A horror movie on a train seems like a perfect premise for a scary film. And on New Year’s Eve too! Everyone is partying to ring in the New Year, and no one can get off. It’s easy-pickings for any killer. That’s the premise for the 1980s Canadian horror film, Terror Train, starring the “Scream Queen” herself, Jamie Lee Curtis.
A group of fraternity guys and sorority girls play a prank on a boy in freshman year. Jamie Curtis’ character, Alana, is hiding behind a curtain talking to Kenny (Derek McKinnon) as he takes his clothes off, and she’s saying it’s her first time too and telling him to kiss her. He climbs into bed, but Alana is not in bed. It’s a corpse that’s in bed. Kenny goes absolutely crazy, spinning around getting all tied up in the drapes.
Flash forward to senior year, and the same group of friends, plus more, are all getting ready to board a train for the New Year’s Eve bash, all in costumes. There’s even a magician onboard for their entertainment, played by the one and only David Copperfield!
It’s only somewhat of a spoiler to say Kenny is the one behind the murders. I mean, the movie did set it up for just that. It’s a pretty typical old-school horror movie. You’ve got the drinking that gets you killed and, in this case, the misdeeds of hazing and humiliating a fellow student.
We learn pretty quickly that Doc (Hart Bochner) is the prankster, and the first death even gets written off as one of his pranks. Anything that is strange or is bad, someone turns to Doc and says, “this better not be one of your pranks.” And they may lay that on a little too thick.
The movie is pretty predictable from here. One by one, Kenny starts killing off the kids that were involved in the prank. But you never see him kill them. All the kills are off-screen. At first, when a couple of guys get killed in a crowded room, that is kind of cool. It’s mysterious, and I found myself rewinding to see if I could see what happened. I couldn’t.
It gets old real fast, not being able to see the death scenes. Isn’t that the point of watching a horror movie? Especially if there is no suspense.
Terror Train had so much potential. I would actually like them to remake the film and do it right this time.
Jamie hit her mark like she always does, and she does her famous scream. The most exciting part of the entire film is when she takes on the killer.
If you want to check out one of the films that made Jamie the “Scream Queen” she is today or are a classic horror buff, this is worth watching. But don’t expect the suspense of Halloween. It’s just teenagers getting drunk and another one getting his bloody revenge.