An unnamed man, simply called "Young Man" in the credits (Bottoms), sneaks into Ocean View Amusement Park and places a small radio-controlled bomb on the tracks of the park's wooden roller coaster. The bomb detonates, a coaster train derails, killing and injuring the riders. Safety inspector Harry Calder (Segal), who initially cleared the ride, is called to the park to investigate. It is soon discovered that the attack is just the one of many at other parks, and it's up to Calder to stop the bomber.
It was one of the few films to be shown in Sensurround, which caused those watching the movie to vibrate during certain periods during the "thrill scenes" on the rides.
This film features examples of:
- Amusement Park of Doom: A series of terrorist bombings targets various amusement parks around the U.S.
- Bowdlerise: The ending was changed from the Young Man getting his foot stuck on the tracks and sliced by the Revolution's train to him getting hit and killed by the train out of fear that the ending would be too extreme for the PG rating and thus receive an R rating (this being before the introduction of PG-13).
- California Doubling:
- Ocean View Amusement Park, where the film opens, is portrayed as being in southern California, but is actually located in Virginia.
- The brief scene set at the fictitious "Wonderworld" in Pittsburgh is actually Kings Dominion.
- Confucian Confusion: Tracy Calder attributes a Biblical quote to Confucius, which her dad promptly lampshades. Justified in that she claims to have learned that from a fortune cookie.Tracy Calder: Confucius say, "With faith, man can move mountain."Harry Calder: I thought Jesus said that?Tracy Calder: Well, maybe he did. But according to that fortune cookie...Fran: Which is yours, by the way.Tracy Calder: ...Confucius said it, too.Harry Calder: Don't believe everything you read.
- Mad Bomber: The Young Man, who doesn't seem to care about the victims that he causes and is very good with bombs.
- No Name Given: The bomber's name is never revealed, simply being called "Young Man" in the credits.
- One-Word Title: It's just Rollercoaster.
- Shoe Phone: The Young Man manages to trick out a radio into a bomb, which he then gives Calder.