TERROR TRAIN (1980) Reviews and overview


‘All aboard… If you dare!’

Terror Train is a 1980 Canadian slasher horror feature film directed by Roger Spottiswoode from a screenplay by T.Y. Drake (writer-director of The Keeper). The movie stars Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween; Prom Night; Road Games; et al), Ben Johnson and David Copperfield.



At a college pre-med student fraternity New Year’s Eve party, a reluctant Alana Maxwell is coerced into participating in a prank: she lures the shy and awkward pledge Kenny Hampson into a darkened room on a promise of some fun. However some other students have placed a woman’s corpse in the bed. Kenny is traumatised by the prank and is sent to a psychiatric hospital.

Three years later, the members of the same fraternities and sororities hold a costume party aboard a train. Class clown Ed is disguised as Groucho Marx. Prank ringleader Doc Manley is disguised as a monk. Jackson is disguised as an alien lizard. Doc’s girlfriend, Alana’s best friend Mitchy, is disguised as a witch. Alana’s boyfriend Mo is disguised as a bird. Also along are Carne, the train conductor, and Ken, the magician hired to entertain the crowd.

As the train journeys into the icy wilderness, the students responsible for the prank are murdered one by one, with the killer assuming the mask and costume of each murder victim in turn…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

” …Terror Train is unique in the sense that neither the killer nor the victims have anywhere to go. Not only that, but the big soiree is a costume party, giving a potential killer the ability to cloak his visage and pick off his choice of victims one at a time with more ease.” Oh, the Horror!

“Despite a high body count and the requisite number of lung-busting howls by Curtis, Terror Train is a fair slasher exercise at best, even when compared to its Canadian contemporaries. Tom Drake’s derivative script, based on American Daniel Grodnik’s equally underdeveloped Halloween-on-a-train concept, just never builds up appropriate steam…” Canuxsploitation

“Released early on in the “Golden Age” of the slasher cycle, Terror Train is a sterling example of the subgenre done right. It features good, likable characters, solid performances and a wonderfully claustrophobic atmosphere that distinguishes it from many of its peers.” Dread Central


Main cast and characters:

  • Ben Johnson … Carne
  • Jamie Lee Curtis … Alana
  • Hart Bochner … Doc
  • David Copperfield … The Magician
  • Derek McKinnon … Kenny Hampson (as Derek MacKinnon)
  • Sandee Currie … Mitchy
  • Timothy Webber … Mo
  • Anthony Sherwood … Jackson
  • Howard Busgang … Ed
  • Steve Michaels … Brakeman
  • Greg Swanson … Class President
  • Vanity … Merry (as D.D. Winters)
  • Joy Boushel … Pet
  • Victor Knight … Engineer
  • Donald Lamoreux … Shovels (as Don Lamoureux)