway. The gangly fossil is corrupted by an alien intelligence and it comes to life, murdering by absorbing thoughts through its eyes, leeching the life force from any living creature. The victims bleed from their orifices and are left vacant, their cranial convolutions now eroded like a smooth river stone. The entity jumps from victim to victim and the passengers become paranoid, unable to discern a human from the inhuman. But the story becomes frighteningly illogical as the Detective, when possessed, sports the withered hand of the fossil; or those killed by the being can now be reanimated as zombies; or the monk who suddenly casts aside his faith to follow “Satan”; or the ability to see images of the past in a creature’s eye (not the alien’s eye mind you, but the fossil’s...how could fragile tissue remain preserved even in the Russian cold for two million years?); or the final transmission to derail the train; or the fact that the Russians would build a railroad the ended on the edge of a cliff (as absurd as a self-destruct mechanism in a space ship).
Though there are some neat ideas, the film stutters and stalls in every scene, muting tension and suspense by showing the audience the mystery before allowing it to unfold dramatically. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are respectable (as always) but Telly Savalas is as incoherent as his accent, detracting from the ensemble. The HORROR EXPRESS is derailed by its director’s incompetence.
Final Grade: (D)