Okay, so I was going to watch a movie called Dead Wood using On Demand(thanks to NetFlix not sending me my next slasher yet), but I was having trouble with my digital box. So instead, I'm watching a movie on YouTube called The Final Terror. I saw this movie waaaaay back in my mid-teens, and all I really remember about it is that there are a number of people in it who were VERY early in their film careers when they made it. So, sit back and enjoy, as I SPOIL the heck out of this one....as usual.
Okay, so the movie starts out in a forest. Big help. Bambi is drinking from a stream with his cousin, Bambette, when they hear something. "Something" turns out to be a motorcycle, driven by what may actually be the world's worst driver. He and his girlfriend crash, and his leg is injured. His name is Jimmy, hers hasn't been mentioned yet.
She helps Jimmy to hop over to a tree that he can rest against, then runs off into the forest to get help. Wait, do woodland creatures have medical training? As Jimmy continues to be useless, the music turns scary, then....nothing happens! Sheer genius. I hope Bambi eats him.
Jane Doe finds a house with a gigantic "6" on it. Hey, maybe it was painted by that British guy who used to paint enormous numbers on things on Sesame Street. You know, the guy who later became a neighbor of The Jeffersons? No? I'm the only person who remembers shit like that? Damn.
Wait, this movie is still on. Oops. Jane Doe knocks, then starts to jog away. Again...sheer genius. She runs back in the direction she started from, while we watch a deer drinking more water. Hey, wouldn't it be sort of awesome if the animals started cranking up chainsaws? Somebody write that movie, so I can watch it.
Jim has vanished. She calls his name about a dozen or so times, then walks around in the clearing. When she's standing still again, Jim's body falls out of a tree, hanging upside down. For a guy with a busted leg, Jim sure is acrobatic! Oh, nope...he's dead. Being upside down was Jim's kryptonite, I guess. I'm thinking it was a suicide.
Jane Doe starts screaming her head off, because that's a surefire way to keep hillbillies in the woods from finding you. As she starts running again, she triggers a tripwire on the ground, and gets 2 branches to the face. Roll opening credits.
As mentioned before, this movie has a handful of people in it who went on to bigger and better things. For example, there's Rachel Ward, who gained recognition in The Thorn Birds; Daryl Hannah, star of such diverse films as Splash and Kill Bill; Joe Pantoliano, who was in both of the Fugitive movies, as well as numerous roles in other crime dramas...
And Adrian Zmed, star of....uh....well, he's in this!
Oh, and another thing I noticed: the movie has a different title. On YouTube, it's called Carnivore. Weird. Maybe the movie killed someone, and needed an alias. Wait, did I get distracted again?
Okay, so the credits finally wrap up, and we see Adrian Zmed's character, Marco, planning how he's going to spend all of his immense wealth after TJ Hooker becomes a smash hit. Wait, no, he's reading a magazine. Probably "Highlights for Children".
A weird redneck pops up behind him, and puts Marco in a headlock. He's some kind of authority figure or co-worker, and no one likes him. One guy goes so far as to pull a switchblade on the a-hole, and even Marco threatens him with a baseball bat.
Then we get a random scene in a dining hall. There's a group of forest rangers discussing a weekend party, then the scene switches back to the guy no one likes, now known as Eggar. He's listening to a radio news report about the couple we saw earlier, who are listed as "missing". If this guy could figure out how to rewind the film, he'd be a hero!
Eggar tries to warn one of the rangers not to take the newer recruits up to their intended destination, a place called Mill Creek. It's also where that couple died. He gets angry when the ranger refuses to listen to his warnings, but it leads to nothing.
A bus picks up the rangers, then they also get the girls. We then have to suffer through an awful, tone-deaf version of "3 Blind Mice". As they settle down to discuss the route of their camping hike, Eggar keeps taking his eyes off of the road to turn and stare at the group. Uh, maybe someone else should drive?
Sure enough, Eggar gets riled up. He tells them that he knows of several people who have been hurt in the region, then nearly crashes the bus into another motorist. The bus drives past a mental health facility, and some of the rangers imply that Eggar used to live there. Hmmm...
They park and unload the bus, and Eggar freaks out when several canned goods fall out of the back of the bus. So now Eggar's stealing food as well? Why? And if he's the main antagonist of this film, are they revealing it way too early? Probably.
At a stream, the group stops to collect firewood and fresh water. Marco asks Eggar if he knows of any marijuana fields growing in the woods, and Eggar finally snaps. He tells the group that he once brought another one of his antagonists up to the woods, tied the person down, and left him there. Then he lashes out at 2 of the rangers, before cackling like a loon and running away to parts unknown. That Eggar's a wacky guy!
Later that night, around a campfire, a guy named either Reg or Rich tells a scary story. In his tale, a logging business was in the area. A young teen girl, 14, was abused by her uncle, who ran the logging business after her father(the original owner) passed away. Anyway, the uncle supposedly got shitfaced one night, and raped his niece, which drove her insane. She was put into that mental institution that was seen earlier, where she had a baby.
She was deemed unfit to care for a child, so the baby was taken away. Then, nearly 2 decades later, her son showed up to take her home. They went home together, but she proved to be too crazy for him to properly take care of her, so he eventually let her loose in the forest, to roam as she pleased. Of course, the story ends with a jump-scare, then Eggar shows up again.
He lectures the group against discussing things they know nothing about, then stomps away again. Then the group beds down for the night, and Eggar is seen driving the bus somewhere. Marco has gone off with 2 other guys, Nate and Boone, to look for marijuana, and they need him to be their lookout. They offer him a 20% profit on anything they find, then up it to a full third of the profits. Marco agrees, then they tell him to howl like a wolf until they return. They don't plan to come back, of course, and he's dumb enough to fall for their lies.
The next day, a girl named Melanie wakes up the rest of the group in the main campsite. They notice that Marco is missing, and it's revealed that the other 2 guys were pranking him. They form search parties to look for him, with the leader of the camp, Mike, forcing Boone and Nate to lead him to the spot where they abandoned Marco.
They don't find him there, but they do uncover something that looks like a bloody animal carcass. Mike tells the other 2 to report back to camp, then he lingers behind to search for Marco some more. As he wanders deeper into the woods, it looks as if something might be following him. Or maybe the camera crew were just complete tools.
Next up, we get a montage of random characters yelling yelling out Marco's name in various parts of the forest. Pretty thrilling stuff, I know. It would be awesome if some random character shouted "Polo!" at some point during the scene. Mike spots a stream, and decides that it would be the perfect time to remove his clothes and take a dip. There's a dip all right, but it seems to be in charge.
A group of searchers take a break, and Rachel Ward's character, Margaret, tells one of the pranksters that he's pretty much a dipshit for losing Marco. After he yells at her to mind her own business, then tries to start a brawl with Nate, one of the women notes, "I think that guy's psychotic." Gee, ya think so? I forgot, did this one win the Oscar for Best Screenplay?
Back to Skinnydipping Guy. He's leaning under a tree trunk, just sitting there like the useless lump that he is, when a menacing bare foot appears over his head. It belongs to a cute female whose name I didn't catch(surprise, surprise....), and they start making out, upside-down-Spider-Man style. Except that she's Spider-Man in this context. Okay, so my analogies suck. Sue me.
Wake me when the killing starts, okay?
Hey-hey, the couple decide to have sex! As they both "arrive", a figure standing behind them is seen, and he's holding a hooked blade up over his head. He repeatedly plants the blade into Mike's back, then he drags the girl out from under the corpse. Finally, something actually happened!
Nate and Boone find a cabin and a raft, as well as a makeshift grave. They poke around the property, with Nate looking outside and Boone investigating inside the cabin. Nate hears something, and goes inside to look for Boone, only to be attacked by a hillbilly in drag! Oh wait, it's just Boone, horsing around. As they both resume checking out the cabin, they find several cans just like the ones Eggar was trying to hide earlier.
As they continue to search, they find Eggar's cap, along with numerous items that had been stolen from the ranger school. They congratulate each other for cracking the case, then discover that he keeps an animal's severed head in one of his supply cabinets. That find helps them to decide to leave the premises.
Outside, they both break into a sprint to find the others. They must run pretty slowly, because the next scene takes place at night. The remaining members of the group note that Mike and Melanie, haven't returned yet. I'm going to assume that they were the ones killed during sex at the stream.
They decide to pair up, and take turns guarding the camp. Almost immediately after they fall asleep, a mysterious figure dressed in animal skins approaches the camp. He hovers over Marge and strokes her face, which causes her to wake up. She screams, and everyone else comes running to the rescue. It's revealed that no one saw the stranger, including the idiot who was supposed to be guarding the group.
Unable to sleep, they all sit by the fire. A noise at the edge of their site causes everyone to freak out yet again, and they all see a figure approaching the camp. A flashlight beam reveals Marco, alive and well, still howling. He reveals that he's been busy looking for the mythical marijuana plants, and has brought several back with him. He also claims that he's been exploring the forest, unaware of the search for him that the others undertook.
The black chick, who is named Vanessa(I think), gets pissed off that they all worried about Marco for nothing. She stomps off toward the outhouse, shrugging off the suggestion of bringing someone with her. Odds seem pretty good that Vanessa's days are numbered.
At the outhouse, she covers the toilet seat with paper(like Finch in American Pie), then finds what's left of Mike keeping her company. She goes hysterical, and the others arrive to see the body for themselves. Then they decide to start playing Eggar's game against him, by camouflaging themselves and trying to use stealth to hunt him instead. Yeah, I'm sure that'll work out just great.
They creep over to the cabin that was discovered earlier, and loudly demand that Eggar faces them. When there's no response, they break in, and find a frightened bird in a closet. They also find body parts in jars, as well as torn-up clothes that are covered in blood. Oh, and Daryl Hannah's character finally gets a name: Windy. Not Wendy. I actually looked it up, to verify what I was hearing. Windy. Yeesh.
Melanie, who has been kept alive, can hear them, but her captor has her in the basement, with his hand over her mouth. As the group leaves and prepares a raft to make their escape, Melanie is shown being terrorized and tortured by her assailant. Sucks to be her, huh?
As the raft makes fairly good progress, the killer drops Melanie's mangled body onto them from the trees. They continue down the stream, until it gets too shallow for them to paddle anymore, and resume hiking. Oh, and they bury Melanie. Screw the eventual investigation, let's sabotage a crime scene!
They finally discover the bus again, but agree to wait until night falls to approach it, in case there's a trap. When they finally check the bus out, they find that the engine is sabotaged, so they decide to sleep on the bus, after eating some food that they found in a cooler. They even make smores. So much for caution...
During the night, the bus is attacked. As they all scurry to escape, it looks as if Vanessa is the next one to bite it. They rush back into the woods, and Windy somehow gets separated from the rest. She calls out their names, but no one answers her. The group even looks for her, and only locate Windy when she begins to scream.
She's injured, so Marco and Nate run back to the bus for a first aid kit. Windy gets stitched up, and it starts to rain. As the group continues their journey, Boone becomes unstable. He's stoned out of his gourd, and decides to leave the group to stalk Eggar by himself. He even makes spears and traps. Then he climbs a thick tree, to look for his prey.
Marco tries to draw Eggar out, by promising to hurt him badly when they find him. Eggar springs up behind Marco, and chokes him with a rope. As Marco gasps and tries to poke out Eggar's eyes, the rest of the group leap up from camouflaged hiding places, and begin to retaliate against him.
Boone climbs down from his tree, and finds the group attacking Eggar like savages. They beat him, kick him, bash his face into the ground....it's not pretty. Then Boone gets stabbed from behind by someone else! He screams, and the hikers stop hurting Eggar to face the new threat.
It's Eggar's mother, presumably the rape victim from the campfire story. She runs forward with the curved blade that was used earlier raised over her head, howling like a cavewoman, and sets off one of the traps, a log suspended by ropes, covered in sharp spears. Her body is impaled and pushed through the air, as the survivors watch in stunned silence. As we see some random shots of the forest, the credits start rolling. THE END
Wow, talk about an abrupt conclusion. There were some pretty good kills though, and more suspense than these things usually have, so that was kind of a treat. But it's funny how much films like Wrong Turn and Cabin Fever(among many others) seemed to be "inspired" by many of the plot elements and set pieces in this one. Maybe it's just coincidence, but they sure do have a lot in common with The Final Terror. I'm giving this one 3.75 killer trees out of 5, mostly for the nostalgia of seeing it again after so many years.
And what did I l learn from The Final Terror?
-There was a period of time when the name "Adrian Zmed" was given top billing in a movie. Who knew?
-When you find out that someone you care about has been murdered, you should always tamper with the evidence and bury the body in the middle of nowhere. Screw the next of kin and investigators!
-When you decide to go out in a strange forest in the middle of the night to take a dump, bring along a friend. Otherwise, you get what you deserve!
Up next, hopefully, is Pieces. It looks pretty insane, so this should be a fun week. See you soon, if my luck with movies doesn't fizzle!