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Blu-ray Review: “THE FINAL TERROR”

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RELEASE DATE: 7/1/14 on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack
WRITTEN BY: Jon George, Neill D. Hicks, and Ronald Shusett
DIRECTED BY: Andrew Davis
STARRING: Adrian Zmed, Ernest Harden Jr., Lewis Smith, Rachel Ward, Daryl Hannah, Akosua Busia, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Metcalf

Review by Daniel XIII.

Does THE FINAL TERROR Have the Goods Out in the Woods?


Hey creeps, I just sat down with Scream Factory’s Blu-ray of THE FINAL TERROR, and I feel like it’s my civic duty to get something out in the open right from the start. Much like the lies propagated by THE NEVERENDING STORY (which did indeed end after a paltry 90 minutes!) before it, THE FINAL TERROR is not what the title proclaims. I mean, there have been like hundreds of horror films made after this movie came out (in 1983)—some even have “terror” in the title!

Well, I guess the best thing to do is let it go… just move on. Wait, what the hell am I doing again? Oh, right…

THE FINAL TERROR is the story of a group of Conservation Corps bros whose ranks include Perfect Tommy, The T-Bird’s Johnny Nogerelli, the Dad from those old Twisted Sister videos (who unbelievably has a sex scene in this thing), Cypher, and Ernest Harden Jr. Our group of hearty and hale outdoor-types lead a group of comely young lasses (including Daryl Hannah as the unfortunately named Windy, which I sincerely hope is just a cute nickname and not based on an intestinal disorder) into the woods, where the typical weed smokin’, marshmallow toastin’, campfire story tellin’, forest sexin’ (that’s sex in the forest, not a bout of dendrophilia) camp-foolery commences.

But all is not s’mores and whores as members of the rag-tag group of goofs soon go missing, including the severely tense Eggar, played with teeth-gnashing over-the-topitude by Joe Pantoliano. Also before you know it, people start getting themselves killed, because this is a horror film and not an episode of HIGH FEATHER.

For the next 82 minutes we get all sorts of terror tropes, including but not limited to: false scares, a creepy cabin, crazy booby traps, and a smelly creature with a hair fetish (OK, that one is kinda unique).

While this fright flick may seem derivative, it really does act as the best kind of horror movie comfort food. As those ol’ familiar notes played (with a few “tempo changes” as it tried to do its own thing), I couldn’t help but fall into the warm waters of nostalgia, as my mind drifted back to summers spent renting every inappropriate flick I could get my grubby lil’ claws on from the local Mom and Pop video store who simply didn’t give a singular F how old I was or what I was renting (“How old did you say you were again kid? Ten? Eh, old enough… enjoy CALIGULA!”). For that nostalgia alone, I’d give this one a revoltin’ recommendation!

Now, this being a Scream Factory release, you can bet yer bivouac that there are a few extra features we have to talk about. Besides a commentary track with Director Andrew Davis (who does deliver plenty of anecdotes even though he falls silent for long stretches of the film), you also get interviews with Post Production Supervisor Allan Holzman, Composer Susan Justin (who lets loose with an ear-piercing howling noise during the interview guaranteed to annoy your neighbors as well as all dogs within a 45 block radius), and actors Adrian Zmed and Lewis Smith. They also chucked on those hoary ol’ chestnuts, the theatrical trailer and still gallery.

I should mention before we call this marshmallow toasted that the picture quality on the release ain’t the prettiest thing you’ve ever laid your beautiful baby blues (or browns) upon, and a message before the film begins explains why: this release was Frankenstein-ed together from multiple sources (due to every element of the original film being lost), and reassembled for our viewing (dis)pleasure!

I give THE FINAL TERROR 3 Susan Justin feral howls out of 5!

If you want to camp out in front of your TV with THE FINAL TERROR, you can pre-order a copy here or here.


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