The Final Terror (1983)

Call it Carnivore. Or Campsite Massacre. How about one of its working titles, like The Creeper, The Forest Primeval, Three Blind Mice or Bump in the Night? Or the name that it was released as, The Final Terror. What you get is a backwoods slasher film packed with actors before they got famous, like Daryl Hannah, Adrian Zmed, Joe Pantoliano and Rachel Ward.

We start with Jim and Lori, who wreck their motorcycle in the woods. Jim’s hurt and Lori goes to get help, only to return and find Jim dead and hanging from a tree.

A group of campers make a campfire and tell a story about the rape of a young woman who goes insane and now lives in the forest. Why this would be a fun tale to share is beyond me. When they wake up, two of the crew, Marco (Zmed) and Eggar (Pantoliano) have disappeared.

Meanwhile, Mike (Mark Metcalf, Neidermeyer from Animal House) and Melanie go swimming and have sex, which means they will soon be killed. As always, don’t fuck in the woods. This prophecy comes true as Mike is killed and Melanie taken.

Nathaniel and Dennis (John Friedrich, TV’s The Thorn Birds) search a cabin, only to find a severed wolf’s head. And the killer appears to Margaret (Rachel Ward) while she sleeps. Even worse, Vanessa (Akosua Busia, The Color Purple) tries to take a poop and Mike’s severed head falls onto her.

It turns out that the killer has been in the basement of the cabin all along and he’s just waiting to do insane things to the group, like keeping a jar of human hands and tossing Melanie’s dead body into their raft while they’re going down the river trying to escape. Wendy (Hannah) gets attacked by the killer but narrowly survives.

Everyone begins fighting, with everyone thinking that Eggar is the killer. But the truth? It’s his mom who gets killed by a trap that Dennis has set.

The stories about shooting the film are a lot more interesting than the movie. One night, locals gave the crew marijuana brownies, which sent several to the hospital. Later, someone put a Redwood tree into the middle of the road to damage one of their cars. Get out of the woods, Hollywood weirdos!

Director Andrew Davis would go on to create Above the Law, Under Siege, The Fugitive, Chain Reaction and Holes. Any of these films are better than The Final Terror.

You can grab the blu-ray from Shout! Factory or watch this on Amazon Prime.

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