Dragged down by a poor transfer and one too many scenes shot in almost total darkness, Silent Night, Bloody Night's 1970 filming date and use of certain camera techniques and plot devices at least earns the dour picture its proto-slasher pedigree. Also distinctive for its strange dialogue delivered in an exceedingly deliberate, near lifeless style by its actors, Theodore Gershuny does manage to create a uniformly unsettling vibe and cobble together some oddly captivating scenes. However, even a new restoration may not be enough to overcome the flick's sloth-like pace, convoluted plot, and almost total lack of fun.
Interesting, ambitiously plotted Gothic horror/sci-fi concoction featuring the reliable duo of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, with a smattering of dry humor and Telly Savalas thrown in for good measure. Horror Express tells the now familiar tale of an abandoned alien life form that has survived millions of years by sucking the life and memories out of any living creature it looks at; what makes the picture both fresh and totally bonkers is that it's set on the Trans-Siberian Express in 1906, and a renegade monk-believing the alien is Satan himself-starts calling it master and begging it to take over his body and soul. Although talents diverse as George R.R. Martin and Tobe Hooper have mined similar territory over the years, Horror Express operates on its own unique little island of fun.
Inevitably compared to Taxi Driver, Paul Schrader also helped pen this rather grim tale of a Vietnam POW's shattered homecoming. And while William Devane's (overly) restrained performance and director John Flynn's more straightforward style can't equal what De Niro and Scorsese brought to the table just one year earlier, strong supporting turns by Linda Haynes playing what her character describes as a "groupie", and Tommy Lee Jones as Devane's fellow revenge-seeking returning soldier allow the picture to rise above its exploitation floor.
Unsettling and slightly melodramatic, Anthony Page's film that explores schizophrenia and the attendant therapist/patient dynamics, is mostly successful due to Kathleen Quinlan's convincing portrayal of a teenager struggling through mental illness. Excellent supporting work by Susan Tyrell, and several notable early screen appearances, including Dennis Quaid, Mel Gibson, and Oingo Boingo.
Solid gold action sequences and crystal clear cinematography collide with mostly unsuccessful attempts at comedy and a somewhat sloppy narrative structure, resulting in decidedly mixed results for The Italian Job. Although the film's iconic final heist sequence is certainly worth the price of admission, it's a shame director Peter Collinson and screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin couldn't figure out how to properly utilize Michael Caine's particular set of skills. A bit too silly for its own good.