Terror Train (1980)

R   |    |  Horror, Thriller


Terror Train (1980) Poster

Three years after a prank that went terribly awry, the six college students responsible are targeted by a masked killer at a New Year's Eve party aboard a moving train.


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  • Derek McKinnon in Terror Train (1980)
  • Jamie Lee Curtis in Terror Train (1980)
  • Jamie Lee Curtis and Derek McKinnon in Terror Train (1980)
  • David Copperfield and Vanity in Terror Train (1980)
  • Terror Train (1980)

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29 September 2001 | virek213
7
| HALLOWEEN on the rails
The 1980 horror film TERROR TRAIN might best be described as HALLOWEEN on the rails. In it, a fraternity has a party taking place on a train speeding through the Canadian night. And then, one by one, without anyone knowing it (a situation made even more complicated by the fact that everyone's dressed up in disguises), they all get bumped off in shocking and violent fashion by a maniac. And as with HALLOWEEN and THE FOG, the heroine at the center of this is none other than Jamie Lee Curtis.

But unlike most HALLOWEEN-inspired bloodfests, TERROR TRAIN does boast a lot of good things to lift it above the worst of an always-bad bunch. The director here is Roger Spottiswoode, who served as a film editor for some of Sam Peckinpah's films, including his 1971 horror film STRAW DOGS. The train's conductor is portrayed by veteran character actor Ben Johnson, a stalwart of both John Ford and Peckinpah who won a Supporting Actor Oscar in 1971 for THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. Even more, the atmospheric cinematography of TERROR TRAIN is provided by the legendary British camerman John Alcott, whose groundbreaking work for Stanley Kubrick, including 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and THE SHINING, is legendary. Furthermore, the violence and bloodshed are surprisingly kept relatively down; and while the revelation of who the killer is may not in and of itself be so surprising, it does give the opportunity for both Johnson and Curtis to be heroes.

TERROR TRAIN may not be everyone's cup of tea (and it doesn't really compare to HALLOWEEN); but for those willing to take a spooky ride, it is well worth it.

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