Archive for Final Exam. Scorpion Releasing

FINAL EXAM (Scream Blu-ray) – It’s a Very Simple Formula

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 07/12/2014 by Dr. Jimmy Terror

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When it comes to horror, the class of 1981 holds a pretty prestigious place in the hearts and minds of the scary movie fan. Let me throw some names at you. Funhouse. The Prowler. The Howling. Friday the 13th Pt. 2. An American Werewolf in London. My Bloody Valentine. The Burning. Evil Dead. Halloween II. The Beyond. That’s a class that a run of the mill horror picture can get lost in. It’s a class in which a slasher movie can easily be forgotten or at least pushed aside in favor of some of the more memorable entries in that then en vogue subgenre. How do you stand apart when everyone has a knife, coeds and a masked killer? Go the other way altogether. The pitch of Final Exam released one of the greatest years in horror history is that it bucked some of the trends to find its own voice. Final Exam attempted to be different in a year of formula. Coca Cola vs. Pepsi right? Probably more like Pepsi vs. Crystal Pepsi. It went underground, hit VHS and then didn’t see DVD until the mid-2000’s when Scorpion Releasing took it off the most wanted list becoming a cult classic though still not nearly as recognized as some of the other titles from ’81. It was on the most wanted list because it had slowly been recognized for its innovation, for its humor and what one might call merit with the slasher subgenre. Scream Factory has taken it one step further and placed this moderately original slasher flick on to a handsome looking Blu-ray. For many this will be where their love affair with Final Exam begins.


At Lanier College, the semester is almost over. Exam week is coming to a close when some upper classmen play a prank by staging a phony terrorist attack. But the next moment of excitement at the school won’t be a prank. And it’s something a lot more final than an exam. Students are falling prey to a knife-wielding maniac stalking the school, bent on making sure that for some, school is out…forever!

Final Exam takes its time to get going. While there’s a strong opening scene involving a very familiar face in a car with a young buck getting ready to make some bad decisions in the back seat, the rest of the movie is a mix of humor, moderately developed characters and scene setting. Don’t get me wrong, Final Exam isn’t a horror comedy per say though I think fans of Student Bodies would get a kick out of some of it’s obvious meta moments where the characters seem to be in on the gag. Developing characters in any way shape or form simply isn’t done in slasher films. Gore effects. Knife kills. Shower scenes. These things are developed in slasher films.

Final Exam features very little blood even though there’s a big ol’ butcher knife puncturing an array of victims. There’s as much blood in a fraternity prank as there is in the rest of the movie. In that same regard, Final Exam doesn’t hit a nude scene until an hour and fifteen minutes or so into the picture (but who’s counting). The hero isn’t clearly defined or at least I redefined who I thought it was not even certain at the end if I had picked the correct person. Also, the killer’s motive… let’s see if you can figure out (red herring alert). You see this guy plain as day, unmasked through nearly all the kill sequences. No makeup. Remember that list of movies we started off with. The class of 1981. Which movie among them featured un-monster based, unmasked killers?

When you watch this movie you see how the trends could have gone if Siskel and Ebert had their way. Admittedly they wouldn’t have enjoyed this picture very much either, but not because of the gratuitous violence and sex that seemed to torment them like time traveling Puritans in search of a witch to burn. There simply isn’t any gratuity (one nude scene does not gratuity make). Please don’t let that deter you because this is a very fun movie. Final Exam fills a gap laid by the entire horror movement during the early 198o’s and is well worth your time.

Keep your eyes peeled for a few horror posters on one of the main character’s walls. Tool Box Murders. Corpse Grinders. Diretor Jimmy Huston must’ve been a fan of the drive-in during the 70’s.

Onto the disc itself. The biggest surprise for Final Exam? No reversible cover art. Just a black page on the inside. On the front is the traditional poster. Extras include a trailer, interviews with assorted cast members who detail how they got involved with the project and in doing so seem to reveal that this picture wasn’t like the rest. There’s also a commentary track provide by cast members Joel Rice, Cecile Bagdadi and Sherry Willis-Burch. This differs from the Scorpion Releasing version. Note: 1080p Hi-Def 1.78:1 AR.Mono audio. It’s a good looking picture to be sure that really takes to Blu-ray nicely. This is very much in line with the quality of previous Scream Factory releases.

If you collect slasher pictures from the 80’s, your collection cannot be complete without Scream Factory’s release of Final Exam. Its look and feel are truly unique, is sure to go over well at parties and seems to become somewhat critical of its own genre, self reflective and openly asking for a more original horror pictures while still sticking to model slasher picture format.

Scream Factory’s Summer of Fear is almost here!

Order your copy today. Available. May 13th.


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