Monday, February 8, 2010

Movie Monday - Terror Train

Terror Train

Terror Train (1980)

[Ben Johnson; Jamie Lee Curtis; Hart Bochner; David Copperfield; Derek McKinnon; Sandee Currie; Timothy Webber]

Plot: A fraternity prank goes wrong and lands one student in a mental institution. Four years later, when his frat brothers host a costume party on a train to celebrate their graduation, the student sees this as his opportunity to exact revenge. He sneaks on the train and begins killing the partygoers one at a time, masking himself in the costumes of his victims. Will anyone make it off the train alive?

This is another early 80s slasher pic, one of the films that helped give Jamie Lee Curtis her Scream Queen title for years. Her role here as Alana is much less the shy, innocent than Laurie was in Halloween.

And it isn't a bad film, certainly gets points for originality. The mystery of who is actually doing the killing is pretty well done, even if the reveal is a little ... strange.

Johnson does great in his role as the "sole" adult amongst a train full of partying kids. And the claustrophobic setting is an interesting change from other run-of-the-mill movies.

Recommended for horror/slasher/Curtis fans. It is a film I have watched more than once, so that says a lot, to me at least. Others may not be as thrilled by it all.

The 2008 film Train was originally planned to be a remake of this movie, but the story changed and it became its own film. A real remake of this film is rumored to be in the works.


  1. I remember when that film came out. I never saw it but I remember when it came out.

  2. interesting...when movies go for the frat boy sorority sister slant its usually a bad omen for me...

  3. Meh, the kills were pretty lame. Overall, I thought it was pretty lackluster. The Oingo Boingo-ish party band was stellar!

  4. Ive always wanted to check this one out, the claustrophobia in trains always makes for a more interesting horror movie.

    Did you ever see Horror Express with Teli Savalas and Peter Cushing? Highly recommend it if you like Hammer movies (its got a Hammer movie vibe to it) and if you like movies dealing with the supernatural.

  5. Dr. Monkey: Okay, thanks for that.

    Brian: Yeah, but I think this one is one of the better examples.

    Planet of Terror: I like it. The bad was wacky, and Copperfield is creepy just being himself!

    The Film Connoisseur: The claustrophobia does work, for me at least. Feeling trapped, whether on the train or off, since off is in the middle of nowhere in the cold! And I never saw the movie you mentioned, will check Netflix now, thanks for the recommendation!

  6. Does anyone know whatever happened to Derek McKinnon who played the killer?

  7. Anonymous:

    Apparently he only has one other IMDb credit, but there was more info in the message board there, including this link that has photos (scroll down on the page to find him): McKinnon today and another page has a McKinnon interview with more photos.

    Hope this helps!