Terror Train (1980)
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as Doc Manley
as Kenny Hampson
as Class president
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Critic Reviews for Terror Train
The classic horror films of the 1930s appealed to the intelligence of its audiences, to their sense of humor and irony. Movies like Terror Train... just don't care. They're a series of sensations, strung together on a plot.
Terror Train is at best workmanlike in its matter-of-fact killings and downright silly and nonsensical in the way the mystery and fake-outs are handled.
Really darn great by slasher standards, and even kind of pretty good by the standards of decent, functional, God-fearing modes of cinema.
A run-of-the-mill slasher film whose central gimmick is setting its action on a train.
Audience Reviews for Terror Train
Claustrophobic settings are perfect to induce anxiety because the feeling of no escape slowly creeps in. 'Terror Train' is a senselessly amateurish affair and not an iota of originality springs from the locomotive-bound milieu. Naturally, the slice-and-dice victims are members of a sex-starved fraternity and as per usual, the bloodshed is supposedly vengeance for a particularly cruel prank (a pledge is almost coerced into necrophilia). To say that the cloak-and-dagger Agatha Christie mystery is completely telegraphed is putting it mildly. Anyone who can't determine the killer's identity must be hopelessly naïve. The high-key lighting on the cabin corridors sullies most of Roger Spottiswoode's forays into scare tactics until the lights finally dim in the taut final half-hour. I wouldn't be astonished to learn that a ghost director was hired for this section because the film drastically improves with a volcanic chase between Jamie Lee Curtis and the killer (the murderer creepily wriggling down a window behind a nearly unconscious Curtis is spectacular). The only other point of interest and sparkling showmanship is David Copperfield brandishing some magician tricks such as a cigarette penetrating a quarter. This could've easily been transmogrified into a Cameron Crowe coming-of-age story about embarking on the last laps of college and how relationships were forged or splintered during the intervening years. The slothfully paced 'Terror Train' is surprisingly scant on gore but it doesn't equalize with rip-roaring intensity (although a hide-and-seek scene inside Doc Manley's (Hart Bochner) reclusive compartment is heart-palpitating). On a sidenote, a lizard costume-adorned casualty with a booze bottle embedded in his mouth looks like he accidentally died of alcohol poisoning.
Mediocre slasher from the 80's. Interesting setting for a slasher film having it unfold onboard a train, but that's about the only bit of originality about it. The kills themselves are mostly gore-free and tame, and the killers' big reveal is predictable. The best moments are of David Copperfield's tricks during his cameo appearence.
This is just an average slasher movie, it seems to try to be a train mystery movie at the same time, but it really isn't. This movie is really boring most of the time. I didn't like this one at all, and I don't recommend seeing it.
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