FINAL EXAM

FINAL EXAM

(director/writer: Jimmy Huston; cinematographer: Darryl Cathcart; editor: John O’Connor; music: Gary Scott; cast:Cecile Bagdadi (Courtney), Joel S. Rice (Radish), Ralph Brown (Wildman), John Jallon (Mark), Terry W. Farren (Gary, Pledge), Sherry Willis-Burch (Janet), R.C. Nanney (Mitch), Timothy L. Raynor (Killer), Deanna Robbins (Lisa), Sam Kilman (Sheriff), Don Hepner (Dr. Reynolds), Jerry Rusing (Coach), Shannon Norflee (Male student in car), Carol Capka (Female student in car); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Myron Meisel; Avco Embassy Pictures; 1981)

“It might be more fun taking a final exam than watching such crap.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A low-budget moronic slasher film set in the fictitious Lanier College in rural North Carolina (it wants to be another Halloween). Mediocre director-writer Jimmy Huston¬† (“Dark Sunday”/”Death Driver”) wisely left films soon after to become a writer of children’s books. In this garbage film, entertainment is built around the one after another 12 stabbings of one-dimensional characters on a college campus. An oafish maniac serial killer (Timothy L. Raynor) makes the rounds of college campuses to brutally stab to death as many as he can for no reason (though the frat boys vics are so obnoxious that their deaths were probably welcomed by many viewers). This is such a terrible film that it seems funny that despite its mostly negative reviews and how poorly it’s made it gained after its release a small cult following among the splatter pic crowd.

It opens with the non-talking killer stabbing to death a chatty college couple (Carol Capka & Shannon Norflee) necking in their car on the Marsh College campus, near a pond. The killer relocates to a nearly empty Lanier College during the last few days of finals and just before the summer break. The students left on the nearly deserted campus are all likely targets, and are only there to take a chemistry exam. Meanwhile, to kill time, the frat boys pull a prank of a terrorist attack on campus (you can imagine how badly that’s perceived today with so many mass shootings at soft target public sites regularly in the news!). Every character is a stereotype, like nerd, dumb jock, spoiled rich boy, bad girl and nice girl. The heroine is the practical, smart girl Courtney (Cecile Bagdadi). The sexy girl using men to get ahead is Lisa (Deanna Robbins), even giving head to her married chemistry professor (Don Hepner) so she can pass the course. The naive girl looking for love is Janet (Sherry Willis-Burch). As for the men, there’s the nerdy brain who is obsessed with studying psychopaths Radish (Joel S. Rice), the pledge who gets humiliated when hazed (Terry W. Farren), the frat boy jock bully Wildman (Ralph Brown) and the sneaky and mean-spirited frat boy head Mark (John Jallon).

The point of the film is to guess who survives and guess how the killer gets it in the end. The result is a soulless and joyless film. It might be more fun taking a final exam than watching such crap.

REVIEWED ON 7/29/2019       GRADE:  C-  
https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/

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