If you’ve ever got on a train by yourself, or at night, or by yourself at night, then you’ll know they can be a scary and dangerous place. Even if the train itself is fine, waiting alone on a creepy platform or underground station can be terrifying enough in itself, not to mention what isolated train station may be waiting for you on the other side.
Horror movies know that trains, and more often than not train stations, are the perfect scary setting. As someone who lives out of town, and therefore frequently has to get a solo train to a very dark train station by myself, I know this fear all too well. And because my brain hates me, I usually end up thinking of some train-related horror scenes along the way.
So let’s celebrate with some of my favourite train scenes in the world of horror, and I apologise in advance if I’ve ruined your commute!
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
I’ve never been on the London Underground at night myself, but from what I’ve learned from horror movies, it seems to go from regular commuter station to completely deserted murder location in the blink of an eye. And that’s certainly true for poor Gerald when he steps off the train at Tottenham Court Road.
Even though the train and the platform were full of people, when Gerald steps into the station, he soon finds himself completely alone. Well, apart from the massive werewolf that is. Most of the scene is either shot from the werewolf’s point of view or is just the audience following Gerald running. In fact, we only get the slightest glimpse of the wolf as it slowly creeps up on Gerald after he trips on the escalator. However, the thought of being chased through those empty titled corridors is enough to make this scene terrifying.
Final Destination 3 (2006)
The poor characters in the Final Destination (2000) series never have a good time of it. Even if they manage to avoid dying in a horrific accident, there’s always another accident waiting to claim their lives. While Wendy survived the rollercoaster accident that killed most of her friends and many freak accidents afterwards, she seems to have avoided death once and for all when she suddenly finds herself on a train with fellow survivors Julie (her sister) and Kevin.
However, Wendy experiences another vision that shows all three dying horribly in an accident when the train crashes. Even with the gift of premonition, considering the train has already started moving, and there’s no way of escape, it seems that friends have finally met their maker this time.
Predator 2 (1990)
Let’s face it, the cops in Predator 2 already have enough to deal with on their subway ride in the form of gang wars and passengers pulling guns on each other, and that’s before the Predator even shows up! But when he decides to join the party, the scene descends into absolute chaos!
There’s panic on the train, with passengers sprinting for the next carriage, cause a lot of crushing and confusion in the process. With the Predator invisible, the lights in the carriage not working, and the fast-moving light spilling in the windows at regular intervals, it’s hard for Jerry Lambert to focus his shots as he tries to take on the extra-terrestrial bounty hunter. However, thanks to the emergency brakes, Leona Cantrell manages to save most of the civilians on board from the Predator.
We’re back in the London Underground, and if you ever need a reason not to fall asleep and miss the last train home, this is it! Not only does Kate miss her last train, but she’s also been locked in the station, with no means of escape. When an empty train shows up, Kate thinks her luck is turning, but she’s very wrong.
Not only has her creepy coworker Guy followed her and is now alone on the train with her, but there is also something more deadly lurking in the shadows. While the unseen creature attacks Guy and prevents him from sexually assaulting Kate, her troubles are far from over. She still has to survive a night in the tunnels and hope that someone will save her from the station.
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
For most of the Friday the 13th (1980) movies, Jason attacks people in a relatively remote location. But when it comes to Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason has an entire city to rampage through, and boy, does he make the most of it.
After being chased through the city by Jason, Rennie and Sean decide to take refuge in the safety of a subway car. However, Jason isn’t put off and follows them onto the train, where they soon find themselves trapped. Most of the passengers are pretty chill, considering Jason’s appearance, and Sean is forced to pull the emergency brake so he and Rennie can flee onto the tracks.
The Bone Collector (1999)
If you like your horror movies more on the police thriller side of things, then The Bone Collector is definitely for you. Amelia Donaghy is a new recruit on the police force when she comes across a crime scene on the train tracks. She has an eye for the more forensic side of things, and therefore, knows the importance of preserving a crime scene if they have any hopes of catching the murder involved.
When Amelia sees a train coming straight from the very particularly-placed evidence, she jumps onto the tracks herself and makes sure the train stops before it ploughs right through the murder scene.
The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
Films like The Midnight Meat Train will stop you from ever wanting to get the last train again. On the last subway ride of the night, hulking butcher Mahogany likes to murder any passengers left on board and hang them up in some sort of mobile meat display. The next morning, the people are missing, with no trace of them or the last-night butchery to be found.
There’s a lot of amazing train scenes in this movie, but my favourite is probably the opening kill scene because you really don’t know the full brutality of what’s coming. See Mahogany throw the carriage window absolutely go to town on one of his victims with a large hammer is stomach-churning and chilling.
What’s worse than the last train home breaking down in the middle of nowhere? How about quickly finding out that a pack of hungry werewolves masterminded the whole thing, and you’re their idea of a midnight snack? However, before the passengers know what’s really going on, they decide to try and walk the remaining distance to the next station rather than wait for help to turn up.
In the woods, the passengers find the body of the dead driver, and soon realise something is stalking them in the trees. Then it’s a desperate race back to the train to try and get the doors shut before the werewolves strike. Poor Jenny gets stuck in the door, and even though she makes it safely onto the train, she gets bitten in the process, which may create some problems later. (Spoiler: it does.)
The Silence (2019)
Horror movies constantly prove that as a general population, human beings are absolute trash, and this scene in The Silence proves just how quickly people will turn against others to protect themselves, especially when they’ll probably end up dying anyway.
The Silence is all about monsters that detect their victims using sound, meaning everyone needs to be super quiet. However, a poor mother on a train finds out that her baby didn’t get the memo. Considering the passengers on the train are a little too eager to throw the baby to its death, the mother has no choice but to get off the train with her baby and face the monsters alone.
Resident Evil (2002)
Sure, Resident Evil is mostly about zombies and horribly mutated creatures, but it also does a pretty good job of making trains scary as well! After most of the team has been munched by the infected lab staff, Alice, Matt, Kaplan, and Rain manage to make their escape on the train shuttle. However, the pesky Licker has stowed away on the train and attacks the team one more time.
In the ensuing fight, the Licker ends up falling through a door in the bottom of the train, getting its tongue stuck, and then getting dragged along the tracks. The door eventually closes on the creature’s tongue, severing it and allowing the train to finally escape.
An American Werewolf in Paris (1997)
An American Werewolf in Paris doesn’t have a lot in common with An American Werewolf in London, aside from some odd character connections and Americans having terrible holidays. However, they do both have kickass train scenes, even if they do feature an incredibly different calibre of werewolf.
While fighting on a subway train, Andy discovers that Claude is the werewolf that turned him, meaning he needs to kill him and eat his heart so that he can revert to being human. Claude tries to inject himself with a drug that will instantly transform him into a wolf but accidentally injects Andy instead. Once he’s a werewolf, Andy finally kills Claude, and eats his heart, all without leaving the carriage!
After Rose undergoes experimental surgery to save her life, she ends up with a taste for blood and the ability to pass on a rabies-like infection to anyone she feeds on. Soon, the infection starts making its way through the city at an incredible speed, leading to hundreds of people getting infected.
It turns out the subway is a terrible place to find out you’re infected. Well, at least it’s terrible for all the people crammed in around you. All it takes is one woman to succumb to the foamy-mouthed stage of the infection and bite someone else, and the whole train is in chaos.
Train to Busan (2016)
There’s no way I could talk about train horror and not mention the wonderfully claustrophobic Train to Busan. As the majority of this movie is set on a train, it was a challenge to pick which scene was my favourite. However, I think it has to be the scene when the train is first taken over by the zombies and we realise the full creepiness of this particular brand the undead.
After one infected woman makes it on the train just as it’s pulling out of the station, she wastes no time turning into a zombie and infecting everyone in the vicinity. The jarring, angular way she stands up after turning shows how inhuman these zombies are. The zombies turn so fast that soon the train is teeming with them, while everyone else tries to flee to cabins further up the train.
Drag Me to Hell (2009)
I do not like talking about Drag Me to Hell, because the ending messes me up more than most other movies, but there’s no denying it’s effective. When Christine finds out that she’s buried the wrong envelope, and she’s in possession of the cursed button, she ends up falling onto the train tracks in a panic just as a train is approaching.
As her boyfriend, Clay, watches on from the platform, the train is the least of Christine’s worries, as the stones open up below her and she is dragged to Hell by a bunch of fiery hands. By the time the train passes over the scene, Christine is gone, and Clay is left clutching the button responsible for it all.
What’s your favourite train horror scene? Will you ever be getting on a train again? Let me know in the comments!