Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

Terror Train (1980)

by  |  January 24th, 2011  |  Horror  |  4 Comments

When I first became a fan of the horror movie genre I knew about Jamie Lee Curtis through movie’s such as James Cameron’s True Lies (1994) and Harry Winner’s House Arrest (1996). Now I had been in to horror movies during this time, but it wouldn’t be till about the mid 90’s when I first discovered Jamie Lee’s prolific role in shaping generations of horror movie fans!

With that said in the early part of the new millenium I began to really get interested in John Carpenter’s work with such classic’s as ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ ‘The Fog’ ‘The Thing’ etc… When looking up his body of work I discovered that Jamie Lee had really done alot of work in the horror field with John Carpenter!

Now to understand what I am about to say, you must understand that John Carpenter is in one of my favorite directors ever. So with that said after I saw The Fog (Another film that Jamie Lee Curtis had done) I was checkin out the filmographies on IMDB from the cast and crew of that movie, and came to discover the movie ‘Terror Train.’

Now we cut forward a few years, and lo and behold, I am in my favorite movie store that at this point we all know and love… That’s right folks, you guessed it.  The always cool Amoeba Entertainment. I was in that store looking for movies to enjoy on a Halloween one year, when I came to discover, Terror Train!

What is Terror Train you might be asking yourself?  Well believe you me,  Terror Train is probably the lesser known of Mrs. Curtis’s work as a scream queen, but it holds up against any of the other horror films that she has done.

Written by T.Y. Drake (The Keeper) and Daniel Grodnik (Blind Fury) and Directed Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies)  and starring Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Ben Johnson (The Evening Star) Hart Bochner (Die Hard) and illusionist David Copperfield.   Terror Train tells the story of a fraternity prank gone horribly wrong. And the consequences of what they did.

The Sigma Phi New Years Party.

It is New Years Eve and a group of fraternity guys hold a bonfire on a beach one year.  Well one of the boys that went by the name of Doc (Bochner) and a few of their friends, most notably Alana (Curtis) Mitchy (Played by Sandee Curee) and Mo (Played by Timothy Webber) decided to play what most thought was going to be a harmless prank on the unpopular boy Kenny Hampson (played by Derek McKinnon.) I won’t give the prank away, except to say that this prank actually goes so far as to drive ole Kenny Hampson insane!

Now cut to a few years later and those younger college students are now older and ready to graduate to bigger and better things.   With that said the fraternity decides to have one last hurrah together and rent out a train to have the most epic party of their lives!  From the moment that they arrive on the train weird things have begun to occur.  The first one being that it seemed like no one had ordered an illusionist (Copperfield) to perform for them.  One of the kids goes missing, etc…

Until Mitchy’s body is accidentally found dead by the Train Conductor (Johnson), no one actually thinks a thing about, these odd occurrences; everyone is to pre-occupied with partying to notice the mounting body count!  Now it is a race against time to discover who the killer is, find him or her and stop him or her before that person can kill again!

Jamie Lee Curtis trying not to make this her last party.

What makes this an awesome b movie you might be asking… Well simply put,  I would have to say that there are a few things that stand out as making this film truly excellent:

1. Jamie Lee Curtis obviously makes this an awesome b movie, (I mean who doesn’t like to see one of the greatest scream queens in action?)

2. The story line I also think has made this quite the awesome b movie.  I mean, the cathartic moment when Alana (Curtis) comes up against the murderer and discovers who it is, is just utterly awesome!

3, The last thing that I have to say that I liked about this film was the cinematography of John Alcott and crew in how they set up the whole creepy look and feel of the film!

Little did I know that till recently that Terror Train had actually been Roger Spottiswoode’s first film.  Also that the passenger car used in the film called the ‘Denehotso’ is now located at the Arizona Railway Musuem in Chandler AZ.

All in all if your a horror fan and have never seen this, or if your lookin for a fun little scare, then I highly recommend checking this out, I think you might like it!

Nathan Strack


Nathan Strack is a Writer/Director/Filmmaker & Owner/Founder of: Hell In Space, Strack Web Design Service & Strack Store.


  1. Matthew Dowling

    February 4th, 2011at 2:09 PM(#)

    Yeah, that looks good. I still gotta see that one…

  2. Tweets that mention Terror Train (1980) | AwesomeBMovies.com -- Topsy.com

    February 5th, 2011at 6:58 AM(#)

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AwesomeBMovies, Matthew Dowling. Matthew Dowling said: This is one I still need to see, Terror Train (1980) | AwesomeBMovies.com http://ow.ly/3QCOE #Horror […]

  3. Dave B.

    February 12th, 2011at 7:57 AM(#)

    I actually saw this for the first time EVER yesterday, and I agree that it holds up well. Jamie Lee Curtis is excellent, but I also liked Ben Johnson’s character. It was also an interesting setting for a slasher film.

    And yes, John Carpenter RULES! THE THING is one of my favorite horror movies, as is HALLOWEEN (In fact, he had a real string of great movies from ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 right up to and including BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. I’m even a fan of CHRISTINE!).

  4. Nathan Strack Nathan Strack

    February 14th, 2011at 5:03 AM(#)

    Hey Dave,

    Glad you like the flick, probably one of my favorite that Jamie Lee Curtis ever did. Agreed, Ben Johnson is pretty awesome in this film.

    Halloween is probably one of my favorite movies in general, but it is also in my top 3. As regards to Carpenter’s other Body of work. There is one movie you might like, that I had a hard time finding that was alot of fun is Someone’s Watching Me! It’s an obscure one, but a good one.

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