There’s a reason we love horror movies set on trains. It’s hard to think of a more nightmarish scenario than being trapped on a crowded commuter train with rabid zombies, or being picked off one by one by a mysterious monster. Or perhaps you prefer being stranded in the middle of the night in the middle of woods that happen to be werewolf country?
Choose your nightmare train below. Tickets are nonrefundable.
With its terrifyingly fast-changing (and fast-charging) zombies and characters we actually care about, this South Korean hit dramatically raised the bar for the genre. We anxiously root for overworked businessman (Gong Yoo) and his young daughter, a man and his pregnant wife, and what’s left of a high school baseball team to ward off the growing horde on a train bound for Busan. Followed by the sequel Peninsula and an animated prequel, Seoul Station.
Fraternity brothers and their dates—including scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis and magician David Copperfield—rent a train to celebrate Halloween, not realizing that the victim of their cruel prank years earlier is also on board. With everyone in costume, kills that might or might not be magic tricks, and endless places for a body or a killer to hide—this train ride is a bloody, suspenseful one.
Hammer horror icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing reteam in this Victorian tale that’s based on the same novel as the one that inspired The Thing (1982). It begins with explorer Lee finding a frozen creature that he believes is the missing link in a Manchurian cave. He’s transporting the specimen to Europe by Trans-Siberian Express, where it has plenty of time to thaw and begin taking over passengers. The best line: When Cushing is asked whether he or Lee could be the creature without realizing it, he replies indignantly, “Monster? We’re British, you know.” Add in Telly Savalas as an imperious Cossack officer, and you’ve got a helluva movie.
Train guard Joe Griffin (Ed Speleers of Outlander and Eragon) is not having a great night. First he learns he’s been denied a promotion, then he’s assigned to work a surprise night shift with a more obnoxious than usual handful of passengers. When the train jolts to a stop in the middle of a forest, the driver goes to inspect the tracks … and never returns. Thus begins an escalating commuter versus werewolf tale with the panicky passengers jostling for survival. You may not be terribly invested in who survives, but you are hoping for the Class-A jerk who’s willing to sacrifice everyone else to finally get his.
If you want maximum carnage per train car, this is your movie. Bradley Cooper stars as a photographer who begins tracking a killer (Vinnie Jones) who butchers anyone unfortunate enough to be riding the subway late at night. It’s based on the 1984 Clive Barker short story of the same name and features buckets of blood—and one of the biggest “whaaa?” endings in any horror movie.
Sharon Knolle is a film noir buff, dog lover and founder of Moviepaws.com. You can follow her on Twitter.