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Terror Train

Theatrical poster for Terror Train
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
Editing by Anne Henderson
Studio 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 $3,500,000

Terror Train is a 1980 Canadian horror film, directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Johnson, and David Copperfield.



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 for sex. However the other students have placed a woman's corpse in the bed. The prank backfires horribly, and Kenny ends up in a psychiatric hospital.

Three years later the members of the same fraternities and sororities hold a costume party aboard a train. Attending are the jokester of the group, Ed, disguised as Groucho Marx, prank ringleader Doc Manley, disguised as a monk, Jackson who is disguised as an alien lizard, Doc's girlfriend and Alana's best friend Mitchy, disguised as a witch, and Alana's boyfriend Mo, disguised as a bird. Carne is the train conductor. Ken is the magician hired to entertain the crowd.

As the train journies 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 remembers the prank, and suspects that the magician is the killer as Kenny loved magic. However the magician has disappeared, presumed to have leapt off the train. Alana is sequestered in a locked compartment for her safety, but the killer is still aboard and is stalking her.



To create the train for the film, the producers leased an actual Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive from the Steamtown Foundation. The train's engine was renumbered from its original 1293 to 1881, and, along with five passenger cars, painted black with silver stripes. Afterward, the Steamtown Foundation reverted the engine back to its original number and had it restored to an historic color and lettering scheme. As of February, 2002, Canadian Pacific Railway No. 1293 continued to be an "operable locomotive." [1] It was filmed in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from November 21 to December 23, 1979. Terror Train was the first motion picture directed by Spottiswoode, who would go on to make such films as Tomorrow Never Dies, Turner & Hooch, and Air America.


It premiered on 03 October 1980 and was re-released on 06 March 2010 at the New Beverly Cinema.[2]

Home Video Release

Terror Train was first released on VHS home video in 1988 by CBS/Fox Video. The DVD was released in 2004 and is available with different cover art than the original VHS version.


  1. ^ Steamtown NHS: Special History Study. "Canadian Pacific Railway No. 1293",, 2002-02-14. Retrieved on 2009-12-30.
  2. ^ TONIGHT: Revisit 'Terror Train' On The Big Screen!

External links

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