Another 80's hold over, “The Sleeping Car” is a forgettable killer ghost movie with a decent cast, including “Friday the 13th” hottie Judie Aronson!
THE PLOT: Wisecrack college student Jason (David Naughton-American Werewolf in London) moves into a train car haunted by its old conductor…“The Mister”. Jason teams up with his college girlfriend (Judie Aronson) and a local exorcist (Kevin McCarthy) to stop “The Mister’s” killing spree.
“The Sleeping Car” is ALMOST worth watching for the cast alone. Jeff Conway (Grease) is great as the sleazy and “cool” professor, Naughton is likeable and comedic, and Aronson is smoking hot! She even has a steamy sex scene. But the horror aspect of the film is underwhelming and consists mainly of the characters drinking in a bar or exchanging witty banter. There is an overload of jokes in this film. Almost every exchange of dialogue works to set up a punch line. And it gets kind of annoying.
The gore is minimal and the death scenes are kind of lame. A meathead has springs burst through him after raiding Jason’s car. Then later Conway gets eaten by a hide-a-bed. The body count is low and the kills aren’t that impressive or exciting. The ghost looked cool though. “The Mister” had a gooey and creepy look about him.
There is some T&A from Aronson and the film opens with a couple having graphic sex. The film’s supernatural plot never seemed fully developed. They never explained what was happening until the last 20 minutes and by then it just felt forced and like an afterthought. In the end the ghost is “released” after Jason forgives him and embraces him... almost “Ernest Scared Stupid” esque. I wouldn’t recommend the film but it’s not terribly made either. Fun fact: The director became a big time producer in Hollywood (Freddy vs Jason, Shoot ‘Em Up).
“The Sleeping Car” features severed legs, a spooky recording, an exorcism, lots of nightmares, a neo-nazi, fire play, and director John Carl Beuchler as “The Mister”. Plus, any film that mentions Freddy, Jason, Michael, or Letherface on the cover is almost ALWAYS going to be below par and unworthy of comparison!