Synopsis from Scream Factory:
Was the wait to watch The Final Terror worth the internal hype I had created? I mean once your adult mind becomes aware of a title like The Final Terror again, that it isn't out on Blu-ray or DVD, you begin to create a legend around that title in your mind assigning value to it that it may not necessarily have earned. There are clearly moments in this film that warrant at least one viewing. The killing in the movie is clearly low budget but done with such fervor that the movie transcends its modest kitty. The issue I take with The Final Terror is the pacing. It sort of meanders between death sequences, casually strolling and never building up the fever pitch that makes a slash and hack woods adventure stand out. It has a strong opening with a rather unusual (and perhaps unbelievable) murder. Can you really kill someone with canned veggie and bean leads tied to a string, rigged up like a face high trip line? This is the horror-verse, and I suppose anything is possible. That's the kind of thing that makes The Final Terror enjoyable. There's an off the wall approach that plays at reality, but then pulls you into a very entertaining place. The tag line seems to suggest a supernatural picture. "Without Knowing They Have Awakened an Unknown Force... Can Anyone Survive?". I assure you that the force will become very known and maybe the reason The Final Terror didn't become a breakout (aside from some quality control issues) might be that it was marketed outside of its subject matter.
The film boasts a cast of famous actors and actresses including Daryl Hannah, Rachel Ward, Adrian Zmed, Mark Metcalf, Lewis Smith and Joe Pantoliano, but you may not feel as though you're really seeing the same faces with which you have become familiar. It's like staring at the high school yearbook photo of people you see everyday. They're sort of there, but these are not the accomplished professionals that have honed their craft or worked their way into your memory banks. That being said, it's nice to get a fresh take on young actors trying to make a name for themselves as so many big names have, in horror movies.
One key thing to note about this release it that it is a composite from six different prints. Scream Factory is very clear about this upfront, disclaiming the fact before the movie begins. I'm simply glad that they chose to bring out a movie that might otherwise be considered a lost piece of horror history. The Final Terror isn't Scream Factory's most beautiful transfer, but that's more than likely due to a lack of original camera negative and the condition of the source material. As with many of the Vinegar Syndrome horror releases as of late, you almost come to appreciate a movie more seeing it beat up and looking grimy. It supports the cult classic nature of a movie like this, and gives that grindhouse look at that so many aspiring directors aim for with digital aging and degradation. This should only add to the mystique of The Final Terror's release.
Extras include interviews with Adrian Zmed, Lewis Smith, Post Production Supervisor Allan Holzman and Composer Susan Justin. The autio commentary is provided by Andrew David, director of The Final Terror who would later go on to direct one of my childhood favorites (because of the cake scene) Under Siege, Holes and The Fugitive. Sorry fellas, no Daryl Hannah in this package. Maybe too busy filming Splash 2? For a release that couldn't find a solid complete version of the film, it's nice to see the outpouring of talent to back it up and provide a well rounded extra package that can help guide us through the release for those of us who didn't catch it in 1983 or the years shortly thereafter. Note: 1080p HD, DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu. The reverse of the classic VHS cover include stills from the movie.
The Final Terror is filled with moments of unintentional comedy, and it seems to show its budget time and time again, but the finale of this "final terror" (what's so damn final about it anyway?) is actually pretty friggin amazing. It's worth the wait. Where the pacing is my only real concern with the movie, the last act of the movie does pick up the tempo and provides enough horror for your woods-horror buck. Consider it Deliverance Lite and nobody has to squeal like a piggy. Scream Factory has staged the ultimate comeback for a terror so final that it almost didn't make it out of the VHS box. I'm glad I had the chance to see a movie that won't be in the "cover box only" category in my horror history.
Out July 1st.