Midnight Movie Monographs: Horror Express
Published by Electric Dreamhouse, 2018. 137 pages
By John Connolly
This is another one that I just don’t know where to start. I came across this publisher about a month ago when they were having a Black Friday sale. I thought about ordering a few of their titles but being from the UK, it would have been a bit pricy. Out of all the titles, this is the one that had my interests the most, so I just ordered it from Amazon. Now, at a book that is only 6″ x 8″, and priced at $29, AND is only 137 pages, makes you wonder if it would be worth it. In this particular case, I would have to say no.
This is a strange one, since being so short, you’d think the author would dive right into the thick of it, but we go 30 pages before the author even starts to write about the movie! That’s almost a quarter of the book?!?! We read about traveling on trains, about the Spanish film market, the British film market, with some details that really have no bearing on the subject at hand. Now maybe if this volume was several hundred pages long, this information would fit in, but it’s not. So why waste precious pages on subjects that have only a distant connection with the movie? There is even a paragraph where the author states that at this point in his writing, he hasn’t seen the movie since he first saw it as a kid! Again, why waste space for that?
Now Connolly is a good writer and the information we get outside of the movie is also well written, informative and even entertaining. But when the book’s title is Horror Express, do we really need to hear the history of Hammer Studios? Or the history of Manchuria and their people? There are even several pages on the House Un-American Activities Committee and how some people in Hollywood would be blacklisted during this time. Yes, there is a connection to this movie, but a small one. Again, these facts might be relevant in a larger volume, but not one that 137 pages.
Don’t get me wrong, there is some good information on the film and the people directly involved, such as director Eugenio Martín, trying to get a good script finalized, dealing with the actors, such as Christopher Lee, Telly Savalas, and even Peter Cushing, who only showed up to say he wasn’t going to do the film in person. So there is some good details in here, but at this size and at this price, I really can’t say it is worth it, and it’s a shame too because I love this movie and any publicity on it would only bring more viewers. Proceed with caution, readers. You could probably find all of this information and more on one of the recent Blu-ray releases from either Severin or Arrow Films, and have the movie then as well!