Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Hart Bochner feels the hand of death
TERROR TRAIN (1980). Director: Roger Spottiswoode.

"You can't have a good time without hurting someone?" -- Alana.

On New Year's Eve some pre-med students and their friends have a masquerade party on a moving train, unaware that a masked killer with a grudge has some violent plans for the celebrants. Alana (Jamie Lee Curtis) was an apparently unknowing participant in a sick practical joke three years before, a joke played on Kenny (Derek McKinnon) and perpetrated by "Doc"(Hart Bochner), Alana's boyfriend Mo (Timothy Webber), and her best gal pal, Michelle (Sandee Currie). Terror Train has a great premise, and while it's not exactly a nail-biting classic, it does have suspense, some intensity, and plenty of atmosphere. The gore level is not that high, although there is an (off-screen) beheading. One interesting bisexual bit has Doc, who seems paired with Michelle, telling Mo that "if (Alana) dumps you, you still got me" with  that certain look on his face. The acting in this is professional, with Ben Johnson taking the lead as the harried but competent train conductor. David Copperfield, who was already a well-known magician, plays, well, a magician who entertains on the train, and he's so effective that he could easily have had an alternative acting career. Offspring of well-known actor parents, it's no surprise that Curtis [Prom Night] and Bochner [Urban Legends: Final Cut] went on to many other vehicles, but Timothy Webber has also amassed nearly 130 credits. Terror Train was director Spottiswoode's first assignment, later helming everything from The Matthew Shepard Story for cable, and the disappointing James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies.

Verdict: Interesting early slasher film with a clever ending. ***.


angelman66 said...

Hi Bill - I remember liking this one quite a bit....always a big Jamie Lee Curtis fan, and Hart Bochner was a total hottie!

William said...

Oddly, the one who made the best impression for me was Copperfield!