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.
An unknown killer, clad in 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 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 »
The killer repeatedly pulls Alana closer to him during the course of their conversation. Though supposedly holding her wrists to keep Alana from moving, she always returns to the same position as when the scene first began. 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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