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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Death Express" or "Phantom of the Subway" or "Gang Wars" or "El Expresso del Diablo")

 

Directed by Barry Rosen
USA 1976

 

New York Master Martial Artist Luke goes to Hong Kong to earn his next level in the Martial Arts world. He convinces his student Rodan to accompany him. Once they arrive, they come across an ancient burial site and find an amulet that holds a horrific demon creature in its power. Not knowing what the amulet was for, Rodan steals it and takes it back to gang infested New York City, only for the demon to come to New York to find it! The demon travels through the New York city subway tunnels as it preys on it's victims, including Rodan himself! The police think all the killings are a result of gang wars, but Luke soon finds out the terrifying truth and seeks out to avenge the death of his student! Luke must confront the horrifying demon face to face and do battle in the underground subways, where the only train that runs that late is the Devilís Express! This gritty action, grindhouse, martial-arts, horror classic has finally arrived at the Code Red station! When the film THE WARRIORS was released theatrically, the distributor of DEVILíS EXPRESS re-titled it as GANG WARS to make it look like a gang fight movie. It took Code Red DVD many, many years to locate the camera Negatives and the film is now restored in HiDef! Also starring Brother Theodore and David Durston. Directed by Barry Rosen.  

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 18th, 1976

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Review: Code Red - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Code Red - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:23:11.403        
Video

1.78:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,905,195,334 bytes

Feature: 20,802,035,712 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.80 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1828 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1828 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Code Red

 

1.78:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,905,195,334 bytes

Feature: 20,802,035,712 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.80 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

ē Trailers (0:31)


Blu-ray Release Date:
February 9th, 2021
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 11

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Code Red Blu-ray (January 2021): Code Red have transferred Barry Rosen's Devil's Express to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "2016 2K Scan Of The Original Negatives". This was initially released on some smaller e-tailor sites in 2016 with a 'Limited Edition Slipcover' and reversible art, but that is way out-of-print. I presume this is the same transfer although the file sizes indicate a October 2020 transfer-to-disc date. The image quality of the 1080P is inconsistent - probably a function of the original production. It's fairly soft and hazy most of the time with heavy texture that looks blocky and noise-like. There is light damage a few vertical starches and some frame-specific marks - see samples below. It is ion the bastardized 1.78:1 aspect ratio. On the positive, it is certainly watchable, superior to SD and has some depth and deep colors.

NOTE: We have added 62 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Code Red use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. It is about the level of the video - plenty of inconsistencies.  There is no credited score but has music by Patrick Adams with what appears to be original music; Rumble, Rumble, Strolling, Sunscraper, That's Why You and I Believe and a "Devil's Express" theme by Niki Patton, sounding a bit deeper with more consistent dialogue. Code Red offer no subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Code Red Blu-ray offers only a short trailer as an extra. Unlike the LE release, as already mentioned above, that had a slipcase cover and reversible artwork., this is truly bare-bones.

Okay, Devil's Express has quite a cult following. This is mostly based on the fact that it is so bad - ambitious genre hybrid with touches of Blaxploitation, martial arts and creature-feature horror.  It has terrible make-up / effects, the fake-est blood I can recall but all this does give it camp value. And I think, ultimately, that is the real appeal. The Code Red Blu-ray is nothing to extol but the film does have its following. Definitely in the upper tier of the 'so bad it's good' genre, if you are curious.

NOTE: Yes, that is 'Brother Theodore'!

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Code Red - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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