Terror Train (1980) Review ('80s Slasher)

Terror Train (1980) Review ('80s Slasher)

Title: Terror Train

Tagline: "The boys and girls of sigma phi, some will live, some will die."

Release Date: October 3rd, 1980

Terror Train is a 1980 slasher film, directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Johnson and David Copperfield. It follows the members of a college fraternity who played a cruel prank on a shy kid named Kenny Hampson three years ago. They are having a costume party on a train; unbeknownst to them, someone has boarded the train with them and is killing them all one by one.


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 the promise of a sexual liaison. 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 New Year's 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 a 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. Carne discovers some bodies and sequesters the students in one car as the train begins its return journey. Alana recalls the prank, and, remembering that Kenny loved magic, suspects the magician is the killer. However the magician has disappeared, and is eventually found impaled inside his sword box.

Alana is sequestered in a locked compartment for her safety, but the killer is still aboard, stalking her. The killer enters the compartment but Alana escapes, and is pursued by the killer through the train. The killer is revealed as Kenny, who was disguised as the magician's female assistant. Kenny refuses Alana's apology and forces her to kiss him, but the kiss causes Kenny to relive his memories of the prank, driving him deeper into insanity. Carne rushes to the scene and beats down Kenny with a firemans' shovel, causing him to fall out the open door of the baggage car to his presumable death. His body lands in the nearly frozen river and floats away as the train roars off.



The shy and awkward pledge Kenny Hampso. Students pull a sick prank on him in the opening scene, leaving him traumatized and eventually instituitonalized at a psychiatric ward. Aboard a train during a class excursion, Kenny dresses up in costume and sets out on a bloody spree of revenge.


Cast & CreditsEdit

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode
Produced by Harold Greenberg
Written by T. Y. Drake
Starring Ben Johnson

Jamie Lee Curtis Hart Bochner

Music by John Mills-Cockell
Cinematography John Alcott
Edited by Anne Henderson
Astral Bellevue Pathé
Sandy Howard Productions

Triple T Productions

Distributed by Astral Films
20th Century Fox
Release date(s) October 3, 1980
Running time 97 minutes
Country Canada
United States
Language English
Budget $4.2 million[1]
Box office $8,000,000[2]