Final Exam – USA, 1981


Final Exam is a 1981 American slasher horror film written and directed by Jimmy Huston who apparently wanted to go against the norm and decided to feature little on-screen graphic violence.



‘Some may pass the test… God help the rest’

Final Exam is referenced in Scream 2 along with other college-themed slasher films such as The House on Sorority RowGraduation DayThe Dorm That Dripped Blood and Splatter University.

Late at night, two college students (Carol Capka and Shannon Norfleet) are busy making out in a parked convertible. Ignoring the girl’s frequent objections, her boyfriend pushes on. Outside, a shadowy man jumps on top of the car, slicing his way through the fabric roof. Reaching inside, the lunatic grabs the young man and pulls him up and out onto the car’s hood. Brandishing a blade, the killer stabs the young man to death.

Sleepy Lanier College is nearing the end of Final Exam week: a frenzied semester cap time of grades, goodbyes, and pranks. As the students prepare for their tests as well as the coming vacation break, little do they suspect a murderer is stalking them one by one. Plain but amiable Courtney (Cecile Bagdadi) is completing her exams and studying hard. Averse to hitting the books, her roommate Lisa (DeAnna Robbins) is busy packing and getting back to the city.

Meanwhile, Gamma Delta fraternity pledge Gary (Terry W. Farren) has pinned his girlfriend Janet (Sherry Willis-Burch)… and paid for it by being treed by his brothers, stripped to his briefs, awash in shaving cream and ice cubes shoved down his underwear. As night falls on Lanier, a freezing Gary hopes his beloved Janet will free him from his humiliation. Untied from the tree by an unknown figure, Gary is relieved but is stabbed to death by the man that killed the couple in the convertible…


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” … Final Exam seems uninterested in the killer as a living human being and instead uses him as a tragic, mysterious force that moves into the lives of those at Lanier College and changes them forever. He’s a perfect storm whose only motivation is carnage and the kind of random maniac that is all too prevalent in real life. The killer actually manages to generate a few decent scares, thanks in part to Huston’s clever direction and Raynor’s minimalistic, yet menacing performance. ” Oh, the Horror!

“In the annals of early 80s slashers, it’s both one of the worst (worst killer ever, for certain) and one of the best (due to its unparalleled levels of unintentional comedy).” Horror Movie a Day

final exam

“A few problems keep Final Exam from being a really good slasher. The first half is more of a college drama. The only soap opera elements missing are a pregnancy scare and an outbreak of venereal disease on campus. Killer (Timothy L. Raynor) has no name, background, or motivation. He’s just a big guy with a knife. This lack of character development really robs the film of suspense and tension.” Retro Slashers


Following VHS releases, it was finally released on DVD in 2008 and has been available on Blu-ray since May 2014 via Shout! Factory.




Directed by Jimmy Huston
Produced by James McNamara
Perry Katz
Written by Jimmy Huston
Starring Cecile Bagdadi
Joel S. Rice
DeAnna Robbins
Sherry Willis-Burch
Ralph Brown
John Fallon
Timothy Raynor
Music by Gary S. Scott
Cinematography Darrell Catchart
Editing by John A. O’Connor
Distributed by AVCO Embassy Pictures
Motion Picture Marketing
Release dates June 5, 1981
Running time 89 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60,000

Categories: 1980s, psychopath, serial killer, slasher

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