Terror Train (1980)

R | 90 mins | Horror | 3 October 1980

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HISTORY

Onscreen credits list the bass player of punk band Crime, Brenda Gagnier, as “base player.”
       A 20 Nov 1979 HR news item and 4 Dec 1979 HR production charts announced that principal photography began 19 Nov 1979 in Montreal, Canada, and Northern Vermont. A 7 May 1980 Var article reported that the budget was $2.5 million.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, an antique excursion train was leased from Steam Town Foundation in Bellows Falls, VT, and transported to a Montreal warehouse, where filming took place. As the warehouse was used for commerce during the day, shooting began at 6:00 p.m. and lasted until the early hours of the morning. Interiors were shot during the first four weeks. To simulate train motion and exhaust, the train was rocked back and forth and a combination of church incense and charcoal was burned. On the fifth week, the production moved outside to film the train’s exterior. At the time, the bitter cold hampered shooting. When the train was returned to VT, additional filming of the train’s exterior was completed.
       The film marked the theatrical film debut of magician David Copperfield, and the directorial feature film debut of Roger ... More Less

Onscreen credits list the bass player of punk band Crime, Brenda Gagnier, as “base player.”
       A 20 Nov 1979 HR news item and 4 Dec 1979 HR production charts announced that principal photography began 19 Nov 1979 in Montreal, Canada, and Northern Vermont. A 7 May 1980 Var article reported that the budget was $2.5 million.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, an antique excursion train was leased from Steam Town Foundation in Bellows Falls, VT, and transported to a Montreal warehouse, where filming took place. As the warehouse was used for commerce during the day, shooting began at 6:00 p.m. and lasted until the early hours of the morning. Interiors were shot during the first four weeks. To simulate train motion and exhaust, the train was rocked back and forth and a combination of church incense and charcoal was burned. On the fifth week, the production moved outside to film the train’s exterior. At the time, the bitter cold hampered shooting. When the train was returned to VT, additional filming of the train’s exterior was completed.
       The film marked the theatrical film debut of magician David Copperfield, and the directorial feature film debut of Roger Spottiswoode.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Dec 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 Oct 1980
p. 19.
New York Times
3 Oct 1980
p. 10.
Variety
7 May 1980.
---
Variety
1 Oct 1980
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Harold Greenberg and Sandy Howard present
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Cam op
Focus puller
Gaffer
Clapper loader
Stillman
Addl photog
Addl photog
Addl photog
Best boy
Key grip
Asst key grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst to prod des
Draftsman
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Set dresser
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward mistress
Seamstress
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom man
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Spec makeup consultant
Hairdressing
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod exec
Dir of dial
Casting
Casting
Unit coord
Prod secy
Train coord
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst to prod
Exec prod's asst
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Prod asst
Driver capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Illusions created by
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Train of Terror
Release Date:
3 October 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 3 October 1980
Production Date:
began 19 November 1979 in Montreal, Canada
Copyright Claimant:
Triple T Productions (Astral) Ltd.
Copyright Date:
27 March 1981
Copyright Number:
PA100320
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Canada, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At a college New Year’s Eve party, Kenny Hampson’s fraternity brothers play a prank that ends badly. Kenny expects to lose his virginity to a sorority sister, but instead is matched up with a mutilated corpse. Horrified, he becomes tangled in the bed curtains as his fraternity brothers laugh. Three years later, a train conductor named Carne herds the same fraternity boys and their sorority girl friends aboard a steam train for a senior year New Year’s costume party. As the students board, they assume Ed, wearing a Groucho Marx mask, is playing a practical joke when he simulates being impaled by a sword at the train station. No one sees his body dragged onto the track. On board, Alana and her friend, Mitchy, are happy to be spending time together. Elsewhere, Ed’s girl friend, Pet, suspects he is missing. Meanwhile, the murderer, disguised as Ed, follows Mitchy, and they bump into an intoxicated Jackson, wearing a lizard man costume. Jackson compliments Ed on his sword pantomime, but back in Jackson’s compartment, the murderer slams Jackson’s head into a mirror. In the senior lounge car, Alana becomes angry when she discovers that Doc organized the party instead of Mo, her boyfriend. After Doc’s warped sense of humor sent Kenny to the hospital after the fraternity prank, she vowed she would never attend another one of his parties. As she leaves in disgust, Mo follows to apologize. Soon, a magician, hired to entertain the passengers, impresses Alana with a few tricks. Then, Alana and Mo continue their conversation, and it becomes clear that Alana still cannot forgive Doc because he tricked her into participating in the prank that caused Kenny ... +


At a college New Year’s Eve party, Kenny Hampson’s fraternity brothers play a prank that ends badly. Kenny expects to lose his virginity to a sorority sister, but instead is matched up with a mutilated corpse. Horrified, he becomes tangled in the bed curtains as his fraternity brothers laugh. Three years later, a train conductor named Carne herds the same fraternity boys and their sorority girl friends aboard a steam train for a senior year New Year’s costume party. As the students board, they assume Ed, wearing a Groucho Marx mask, is playing a practical joke when he simulates being impaled by a sword at the train station. No one sees his body dragged onto the track. On board, Alana and her friend, Mitchy, are happy to be spending time together. Elsewhere, Ed’s girl friend, Pet, suspects he is missing. Meanwhile, the murderer, disguised as Ed, follows Mitchy, and they bump into an intoxicated Jackson, wearing a lizard man costume. Jackson compliments Ed on his sword pantomime, but back in Jackson’s compartment, the murderer slams Jackson’s head into a mirror. In the senior lounge car, Alana becomes angry when she discovers that Doc organized the party instead of Mo, her boyfriend. After Doc’s warped sense of humor sent Kenny to the hospital after the fraternity prank, she vowed she would never attend another one of his parties. As she leaves in disgust, Mo follows to apologize. Soon, a magician, hired to entertain the passengers, impresses Alana with a few tricks. Then, Alana and Mo continue their conversation, and it becomes clear that Alana still cannot forgive Doc because he tricked her into participating in the prank that caused Kenny to go mad. Alana leaves to watch more magic, while Doc reassures Mo that they will always be friends, even if Mo breaks up with Alana. As they talk, the friends discover that they do not know who hired the magician, and they also suspect Ed and Jackson are missing. When Alana shares the same suspicions with the conductor Carne, he suggests the missing fellows may have switched their masks, which would make it harder to recognize them. Meanwhile, Carne uses his passkey to unlock a bathroom, and discovers a sink stained in blood and Jackson’s dead body. When he tells his crew members, they decide to continue to their destination because it is quicker than turning around. Carne returns with a porter, but when he peers inside, there is no blood, just Jackson alive in a lizard mask. A tipsy Mitchy guides Jackson to her compartment. She flirts with him to even the score with her boyfriend Doc, who has used the trip to seduce other women. When she closes her eyes expecting to be kissed, the masked lizard man places a severed hand on her chest, and muffles her screams. Meanwhile, Doc finds apologizes to Alana for his insensitive behavior. He tells her Mo is waiting for her in a sleeper car. However, Ed’s drunk girl friend, Pet, wants to seduce Mo. As he dances with her to keep her libido in check, Carne searches the train looking for clues, and finds Mitchy dead with her throat slashed. When Alana looks for Mo, Carne shows her Mitchy’s body. She tries to alert Mo, but he does not open his door because Pet is in the compartment with him. After Alana is gone, Mo finds Doc watching the magic show, and reveals that Alana did not catch him with Pet. Elsewhere, Alana and Carne discuss who might have committed Mitchy’s murder. When Alana is convinced that none of her friends are capable of murder, Carne suggests that an insane person has stowed away on the train. As the magic show ends, Doc notices Mo is unconscious, and carries his body, looking for help. Alana and Carne respond to Doc’s cries, and soon realize Mo is beyond help. When Doc asks for Mitchy, Alana tells him she is dead. Doc panics and pulls the train’s emergency brake although Carne orders him to stop. Carne notices that the engineer does not respond to the command, so he stops the train himself, realizing the engineer has disappeared. Carne gives the staff axes, and orders them to search every inch of the train while passengers wait outside in the cold. Meanwhile, Alana remembers that Kenny killed someone when he was treated for mental illness in the hospital, and realizes he is after everyone who was involved with Doc’s prank. Doc locks Alana in his sleeper car, but she wants to warn her friends and escapes. Alone, Doc searches his surroundings and chuckles, thinking he has eluded death. However, a hand grabs his shoulder, produces a knife and slits his throat. Outside, Alana searches for Carne, and they return to Doc’s room, which shows signs of a struggle. Carne unlocks a bed compartment, and a body hidden in a blanket tumbles to the floor. A severed head follows. Soon, Carne orders passengers away from the magician’s stage. The magician’s assistant is also asked to leave, as Carne deadbolts the door with the magician locked inside. A porter leads Alana to a safer sleeping compartment and promises to stand guard outside her door. Later, the porter is killed when a sword pierces his torso. Meanwhile, Carne unlocks the deadbolt and calls to the magician, but he has disappeared. A male disguised as Albert Einstein tries to attack Alana but she leaps out from behind a door and strikes Einstein with an axe. She runs away but Einstein chases after her, and locks her in the crew car, alternately knocking her head against the walls and choking her. She pushes him away, and douses him with a fire extinguisher. As he is momentarily dazed, Alana locks herself inside a wire-caged office. Einstein finds a metal pole, pokes it through the openings, and tries to impale Alana. She screams Kenny’s name as she furiously scrambles for a weapon. Alana momentarily stuns the attacker by impaling him with a sharp nail from a bill organizer. She kicks open the office door and runs over to a train door. She and Kenny fight as they teeter over the train tracks. Suddenly, Kenny loses his grip on Alana’s shirt, and falls off the train. Carne pulls Alana back inside to safety. Later, Alana explores the magician’s props, and sees the man impaled with his swords. She runs screaming to the crew car to find safety with a crewmember. However, Kenny survived his fall and is now dressed as one of the crew. As he grabs her wrists, Alana apologizes for the New Year’s prank, and he asks her for a kiss. When she obliges, Kenny becomes distraught remembering the trauma of being tangled in bed curtains three years earlier. Reenacting the scene, he becomes twisted in blankets. Carne beats Kenny with a shovel, and he plummets from an open door of the train to an icy stream below. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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