The Final Terror (1983)

R | 82 mins | Horror | 28 October 1983

Director:

Andrew Davis

Producer:

Joe Roth

Cinematographer:

Andreas Davidescu

Production Designer:

Aleka Corwin

Production Company:

Watershed Company
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HISTORY

       The 3 Oct 1980 HR announced that “cover model” Cindy Harrell was to star in the upcoming picture, referred to by its working title, Bump in the Night. A news item in the 9 Apr 1981 DV stated that Gary Scott would compose the score for the film, retitled Three Blind Mice, although he is not credited onscreen.
       Presenter Samuel Z. Arkoff revealed in the 5 May 1981 HR that he personally financed the production, which he described as a “medium-budget” picture. A “production reel” was screened at the May 1981 Cannes Film Festival. The 21 Jul 1982 Var announced that post-production was complete, and the title was changed to The Forest PrimEvil, the first release from Arkoff International Pictures. Walter Manley of Manley Productions, Inc., was in charge of overseas sales, but no domestic distributor had yet been determined. Actors Daryl Hannah, Rachel Ward, and Adrian Zmed had all appeared in more prestigious productions since the completion of photography, and their involvement in the film was expected to improve its commercial prospects. The 8 Sep 1982 Var reported that Arkoff “finalized a release pact” with ITC in the United Kingdom to release the picture under its new title, Campsite Massacre.
       According to the 7 Oct 1983 DV, Arkoff negotiated a “nonexclusive distribution arrangement” with Comworld Pictures for several Arkoff International Pictures titles. The film, with its official title, The Final Terror, was scheduled to open 28 Oct 1983 in the western U.S. and would continue “in ... More Less

       The 3 Oct 1980 HR announced that “cover model” Cindy Harrell was to star in the upcoming picture, referred to by its working title, Bump in the Night. A news item in the 9 Apr 1981 DV stated that Gary Scott would compose the score for the film, retitled Three Blind Mice, although he is not credited onscreen.
       Presenter Samuel Z. Arkoff revealed in the 5 May 1981 HR that he personally financed the production, which he described as a “medium-budget” picture. A “production reel” was screened at the May 1981 Cannes Film Festival. The 21 Jul 1982 Var announced that post-production was complete, and the title was changed to The Forest PrimEvil, the first release from Arkoff International Pictures. Walter Manley of Manley Productions, Inc., was in charge of overseas sales, but no domestic distributor had yet been determined. Actors Daryl Hannah, Rachel Ward, and Adrian Zmed had all appeared in more prestigious productions since the completion of photography, and their involvement in the film was expected to improve its commercial prospects. The 8 Sep 1982 Var reported that Arkoff “finalized a release pact” with ITC in the United Kingdom to release the picture under its new title, Campsite Massacre.
       According to the 7 Oct 1983 DV, Arkoff negotiated a “nonexclusive distribution arrangement” with Comworld Pictures for several Arkoff International Pictures titles. The film, with its official title, The Final Terror, was scheduled to open 28 Oct 1983 in the western U.S. and would continue “in stages” across the country through 18 Nov 1983. Arkoff explained that while production was underway, several of its stars were scheduled to appear in more prestigious projects, and the delayed release was part of a strategy to “maximize boxoffice potential.” Comworld president Charles Sellier held screenings in fifteen test markets throughout the U.S. over a four-month period to determine its target audience, which was identified as ages sixteen to twenty-nine. Sellier admitted that his company’s research was not foolproof, but it had proved itself over time to decrease chances for failure. He also described The Final Terror as a unique picture compared to others of its genre, and added that the horror genre reinforces “audience self esteem and assurance” by exposing viewers to an ordeal that they are able to survive.
       A full-page advertisement in the 6 Mar 1984 HR, prominently displaying the names and images of actresses Rachel Ward and Daryl Hannah, announced trade screenings of the film in New York City for 10 Mar 1984 and 14 Mar 1984, sponsored by Manley Productions. On 18 Apr 1984, however, Var reported that Aquarius Releasing, Inc., the picture’s new distributor, had plans for a New York City opening. According to an Aquarius spokesperson, Comworld “did not deliver as planned” on its pledge to distribute more than 800 prints of the film.
       The Final Terror received mixed reviews, several of which noted its assorted title changes. The 23 May 1984 Var review included the title Carnivore, in addition to those already mentioned. The review in the Jan 1984 Box stated the picture earned $90,000 after opening in seventeen Los Angeles, CA, theaters.
       A legal notice in the 11 Sep 1985 Var announced that Aquarius Releasing intended to destroy fifty-nine prints of The Final Terror unless the “owners/producers/trustees” contacted the company before 30 Sep 1985.
      End credits include the statement: “The producers wish to thank the following for their invaluable help and support: David Gilbert; State of California; Californian Highway Patrol; Miller Rellim Lumber Company; Patrick Couch; Bob Perkins; Del Norte Fire Center; People of Crescent City, California; and Sherwood Oaks Experimental College.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Jan 1982.
---
Daily Variety
9 Apr 1981.
---
Daily Variety
7 Oct 1983
p. 1, 25.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Oct 1983.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 1983
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
31 Oct 1983
p. 6.
Monthly Film Bulletin
Jul 1983.
---
Variety
21 July 1982.
---
Variety
18 Aug 1982.
---
Variety
8 Sep 1982.
---
Variety
16 Nov 1983.
---
Variety
18 Apr 1984.
---
Variety
23 May 1984
p. 28
Variety
11 Sep 1985.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Samuel Z. Arkoff presents
a Joe Roth Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Story
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Lighting consultant
Cam asst
2d cam asst
Best elec
Generator op
Key grip
Best grip
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus eng
at Audio Affects
SOUND
Sd rerec
Sd rerec
Sd rerec
Sd rerec
Sd rerec
Sd eff
Addl sd eff
Mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Opt eff and titles by
MAKEUP
Spec eff makeup
Makeup asst
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of post prod
Casting
Casting
Cast coord
Asst to the prod
Tree climber and rigger
Prod coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Post prod coord
Driver
Catering
STAND INS
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Timer
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Carnivore
Campsite Massacre
Three Blind Mice
Bump in the Night
The Forest PrimEvil
Release Date:
28 October 1983
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 28 October 1983
New York City opening: May 1984
Production Date:
early 1981
Copyright Claimant:
Samuel Z. Arkoff
Copyright Date:
26 March 1984
Copyright Number:
PA210515
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
82
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27143
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Jim and Lori, a young couple, crash their motorcycle in the Mill Creek region of the California redwood forest, leaving Jim with an injured leg. Lori searches in vain for help, and when she returns to the scene, Jim is hanging upside down from a tree with his throat cut. She flees in terror, tripping a wire that deploys a pair of tree branches covered in sharpened tin-can lids. Days later, at the barracks of the Redwood Youth Corps, Marco Cerone, Dennis Zorich, Nathaniel Hines, and Boone are rudely wakened by Eggar, the mechanic, who takes pleasure in taunting the young volunteers. In the kitchen, Sammie, the cook, complains to forest ranger Mike that several large cans of peaches are missing from the pantry. Mike dismisses the complaint as he is preoccupied with his team’s impending work detail in Mill Creek, which will include his girl friend, Melanie, and three of her female friends. The volunteers also look forward to the trip, but are opposed to having the bullying, erratic Eggar drive the bus. Mike promises that Eggar will behave, but when he tries to speak to the mechanic, Eggar argues that the trip is dangerous and unnecessary, citing the recent disappearance of Jim and Lori in the same vicinity. Regardless, Mike asserts his authority and the expedition proceeds. Along the way, they pick up Melanie, Margaret, Vanessa, and Windy Morgan, and pass a mental institution where Eggar was rumored to have been an inmate. When the bus reaches its destination, Mike rejects Eggar’s argument that the terrain is too rugged for the women, and the group gets to ... +


Jim and Lori, a young couple, crash their motorcycle in the Mill Creek region of the California redwood forest, leaving Jim with an injured leg. Lori searches in vain for help, and when she returns to the scene, Jim is hanging upside down from a tree with his throat cut. She flees in terror, tripping a wire that deploys a pair of tree branches covered in sharpened tin-can lids. Days later, at the barracks of the Redwood Youth Corps, Marco Cerone, Dennis Zorich, Nathaniel Hines, and Boone are rudely wakened by Eggar, the mechanic, who takes pleasure in taunting the young volunteers. In the kitchen, Sammie, the cook, complains to forest ranger Mike that several large cans of peaches are missing from the pantry. Mike dismisses the complaint as he is preoccupied with his team’s impending work detail in Mill Creek, which will include his girl friend, Melanie, and three of her female friends. The volunteers also look forward to the trip, but are opposed to having the bullying, erratic Eggar drive the bus. Mike promises that Eggar will behave, but when he tries to speak to the mechanic, Eggar argues that the trip is dangerous and unnecessary, citing the recent disappearance of Jim and Lori in the same vicinity. Regardless, Mike asserts his authority and the expedition proceeds. Along the way, they pick up Melanie, Margaret, Vanessa, and Windy Morgan, and pass a mental institution where Eggar was rumored to have been an inmate. When the bus reaches its destination, Mike rejects Eggar’s argument that the terrain is too rugged for the women, and the group gets to work removing debris from the creek. During a break, Marco questions rumors of marijuana fields in the vicinity. Boone confirms the rumors, but warns that the farmers are likely to shoot trespassers on sight. When the men tease Eggar about his inability to “get high” due to a lack of brain cells, the driver tells the story of how he once bound a man and left him for dead in the nearby hills. That evening, as the group sits around the campfire, Boone relates the legend of a young girl who went insane after being raped by her uncle. She was placed in a mental institution, where it was discovered that she was pregnant. The child was raised by another family, but returned nineteen years later to arrange for his mother’s release. Realizing that her psychosis would prevent her from functioning in society, the son set her loose in the redwood forest, where she continues to torment campers. Eggar is angered by the story, and as he returns to the bus, Mike instructs him to meet the group downstream the following day. Dennis, Boone, and Nathaniel plan to sneak away from camp to steal some marijuana plants, and only allow Marco to join them on the condition that he acts as lookout. Marco agrees, unaware of his companions’ plan to abandon him in the woods. The next morning, Mike notices Marco’s absence and orders the other men to find him. Mike and Melanie join the search, and once they are alone by a pond, they make love in the water. Suddenly, an unseen assailant kills Mike with a machete and takes Melanie prisoner. Meanwhile, Nathaniel and Dennis come upon a cabin where they discover a government-issue rubber raft, large cans of peaches, a jar of psilocybin mushrooms, and a hat belonging to Eggar. Believing their driver may be responsible for Marco’s disappearance, they take refuge at the campsite. Marco reaches the site by nightfall to find the others distraught over the missing members of their party. When Vanessa finds Mike’s severed head in the outhouse, Dennis, a Vietnam War veteran, rallies the others for battle against Eggar. In the morning, the campers return to the cabin and steal Eggar’s raft, unaware that Melanie is being held captive in a crawlspace underneath the floor. When they leave, a grotesque figure emerges from the crawlspace dragging Melanie behind. As the group rafts downstream toward the coast, Melanie’s body is dropped from a tree. Her horrified companions bury the body and continue on their trek. Hours later, they come upon the bus and climb aboard in hopes of hastening their escape, then realize that the vehicle is disabled. The group decides to spend the night on the bus, until the killer appears and forces the campers back into the woods. Windy is separated from the others and the killer slashes her face. After Margaret stitches the wound, the group devises a plan of attack. The next morning, they execute their plan without Dennis, who is exploring a crater while intoxicated on mushrooms. Marco stands in a clearing and calls to Eggar, with the intent of provoking a confrontation. Eggar grabs Marco from behind before being set upon by the other campers. Dennis moves to higher ground, but the killer pulls him back into the crater, and he dies in the fall. Eggar reveals the killer to be the rape victim of the legend, and also his mother. She runs toward the scuffle and trips a rope, resulting in her impalement on a trapeze of sharpened sticks. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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