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Final Exam (Katrina’s Nightmare Theater) 
Written by: on September 5th, 2011

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1981
Director: Jimmy Huston
Writer: Jimmy Huston
Cast: Cecile Bagdadi, Joel S. Rice, Ralph Brown, DeAnna Robbins, Sherry Willis-Burch, John Fallon, Terry W. Farren, Timothy L. Raynor, Sam Kilman, Don Hepner, Mary Ellen Withers, Jerry Rushing

DVD released: September 20th, 2011
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: R
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95

Synopsis:A psychopath goes on a murderous rampage on a college campus.Don’t let this film’s opening kill sequence fool you into believing that Final Exam is going to be your routine Slasher film. After this well executed moment of carnage, the film quickly devolves into a character driven horror film. And while in most instances character development helps the story at hand, in this case it actually contributes greatly to this film’s lethargic pacing and all but kills any chance of this film sustaining any moment. And when the killing finally arrives in the last 1/3 of the film, it is too little, too late by then.

Another area in which this film does not quite gel are its characters, who for the most part are either very bland or extremely unlikable. And to further compound this short coming of this production, are the lackluster performances of the cast, who had little, if any acting experience before or since this film. The only performance worth noting, would be Joel S. Rice’s performance as the bookwormish character named Radish. He is the only character who has any inkling of what is actually going on and like the boy, who cried wolf, no one will listen to him.

Without a doubt the most endearing aspect of this production is its no motive killer, who just goes berserk for the hell of it. And this character’s forbidding menace is all the more enhanced by the way in which this film spends a large chuck of the killers’ screen time lurking in the shadows. So that when the killer final goes on his rampage, all that pent up frustration waiting for something to finally happens is all the more rewarding. Also let’s face it, the kills scenes are what most horror fans are drawn to and the one’s is this film are all well executed.

The DVD:

Scorpion Releasing presents Final Exam in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. This new transfer from Scorpion releasing is a marked improvement over the transfer used for the BCI DVD release.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio is in very good shape as dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced.

Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 31 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), three interviews, actresses Cecile Bagdadi (3 minutes 27 seconds – 4:3 full frame), Sherry Willis-Burch (4 minutes 42 seconds – 4:3 full frame), actor Joel S. Rice (6 minutes 30 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and a audio commentary with producer Myron Meisel and moderator Katarina Leigh Waters. The three interviews have been carried over from the aforementioned BCI DVD release and content wise each participant covers how they got involved with this project, one set recollections and what they have been up to since this film. Though the audio commentary that appeared on BCI’s DVD release has not carried over for this release, a newly recorded audio commentary had been recorded for this release. This audio commentary is an informative track that covers the various aspects of the production, like the origins of the project, casting, locations and working with screenwriter / director Jimmy Huston. Also there are two ways to watch the main feature, ‘Play Movie’ or ‘Play Katarina’s Nightmare Theater’. This second option include comments before and after the main feature from Katarina Leigh Waters, who’s comments are done in a more analytical way as she gives a overall of who all the main players in this production are and she closes with her thoughts on the main feature. Rounding out the extras are trailers for Humongous, Devil Within Her, Nothing but the Night, The House on Sorority Row, The Incubus and The Pyx. This release comes with a reversible cover that features the cover art with Katarina Leigh Waters or a second option without her on the cover. Overall Final Exam makes its way back to DVD via first rate DVD release from Scorpion Releasing.

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