God and Satan On A Train
If you’re updating your bucket list, put 1985’s Night Train to Terror on it. With its mind-juggling array of monsters, demons, rampant nudity and wincingly painful music/signing/dance choreography segments from a bunch of New Wave kids dressed in day-glo spandex and headbands making a video for MTV™, this is one of the more surreal horror movies you’ll ever see.
It starts out almost like a bar joke set up: God and Satan are on a train, negotiating for souls, in this case three specific ones. (The train conductor addresses the Most Unholy One as Mr. Satan. Train conductors are so polite.) Elsewhere on the train (headed to Hell, by the way), the New Wave kids are rocking out, dancing gleefully and happily singing so bad, you’ll believe you’re in Hell already.
Broken into three mini stories, Night Train to Terror wastes no time getting to the good stuff: The Case of Harry Billings involves a hypnotized guy who lures people into being graphically tortured and skulls squashed for their remaining fairly fresh organs to be marketed.
The Case of Greta Connors follows with a guy and a gal having lights on sex before hooking up with a cult that is enamored with death and all it’s perks. This culminates with a Jimi Hendrix lookalike who gets an electric chair treatment (at a cocktail party, no less) and melts right before your eyes. Thankfully, his headband survived.
More spastic dancing and screwdiver-in-your-ear singing.
The Case of Claire Hansen, the final segment, has a corporate ladder-climbing Devil’s apprentice, who set his job goals a little on the high side: to destroy all of humanity. He should start with the New Wave kids making all that racket in-between the stories. A group of Immortals tries to stop him. Good luck with that.
All of this is just a capsule summation. But every story is drenched in everything from couch pillow-sized flying death bugs and claymation monsters tearing clay victims in half like they were a wishbone, to demon things, heads making like water balloons hitting concrete, open-face surgeries, flooding blood and other bodily fluids, and more importantly, comprehensive naked stuff, all of which is punctuated by mid’80s blow-dryed hair, glow-in-the-dark fashion and headbands. (I knew those things could withstand the test of time.)
So who wins the souls, God or Satan? Not gonna spoil the soup, but those on this Highway to Hell are making specific fashion statements. Regardless — and this is clichéd as all get out — you have to see Night Train To Terror to believe it.