A masked killer, wearing World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35-year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.
A decades old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day, turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.
Four college pledges are forced to spend the night in a deserted old mansion where they get killed off one by one by the monstrous surviving members of a family massacre years earlier for trespassing on their living grounds.
Vincent Van Patten,
Five campers arrive in the mountains to examine some property they have bought, but are warned by the forest ranger Roy McLean that a huge machete-wielding maniac has been terrorising the ... See full summary »
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
The picture was part of a Hollywood cycle of slasher movies made during the late 1970s and early 1980s which had started after the box-office success of Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980). See more »
The train passes the same ice-encrusted curve several times throughout the film. See more »
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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