I know it sounds crazy to a lot of B-D fans, but I haven’t seen every horror movie ever made (People try and stump me with questions all the time and I’m always like, “why?”). Everyone always seems to be shocked when I say I haven’t seen certain movies- Roger Spottiswoode’s Terror Train being one of them. After viewing this fantastic piece of work, I now know why everyone has been nagging me to check it out.
‘Terror Train,’ which was released all the way back in 1980 and stars Jamie Lee Curtis, is a well crafted horror flick that was indeed ahead of its time. We’ve been so mind-fuc*ed by movies like ‘Sixth Sense’ that it’s rare when we find enjoyment in movies that are so simple like ‘Terror Train.’ A college fraternity prank goes bad and a student ends up in the mental ward. Four years later, it’s graduation time, and the members of the fraternity decide to have a costume party aboard a train trip to celebrate their graduation. Unknowingly to them, a killer has slipped aboard, whacking them off one by one, disguised in the costumes of the victims. Is it the boy returning for revenge, the magician (played by David Copperfield) or could it be one of the pranksters who played the original joke? When you find out I’m sure you’re going to feel like such a jackass, I know I did.
For a movie filmed in 1980, it’s beautifully shot and very detail orientated. The directing was very unique, it looked like something Rob Zombie or Oliver Stone might have been inspired by. There was a wide use of colors from red to blue to green flushing over the different train room sequences. Spottiswoode made sure that at all time it looked as if the train was moving (maybe they filmed on a real train?). The characters were always swaying left to right and bumping up and down a little, either these kids were great actors or they did something to simulate the train experience. I know it sounds like it might be nauseating like ‘Blair Witch Project,’ but I assure you it’s very minimal, but enough to achieve the effect of realism.
I also loved the plot, which was so simple- yet so complex. It rules when the story throws in ever changing variables and different motives and then knocks off some of your guesses, but doesn’t ever give you enough room to know for sure. I also loved how in the end it all makes sense, there’s no ‘cop-out’ or cheap “you would have NEVER known” end. Having David Copperfield thrown into the mix also rocked, especially since he’s the most damn-cool magician in the world today. Even though it was a movie, it was great watching him perform some tricks all the way back 25 years ago (were does the time go?).
Although the kills were mostly off screen, there were some great aftermath shots, which involved decapitated heads and slit throats. If aftermath bores you, then I’m sure you don’t like the ‘Friday the 13’ movies. There was still plenty of blood and the movie was paced well enough to keep you entertained from beginning to the end. But how could you ever get bored with David Copperfield on board?
20th Century Fox Home Video will be releasing this bad boy on DVD for the first time ever on September 7th for a SRP of only $14.98, which means Best Buy or Amazon should have it for only $9.99. If you haven’t seen this yet, I promise you will love it, especially if you’re a fan of ‘April Fools Day.’ It’s the perfect slasher film for Halloween night when you’re looking for something different to watch while you’re eating all that candy.