Following slasher movie conventions, a group of frat brothers and their sorority girlfriends pull a twisted stunt on a new pledge that goes horribly wrong. Flash forward to the end of college as the group are preparing to enter the 'real world' and the graduating year decides the best way to celebrate the end of college is for a cross country booze fuelled train journey with some stage magic thrown in for good measure. (an excellent excuse to stick David copperfield in the film, just before he made it big in stage magic.) Naturally this being a slasher pic a disgruntled killer gets on board and begins killing people.
Terror train is certainly a flawed movie. Anyone looking for a high bodycount and gorey deaths will more than likely come away dissapointed as for the most part the film is fairly restrained. Personally I really enjoy the film but some of the less favourable reviews on amazon for the film certainly make some good points. I should also add I quite enjoy PROM NIGHT a slasher where nothing much of anything happens for well over an hour! I don't need a string of gorey murders so long as the film is well crafted and atmospheric and fortunately this is where director Rodger Spottiswood comes into his own as the film has loads of atmosphere and some great performance (including scream queen Jamie lee Curtis). If your after a bodycount picture then I would advise caution, however, if you approach the movie not expecting a typical by the numbers slasher TERROR TRAIN can still be a rewarding movie.
Like the majority of Scream Factory's discs this one is region locked, so don't buy it if your not multi-region capable. (this is becoming less and less of a problem, which is a good thing.) I would imagine this is a release that SECOND SIGHT or ARROW might look at picking up for release over here eventually so it might be worth waiting. Extras wise theres a couple of featurettes on the disc but very little to write home about. Where the disc really excels is the sound and picture quality that far surpass both the crappy anchor bay uk release and the much better FOX release from the states. If like me you enjoy the film and can play region locked discs this is certainlly worth a punt. If you hate the film then knock 2-3 stars off my review as the improved quality will do little to change your minds as the problems with the film have more to do with pacing and content.
No signs yet of a UK release but it can only be a matter of time.
It’s New Year’s Eve, and a group of college coeds have planned a masquerade bash aboard a chartered train. What they didn’t plan on was that a knife-wielding psycho would crash the party and begin slaughtering the guests one by one! Who is this brutal costumed killer? Could it be the mysterious magician (David Copperfield) with a talent for swordplay… a former frat pledge with an axe to grind… or any number of other guests, both invited and uninvited? Terror Train was an obvious cash grab based on the success of Halloween. In a completely obvious move, the producers even cast Jamie Lee Curtis in the lead role. She’s fine in the role, but her character is written as an unlikeable protagonist due to the awful prank she pulls in the opening sequence. What I did like about Terror Train was how they incorporated David Coperfield within the film, with his several magic tricks which were also meant as a plot twist. As far as early 80's slasher films go, Terror Train was a decent and fun slasher film with a great setting on a train, however the film has a tendency to drag in several places and it can be quite formulaic at times. As a simple slasher, this flick shouldn't have been longer than 85 minutes. The various costumes that our killer dons are also a bit silly, yet not silly enough to evoke laughter. I do, however, admire SHOUT! Factory for giving this film the Blu-Ray treatment. Terror Train‘s cult fandom will no doubt be pleased by this release, as will Jamie Lee Curtis fans. The filmmaker interviews are fairly interesting, each featuring a surprising amount of information about all the stages of the filmmaking process. Producer Daniel Grodnik in particular is very honest about the film, as are the rest of the interviewees.
Destination Death - An interview with Producer Daniel Grodnik Riding The Rails - An interview with Production Executive Don Carmody All Aboard! - An interview with Production Designer Glenn Bydwell Music For Murder - An interview with Composer John Mills-Cockell Theatrical Trailer TV Spot Still Gallery