Saturday, July 12, 2014

Is THE FINAL TERROR the final word on slasher flicks?

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Review by: Alan Spencer

Director: Andrew Davis

Cast: Adrian Zmed, Daryl Hannah, Joe Pantoliano, Rachel Ward, Mark Metcalf, Lewis Smith

Scream! Factory / Rated R / Region A / 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1) / DTS-HD Master Audio Mono / 82 minutes

Extras: Interviews with Actors Adrian Zmed and Lewis Smith, Post Production Supervisor Allan Holzman and Composer Susan Justin / Audio Commentary with Director Andrew Davis / Theatrical Trailer

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To slash, or not to slash? That is my question. How many good slashers have you seen that don't really feature a lot of gore and dismemberment? Halloween comes to mind first, then off the top of my head: April Fool's Day, Final Exam, Black Christmas, Hell High, and Night Screams. With little red going on, I still found these slashers to be worth my time even if they're not perfect. That's about how I feel when I experienced The Final Terror.

A group of young people are going into the woods for a bit of camping. They're mixing work with pleasure, because they work for the city clearing debris from streams. Everything's fun and games, except their co-worker named Eggar (Joe Pantoliano), keeps harassing everybody and telling them not to good in the woods, because they're dangerous. Of course, nobody listens to him. Three of our campers decide to go off into the night and steal some weed from a nearby marijuana patch. When one of the campers doesn't come back, and they find the mutilated remains of one of their friends, things get hairy real quick. Is it Eggar killing everybody, or is there somebody else out there?

The Final Terror is a tough pill to swallow. On one hand, the movie is fabulously shot and well-acted. The characters defy slasher convention. Once shit gets real, instead of splitting up, they band together to get the bastards responsible. On the other hand, way too many people are still left standing by the climax, and the antagonist really isn't that scary once shown during the big reveal. There isn't any nudity, really. I still enjoyed experiencing this movie, but it's going to fall into the average category because of a few shortcomings. That's not to say this piece of vintage '80s era slasher isn't worth your time, because for super fans, you know you have to see this.

Unfortunately, the folks at Scream! Factory didn't have access to the right items to accomplish a full-out 2K restoration, so they had to borrow from various collectors to get the best final product possible. It's still a big upgrade compared to previous releases. The Final Terror isn't sparkling, but it's pretty damn good for a forgotten slasher. The extras segment with actors Adrian Zmed and Lewis Smith provide the viewer with plenty of background on the movie. You hear how the movie was shelved, then brought back basically because Daryl Hannah was becoming a big star. You also hear how the opening scene of the movie was added later on to beef up the movie's anemic kill score.

Listening to the director's commentary, and the other commentaries, you get the sense the movie falls short, but there's also a lot of other good stuff going on to counterbalance some of your disappointment. The Final Terror isn't a surefire classic, but it sure is a respectable entry in the slasher cycle.

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