Terror Train (1980)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Johnson, David Copperfield, Hart Bochner

Released: 1980

Certificate: 18

Directed by: Roger Spottiswoode

Synopsis:

A group of medical students throw a fancy-dress graduation party on an old steam-train.  As the train speeds through the night, one-by-one the students are butchered by a forgotten figure from their past…..

Review:

Easily one of the best 80s slasher movies and the film which probably cemented Jamie Lee Curtis as the original  ‘scream queen’. Noted western actor Johnson adds a touch of real class as the bemused but heroic conductor.

There are some genuine scares – most important, in any  horror flick –  and the cinematography on-board the train of death is genuinely impressive – the rocking carriages, dark corridors and claustrophobic compartments heighten the tension to fever-pitch levels at times. The fact that the killer changes disguise as the film develops furthers the sense of mystery and is an interesting departure from the usual zombie-killer-dismembers-teens formula akin to the low-grade slasher movies such as The Burning (1981).

Moreover, there are some little twists and unusual red-herrings which keep the viewer engaged with the plot throughout – a real achievement in this genre. More broadly speaking, gore is sparse – simply because the film doesn’t need it – apart from a quite nasty scene where a young man gets his head smashed in during a trip to the train lavatory. So, if you are looking for a splatter film, look elsewhere.

Overall, an ‘A’ grade slasher which does what it sets out to do – it frightens you. Much better than Jamie Lee’s other 1980 slasher flick, Prom Night.

hotdog rating: 7.5/10

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Posted on June 21, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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