Like I mentioned in my review of Evilspeak a few days ago, working at a video store in the boom of the VHS market forced me to find the film a customer requested quickly solely by knowing the colors and basic design of the box art. In those early days the store I worked at hadn’t adopted the alphabetizing of the film titles so when scanning 75 horror VHS boxes it helped when the artwork stood out, it of course also helped that film get rented more.
The slasher genre of horror had it’s heyday in the early 80s with films like My Bloody Valentine, Friday the 13th, The Slumber Party Massacre, The Burning, Sleepaway Camp, Prom Night, Terror Train, and of course Final Exam to name a few. Our friends at Scream Factory were nice enough to let me review their Blu-Ray release which is available today on store shelves everywhere.
While Final Exam is indeed a slasher film, director Jimmy Huston does something quite a bit different from the films of that time. The killer (Timothy L. Raynor) is a mute brutish force of death…which has been done before…but he has no ties to the school or the students he is hunting down, he is literally just a crazy guy that has driven up to the campus and honestly I think that makes him scarier. The killer has picked a good time to begin his rampage at Lanier College, the semester is coming to an end and only a few students remain on campus to attend to their final exams.
While the trailer makes a point of saying the killer has come back…that was just a marketing ploy, maybe they were trying to make people think it had something to do with Halloween? The film focuses on the few remaining students on campus, the book smart Courtney (Cecile Bagdadi), the serial murderer obsessed ‘Radish’ (Joel S. Rice), Lisa (DeAnna Robbins) who is sleeping her way to good grades, their friend and sometimes target of their ridicule Janet (Sherry Willis-Burch) and the jocks Mark (John Fallon) and ‘Wildman’ (Ralph Brown) who seem to get away with the most insane pranks on campus…you might even say they get away with murder…or at least the killer is.
As usual Scream Factory has included extras on their newest release:
New High Definition transfer From The Original Camera Negative
Audio Commentary With Cast Members Joel Rice, Cecile Bagdadi And Sherry Willis-Burch
Interviews With Cast Members Joel Rice, Cecile Bagdadi And Sherry Willis-Burch