While a youthful pop band plays continuously in the next train car, God (Himself) and Mr. Satan (Lu Sifer) discuss the fates of three individuals. The first is Harry Billings (John Phillip Law), who was mixed up in a murder and black-market body parts operation that included psycho corpse-cutter, Otto (Richard Moll). The second is a girl who got her boyfriend involved in a suicide club. The third is the wife of a Nobel Prize winning writer (Richard Moll, again) who must strike down a demon.
When someone says, “That movie is so bad it’s good,” here’s the film they are talking about. It is crudely acted, simplistically filmed, amateurishly edited, and written by drunk frat-boys, and it’s good for some laughs.
Night Train to Terror is three slightly older features, edited into incoherence, and joined together by God and Satan chatting. Well, that and a juvenile 1980s pop rock band wearing headbands and legwarmers and singing the same song throughout the film. Apparently, they really want us to dance with them, and they’re willing to sit on the top of the train while fog machines bellow so we get that important message.
The first segment, variously known as Scream Your Head Off and Marilyn Alive and Behind Bars wasn’t released as its own feature until years after Night Train to Terror. John Phillip Law is nearly unrecognizable in the lead. I first saw him in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966) as an innocent Soviet seaman, but genre fans will know him as the blind angel in Barbarella. Here, he looks tired. The plot is a vague mess about Billings being hypnotized to bring girls to an asylum where Otto, the orderly, chops them up and then the good doctors sell off the pieces. Richard Moll (who later gained fame as Bull on the series Night Court), plays Otto with a humorous intensity and dresses as a gay, German, club-dancer of the era. That last is odd as he has an unwholesome interest in the naked female corpses. The missing chunks might explain who these people are and what is going on, but why would anybody care? The point is the gore and nudity.
The Death Wish Club, the second installment, turns up the camp. Once again, the edits make it impossible to follow. Some guy falls for a girl after seeing her in a stag film. She’s involved with a rich nut ball, and he’s the jealous sort. Somehow, they all end up in a club which shouldn’t have more than a few meetings since they play suicidal games.
The last segment (released at around ninety minutes under the titles Satan’s Supper, The Nightmare Never Ends, and Cataclysm) brings us back to religious territory. Richard Moll appears again, this time as a Nobel Prize winning author with truly odd hair, who’s written a new book claiming God is dead. For reasons that are only clear in the low budget film universe, he gets television airtime to sit and tell the world about the All Mighty’s demise. Meanwhile, his wife is getting instructions from God to use pieces from the cross to kill an androgynous demon with connections to The Third Reich. There’s also a Holocaust survivor and an obsessive cop. Don’t look for any of it to fit together. The high point, specially added to this version, is when a character turns into a small claymation doll and is pulled into Hell by a claymation spider-demon. It’s hard to find anything on video as silly as that.
Don’t put this on your list for serious film viewing, but it is an excellent choice for your next drunken party.