• Terror Train (Scorpion Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: July 22nd, 2019.
    Director: Roger Spottiswoode
    Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, David Copperfield, Ben Johnson, Hart Bochner, Derek McKinnon, Sandee Currie, Timothy Webber
    Year: 1980
    Purchase From Ronin Flix

    Terror Train – Movie Review:

    Roger Spottiswoode’s 1980 film Terror Train opens with a scene in which a college student named Kenny Hampson (Derek McKinnon) finds himself the victim of a frat prank. This prank goes wrong quickly and Kenny winds up institutionalized while those behind it all get off scot free.

    A few years later and those same frat boys, led by Doc (Hart Bochner) and Mo (Timothy Webber), are hosting a rockin’ costume party on a train. There’s plenty of girls along for the ride, including Mo’s lady-friend Alana (Jamie Lee Curtis), who still carries some guilt over that fateful night. What nobody onboard knows is that just as everyone was boarding, a killer showed up, stole a mask and a costume, and has boarded the train looking for revenge. As the lead conductor, Carne (Ben Johnson), tries to keep the peace and a magician (David Copperfield) performs for the partygoers, the killer strikes, swiping the costumes of his victims and working his way through the crowd in hopes of getting to his final target.

    This isn’t the most original slasher picture ever made but it’s a pretty entertaining one. The kill scenes don’t take things as far as gorehounds will want but the train setting is used quite well and, as such, the movie has some pretty decent atmosphere. Nicely shot by John Alcott, it’s a good-looking movie that makes nice use of color and that uses the confines of its central location to help build some pretty solid suspense.

    And hey, it’s got David Copperfield in it too. He does a few tricks here and, depending on how you feel about professional magicians, that can either be a good thing for a bad thing. At the very least, his involvement is worked into the storyline reasonably well, and thankfully it never really feels like stunt casting.

    As to the rest of the cast? Curtis is good here, particularly in the film’s final moments. She’s a fairly sympathetic and likeable character on a train full of drunken jerks, so of course we’re with her as she goes through all of this. It’s also worth pointing out that the movie marks the big screen debut of Sandee Currie, who would star in Curtains, another Canadian slasher picture, three years later. Also be on the lookout for Ben Johnson. Here the star of The Wild Bunch, The Getaway and The Last Picture show gets a strong supporting role and he plays the part well, his screen presence making quite an impression here. If that weren’t enough, none other than Vanity (credited as D.D. Winters) shows up here, not too long before she’d go on to (in)famy with Prince.

    Terror Train – Blu-ray Review:

    Terror Train arrives on Blu-ray from Scorpion Releasing framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition taken from a new 2k scan of the film’s interpositive. The title was released a few years ago by Scream Factory but Scorpion Releasing’s new transfer is a noticeable improvement over that disc, looking more filmic with better colors and less noticeable damage. The transfer still shows some white specks here and there but it’s pretty stable overall. Detail is quite strong here and while some of the darker scenes are still a tad murky, that looks to be how the movie was shot. Skin tones look good, colors are nice, there are no problems with compression or edge enhancement. All in all, it’s a pretty solid looking effort.

    The original English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track is included here as is a DTS-HD 5.1 track, with subtitles provided for the feature, also in English. There isn’t a ton of difference between the two tracks, the 5.1 mix occasionally shuffles some things around into the rear channels (and occasionally the wrong channel) but not so much that it really envelopes you. The mono track is more faithful to the film’s roots and, unless you’re a surround sound junkie, definitely the way to go. Either way, the tracks are clean and properly balanced. They sound just fine. There is, however, a noticeable lag on the subtitles and they are unfortunately out of synch for much of the movie.

    New to this release is a seventeen-minute interview with director Roger Spottiswoode who speaks quite candidly about making the film. He notes that shooting some of the scenes on the train was particularly tricky, as were pretty much all of the scenes where Copperfield performs. He talks about working with Ben Johnson and Jamie Lee Curtis too, and also praises some of the crew members who helped him out on the shoot. Also exclusive to this disc is a six-minute interview writer Judith Rosco who speaks about how and why the movie wound up being shot in Montreal, the influence of Halloween on the production and how the finished product compared to the written version.

    The interviews that originally appeared on the older Scream Factory Blu-ray are also included here. Production executive Don Carmody speaks for thirteen-minute about his involvement in the picture, the director, the locations and more. Producer Daniel Grodnik gets twelve-minutes in front of the camera to discuss how he came on board this project, Spottiswoode, the cast and more. Production designer Glenn Bydwell talks for eleven-minutes about working on the film, the sets and set pieces and what his job entailed during the shoot. Also on hand is composter John Mills-Cockell who is interviewed for eight-minutes about composing the music used in the film.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are the film’s original theatrical trailer, a TV spot, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    Terror Train – The Final Word:

    Terror Train isn’t the most original slasher ever made but it does a nice job of exploiting its location and it features a few memorable murder set pieces. It’s an entertaining picture, and Curtis is quite good in it, as you’d expect. Scorpion Releasing has done a fine job reissuing this one on Blu-ray, with a strong presentation and some nice extras. Lots of fun to be had with this one – recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized Terror Train Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Fundi's Avatar
      Fundi -
      the subtitles are out of synch, and the 5.1 audio is screwed up, and they did a fine job? okay
    1. moviegeek86's Avatar
      moviegeek86 -
      Yeah he said fine job. Not incredible and perfect job.
    1. Fundi's Avatar
      Fundi -
      well only an idiot considers subtitles out of synch and screwed up audio a fine job. and moviegeek86, that would make you an idiot too.
    1. Raf A.'s Avatar
      Raf A. -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fundi View Post
      well only an idiot considers subtitles out of synch and screwed up audio a fine job. and moviegeek86, that would make you an idiot too.
      A lot of BDs that the Olsens release has some kind of an issue, sometimes very serious but almost every single review from various reviewers fails to mention those issues like they really should.
    1. Scorpion's Avatar
      Scorpion -
      And unlike the other Olsen I am looking into doing a replacement program by fixing the mistake I just hope all of you remember that instead of grouping me in with him and his gang
    1. Scorpion's Avatar
      Scorpion -
      Also what someone please explain what is wrong with the 5.1? Because it's the exact same 5.1 that was used in the Shout Factory disc so any kind of mistake would be in the program itself and not the actual audio itself