The Final Terror Blu-Ray Review
Blu-Ray Review- The Final Terror
Distributor: Scream Factory
Street Date: July 1st 2014
Technical Specifications: 1080P, Color, 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio, 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
Runtime: 82 Minutes
I like to imagine Director Andrew Davis pitching The Final Terror to studio executives like Johnny Depp did in Ed Wood…
Mr. Davis: “Alright, here we go…Bump…in the Night! The Campsite…Massacre! The Creeper! The Forest…Primeval!”
Studio Exec: “How about The Final Terror?”
Mr. Davis: It’s perfect!
All joking aside, the above titles were, at one point or another, all working titles for what would eventually become The Final Terror. As Horror fans, we’re fortunate this film even saw the light of day. Luckily enough, some of the stars from the film began to make it big in Hollywood, and it was finally released in 1983 after sitting on the shelf for two years.
In the Final Terror, the young men of the Redwood County Youth Corps join some lovely local ladies (including a young Daryl Hannah) for a weekend camping adventure in the Redwood forest. On a side note, Daryl Hannah apparently felt the need to bring her Bavarian Yodeling uniform. Not that I’m not complaining, she looks incredible! The campers clear out a lakeside ravine and tell scary stories by the campfire, when the easily agitated Eggar (an unrecognizable Joe Pantoliano) leaves the group. During the first night, a camper goes missing, and the two lead counselors are brutally murdered by an unseen killer disguised in camouflage.
As the bodies pile up, the remaining campers suspect the unstable Eggar, whom they believe is hiding in a shack in the woods. After finding a working raft, the campers make their way down the river to escape the woodland killer and notify the authorities. This turns out to be harder than they imagined, as the killer stalks their every move, forcing the campers to set a trap for a final showdown.
The Final Terror is a curious Horror film, reminding one much more of First Blood than Sleepaway Camp. The kills compared to other films of the genre are relatively weak and uninspired, and the story truly moves along at a snails pace. It’s not a total loss by any means, as it provides some fun camp value, and features earnest performances from the cast. I’m glad to have seen it, but at the end of the day, I’m not sure it’s one that I would revisit again.
You have to give it to Scream Factory, who truly went above and beyond for this release. Before the film itself even plays, a title card gives notice that all of the original film elements for The Final Terror were lost, and that Scream Factory utilized six different prints from private film collectors to complete the transfer for this Blu-Ray release. So before I even get into my thoughts on the transfer herein, hats off to this company for putting in the extra effort!
Given the title card and advance warning from Scream Factory, I was surprised to find that The Final Terror looks better than I had imagined it would. If there’s a main fault, it’s the consistency in each reel, as colors and skin tones can fluctuate in a single moment. There is the expected damage to the print, with scratches and artifacts popping up fairly regularly, but that’s to be expected. Believe it or not, there are actually some fine aspects to this release, such as the inky black levels, and fine object detail in facial features, the forest environment, and clothing. While it won’t knock the socks off of most High Definition enthusiasts, it’s impressive that Scream Factory was able to piece this film together after all original film elements were lost.
This 2.0 DTS HD Master Audio track works well enough for this genre title, but definitely sounds “tinny” and hollow. The catchy musical score for the film features some deep bass and guitar that resonates well, but dialogue and sound effects are often unbalanced and can get lost in the mix. Similar to any minor gripes with the video, this is likely the best this movie is ever going to sound on home video, so we have to give credit where credit is due.
Scream Factory has given fans of The Final Terror some outstanding bonus features for this Blu-Ray release! Here’s a breakdown of what’s included:
- Post Terror: Finishing The Final Terror- Running nearly twenty-three minutes in length, this documentary piece from Shout! Factory and Aine Lecht is endlessly engaging, even if I didn’t appreciate the film itself as much as others seem to. We get the opportunity to hear from Post Production supervisor Allan Holzman as he discusses the complex editing of the film, and Composter Susan Justin talking about the score she created for this low budget thriller. I especially enjoyed hearing Holzman discuss Joe Pantoliano’s great performance in the film.
- The First Terror with Adrian Zmed and Lewis Smith- Running over sixteen minutes, this fun featurette has Adrian Zmed (Marco) and Lewis Smith (Boone) discussing their roles in the film, how they got their roles, stories from the shoot, and much more. With such a low budget film, the actors talk about how they had to perform many of their own stunts, which was especially fun to listen to. Adrian even mentions the bizarre opening prologue deaths that are unrelated to the rest of the film. Great stuff!
- Theatrical Trailer- Running over two minutes, this original theatrical trailer for the film is cleverly edited together, and the corny voice-over makes it that much better!
- Behind the Scenes Still Gallery- This bonus segment includes roughly nine minutes of behind the scenes photos and production stills, many of which have never been seen before this Blu-Ray.
- Commentary with Director Andrew Davis- Probably my favorite special feature on this release is the wonderful commentary from Director Andrew Davis. He provides a lot of insight into this low budget production, and some funny stories from the shoot.
As you can see from the “Unboxing” pictures below, this Blu-Ray release from Scream Factory features the original theatrical poster design for the cover art. I love the design, which almost makes it look like a Science Fiction film. On the reverse of the packaging you’ll find a plot synopsis, list of special features, technical specifications, and production stills. Inside the case itself are the Blu-Ray and DVD discs, which both feature art that mimics the cover design. Behind the discs, Scream Factory has included some nice production photos on the reverse of the slip-sheet.
More First Blood than Sleepaway Camp, The Final Terror features some earnest performances and camp value for fans of the genre, but features weak kills and a story that moves at a snails pace. Though I’m glad to have finally seen it, I’m not sure it’s a film I would revisit again. With that being said, hats off to Scream Factory for bringing The Final Terror to Blu-Ray, and painstakingly re-assembling the film after the original elements were lost. The picture and audio quality won’t impress many, but most of you will be glad to have the film available in your collections at long last. Even though I wasn’t crazy about the film itself, this Blu-Ray edition includes some fun and worthwhile special features, and it’s very evident that Scream Factory put in the extra effort for fans. Recommended.