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June 13, 2014

Movie Review: Final Exam (Blu-ray, 1981)

The old school slasher film continues to make its home in the ever expanding library of Scream Factory and Shout! Factory. Recently Scream Factory joined together in conjunction with the cult DVD company Code Red DVD for the Blu-ray release of one of the earliest Halloween knock-offs in Jimmy Huston’s Final Exam (1981).

This chaos-on-campus opus surrounds the trials and tribulations of some nerds, jocks, preppies and assorted fraternity characters around the end of the school year when many will do anything it takes to get past that big exam. Be it “pranks” like a Colombine-sque staging of the mass murder of students by machine gun courtesy of masked indviduals riding in a van - These kids will do what it takes to get around this test. To compromise the situation even more a psycho is going around campus and stabbing students with a very large butcher knife. The more obnoxious and naked they are, the bigger the chance they’ll meet their end in nasty fashion.


With a killer who looks much like a doughy, lumbering version of Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men – complete with the awful hair doo – and its goofy cliché characters, Final Exam is destined to bring out more laughs than shrieks. The gore is minimal and of the cheap variety but the body-count high-enough to keep slasher fans attention. There are a few memorable deaths too, with one showing a jock named “Wildman” getting offed by a weight machine as the scoreboard in the gym does the "3-2-1" count. It’s stupid but I couldn’t help but laugh.

Being Final Exam is in the hands of Scream Factory you can expect a very nice restoration from the original camera negative that not only still bares the essential grain but has nice colors throughout (even in the night scenes). The material provided by Code Red appears to be in very good shape and it shows here in this high-definition presentation.

The extras features include three interviews – Joel S. Rice, Cecile Baghdadi and Sherry Willis-Burch. You also get an audio commentary with those three actors as well as CKY band member Deron Miller. The commentary is fun and lively as we get to hear some anecdotes on how Rice got the part as the nerd “Radish” and how initially he had a three picture deal. Final Exam did ok at the box-office but not enough to bring Radish back twice. An original theatrical trailer is included as well.

Final Exam does nothing really original at all, but if you’re into college slashers like The Dorm that Dripped Blood or anything from that amazing era in horror history known as the 1980’s you’ll hard-pressed not to stalk yourself a copy of Scream Factory’s latest Blu-ray effort.

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