For years, I’ve recalled that I didn’t love The Final Terror when I saw it on cable back in the 80s, but I couldn’t remember why. I’ve finally watched it again and discovered there are plenty of great backwoods slasher elements to the film that could have made it a classic. For instance:
– The opening kill rox. It includes a dead body drop shock and an implied death by a tin can lid booby trap.
– A scene immediately after of a bunch of hot young shirtless forest rangers getting out of bed.
– Amazingly thick man hair.
– A Deliverance-esque journey into unexplored wilderness.
– A scary campfire story complete with a cheap scare.
– Not one but two black characters in a horror movie in the 80s.
– An eerie shack in the woods, complete with bloody animal parts.
– A sex scene slashing.
– A tense outhouse scene.
– A creepy touch of someone’s face during sleep.
– Tons of dead body drop shocks, including one right onto a raft.
The cast is also awesome, and includes:
– Daryl Hannah fresh off Summer Lovers and before Splash.
– Adrian Zmed fresh off Grease 2 and before Bachelor Party. This isn’t a still from The Final Terror, but who cares?
– Rachel Ward fresh off Night School (which I blog about here) and before Against All Odds.
– Joe Pantoliano right around the time of Risky Business.
– This cute guy, who has a hairstyle that’s more new millennium than 1980s.
– The guy from the Twisted Sister videos—in the sex scene slashing!
Really. The Final Terror has an excellent backwoods slasher feel for a majority of its run time. So what’s wrong with the film? There are too many characters and not enough of them die! Don’t expect either Daryl or Rachel to be the strong final girl because there isn’t one. It takes a whole team to take down one crazy mama killer—who gets less screen time than Mrs. Voorhees.
The killer climbs out of a big tree trunk, a big booby trap contraption is set off, it nails the killer, and the credits role. THAT’S IT? The killer walks herself right into a booby trap while dozens of would-be victims just stand and watch? What a waste of the hour and fifteen minutes that came before it.