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A college fraternity prank goes wrong and a student ends up in the mental asylum. Three years later, it's graduation time, and the members of the fraternity decide to have a costume party aboard a train trip to celebrate their graduation. Unknowingly to them, a killer has slipped aboard, killing them off one by one, disguised in the costumes of the victims. Written by
According to Wikipedia, "Cinematographer John Alcott devised a unique method of lighting Terror Train (1980). He rewired the entire train and mounted individual dimmers on the exteriors of the carriage cars. Utilizing a variety of bulbs with different wattages, and controlling them with the external dimmers, Alcott could light the set in a very fast, efficient manner. At times, Alcott also used medical lights - "pen torches" - to hand light the actors' faces". See more »
After the killer murders the student in the lavatory, a witness opens the door to find the dead body and blood everywhere. Minutes later, a second witness opens the door to find the lavatory in a clean, pristine state. It would be virtually impossible for the killer to have disposed the body and cleaned up the mess (without help) in the short amount of time it took for the second witness to see the lavatory. See more »
A Well Done Slasher That Doesn't Fall off the Tracks
"Terror Train" is the final Jamie Lee Curtis horror movie (not including the "Halloween" sequels) and it certainly is a high note to go out on. The film doesn't have the substance and art that "Halloween" or "The Fog", but one might find that "Terror Train" is an above average slasher film that, like its fellow Curtis movies, relies more on story and thrills than blood and guts. This movie truly puts others like "Prom Night", "My Bloody Valentine", "Madman", "Happy Birthday to Me", and "Graduation Day" to shame, and one could easily argue that its better than the extremely popular "Friday the 13th" films.
"Terror Train" is a little more complicated than most slasher fares. It is about a fraternity holding a New Year's Eve costume party on a train but someone has boarded the train with a vendetta against the college kids for an accidental prank that occurred several years beforehand. While on the train, the killer takes on the costumed identity of whoever he kills, so who is the killer and who is just dressed up. Its got a great plot and the movie delivers some as well.
Jamie Lee Curtis and Ben Johnson are the stars of this movie, but other big names are included as well. David Copperfield is one of them; he does his job playing himself basically, but the true acting chops go to Hart Bochner, who plays the stuck up, rude, and mostly mean fraternity brother responsible for the accident years ago. Ben Johnson is of course good, but his role is limited to a train conductor. Jamie Lee Curtis is pretty much playing yet another heroine in a horror movie, and her performance is stellar but nothing special.
"Terror Train" is a great slasher film recommended for slasher fans. It has its plot holes, but overall its makes up for them with a good story, some decent suspense, and a great twist ending that you won't soon forget. It definitely doesn't fall off the tracks.
"Terror Train" is available on DVD only on a simple DVD with just the theatrical trailer included. The impending remake may bring about a special edition.
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