Final Exam

Going along with the early 80's trend of event-themed horror movies - Prom Night, Fall Break, Black Christmas, Happy Birthday To You, April Fool's Day, Graduation Day, New Year's Evil and the like - these folks were the first to capitalize on every college student's common end-of-year nightmare: test time. Enjoy the last of our series of 1981 slashers this month!

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Final Exam (1981)

Episode 307, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.

Craig: and I’m Craig.

Todd: Well, Craig, with today’s movie, we finally wrap up our month of 1981 slasher films. Uh, and this one is called, Final Exam. An R rated movie by writer, director, Jimmy Houston. And, uh, this one’s been on my list a bit, not because I’d heard anything terribly notable about it, but because like all of the movies we’re doing this month, their slasher films that seem to be kind of on the fringe of what seem to be a pretty interesting year for horror, with a lot of, uh, slasher movies coming out.

And a lot of other horror movies coming out. It just seemed like at this point we were heading into the early eighties from some interesting horror with Texas Chainsaw Massacre and stuff in the late seventies and Halloween and Black Christmas. And that just kind of kicked off a whole frenzy of money, making exploitation opportunities.

And so, you know, 1981, at least as I was looking through, seemed to be kind of a, an interesting year. And that’s why we’re doing these as you would’ve heard after listening to the other episodes. And, uh, also check out our minisode about it. If you are a Patron, we are gonna talk in a little more detail about just the year in general, in horror and movies, that we’ve covered movies that we’d like to cover later.

And just what was going on at that time. So this is final exam. Like I said, uh, this was more on the fringes. It was one where I noticed the poster of it when I was clicking through lists of movies and slasher movies that I hadn’t seen. And, uh, it’s always kind of been the back of my mind just because I figured, oh, it’s just like all these other ones, right.

Fall Break, Final Exam, Prom Night. Where, where the movies just look for some kind of teenage time holidays like Black Christmas or April Fool’s Day or things like that. I guess by now they had a lot less to pick from. And so “final exam” is the subject to this one. And I had never seen it before this time around.

Craig: How about you? Yep. I’d seen it, uh, recently, you know, this year, I think again, just, uh, scrolling through streaming services came upon it and just put it on to have. Something on in the background, but I do remember more about this one than most of those movies that I just kind of put on in the background.

Um, I’m not really sure why. I think there were some, a at least a couple of interesting characters that drew me in a little bit, but yes, I had seen it before, but I had watched it not thinking that we would necessarily ever talk about it. So. Didn’t pay super close attention. So I was interested in going back and watching again and here we are.

Todd: and here we are ready about ready to talk about this. I mean, otherwise, very typical to the point of cliche. I, in some ways slasher movie, I think it has a couple distinctive things about it, but ultimately yeah. You know, it’s pretty obviously inspired . By Halloween and Friday the 13th and those that came before it and Jim Houston himself, the writer of director has done almost nothing really, uh, before or after this directed a few movies before it and a couple after it, but I don’t even think they were horror movies.

And yeah, I, I guess I read that, uh, even on the DVD rerelease of this film, they ended up getting a lot of the original actors back to record a commentary track and. Jimmy Houston was not there. so, huh, that’s weird. Odd, right? For the writer director, that’s a pretty notable absence. from a DVD commentary track.

Pretty much all the actors in this movie also were more or less plucked from obscurity. I think most of them. We’re flown in from LA to shoot in South Carolina here. And many of them were just picked up based on people seeing them in stage productions and stuff. 

Craig: A lot of them were just his friends. Yeah.

The crew, especially. And, and, and students maybe. Well, yeah, and, and the, the crew pops up as extras and they, you know, Plucked extras from wherever 

Todd: they could. I was gonna say, as you’re scrolling through the credits, you can see the same name popping up several times. Like, oh, this person was an actor and also a key grip, you know, this person, right.

It’s it’s, it’s pretty 

Craig: obvious. Yeah. Okay. So this movie is interesting because. The director wanted to, and he wrote it to, he wanted to deviate from the slasher formula a little bit by focusing more on the characters. Yeah. Which arguably he does. , but what that results in is basically nothing. This is an hour and a half movie.

Nothing happens for the first hour. Yeah. 

Todd: it is noticeably absence of any slashing or even any nudity for that, for that matter. It’s, 

Craig: it’s almost. Kind of like a teen and, and I hesitate to even say teen, cuz they’re in college. They’re probably in their late teens or early twenties, but it’s like a teen college movie except.

Not funny.

it’s just like, it’s like, hi, it’s just, it’s like hijinks, like yeah. Fraternity high jinx and, and getting to know these characters to some extent and, and to be fair, there are a couple of interesting characters. I don’t know if interesting is really the word. I don’t even know if likable is really the word, but they’re the main girl.

Courtney is kind of interesting, you know, like she’s not stereotypically gorgeous. I mean, she’s a pretty girl, but uh, they kind of make a point how she’s not stereotypical stereotypically beautiful as compared to her rich blonde roommate. Yeah. But she’s likable and then there’s a kid like the nerdy.

Whose name is radish and he is like the most interesting, super cute and charming. Yeah. Yeah. And interesting, like intelligent and has varied interests and is genuinely like. Nice. And he seemed cool. Like, I would wanna be friends with him even though he’s cast in like the nerd role, like, you know, getting pushed around by the big jocks and stuff like that.

Yeah. The rest of the characters are basically just stereotypes. Mm-hmm the girls, you know, like, so there’s the, the slutty roommate, Linda Lee, Lisa, Lisa. Who’s the, you know, kind of the blonde bimbo who has like a whole monologue about the importance of being attractive and flirting, because you can get anything you want in life by doing that.

The important thing to know is how to get what you want. That’s what’ll help you later on not grades. You have a good grades. Can’t hurt. Neither can good times. I’d rather know how to flirt one thinks for sure. You’ll never catch me studying chemistry. no, while there’s a hand teaching. Watch. Hi, excuse me.

Could one of you give me a hand? Sure. and like, she, she talks about it and then she demonstrates it and sadly, she’s probably right. You know, she’s a very. Beautiful woman who, you know, can kind of get men to do whatever she wants them to do. And again, very stereotypically she’s sleeping with the chemistry professor.

So she doesn’t really have to study or do anything for that class, you know, beyond that. It’s not like she’s unfriendly, you know, like, yeah, she’s nice, you know? Yeah. Use what you got, whatever. That’s 

Todd: fine. They. Kind of are 

Craig: well, the frat guys, the two main frat guys, mark and wild man. Like I can’t believe I’m gonna have to say that several 

Todd: times.

Wild big goes by several names in here anyway. So you could pick me God, 

Craig: they, they are the epitome of the kind of guys that I really have a. Distaste for, yeah, just like these guys that think they’re like alpha males because of their status and, and wild man’s case, this, the fact that he’s, you know, a huge guy and, and can, you know, easily bully and overpower other people, which he does.

And they, they just act like oaths, like, yeah, the, you know, the kind of guys who think it’s cool and funny to just behave really badly and, and treat people, people 

Todd: badly books out of their hands and stuff, but they. Necessarily really cruel about it. You know, it’s just like goofy frat high jinx by dumb dumb guys.

I mean, like you said before, just stereotypical frat boy characters that we’ve seen and like all these movies really, but not as mean spirited as sometimes we can see them. I think, yeah. Yeah. 

Craig: They’re not, I don’t remember what movie we did recently. It was a Halloween movie. They’re not like those rapey guys.

Yeah. Yeah. From, from whatever, God, they’re not like that. But you know, these are the kind of guys that I’ve encountered and, you know, are, are more than happy to call me a fag. And push me around, you know, like, so I just have, I just have distaste for, for this kind of character. I’m sure there are lovely young men in real life.

I don’t know whatever right. But that’s it. And so the first hour is just kind of college, high jinx kind stuff. And then. It gets to the killings and then it is entirely formulaic. It’s just, they do the whole formula in the last half hour. Yeah. And so as soon as people start getting killed, it’s just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

And it follows the formula pretty much. Exactly. I don’t know. I don’t know. I just don’t really know what to make of it, cuz it’s not poorly made. No, it’s not the, you know, the, the, the cinematography is okay. The ACT’s good is fine. The score is, is okay. 

Todd: I think the writing’s pretty, pretty bad. The dialogue is so written.

It’s trying to be funny and it’s trying to be cute, but it just comes across. Kind of childish in a way dumb. And I think that that shows it’s. So I wasn’t really sure whether to fault the performance of the actors, which I thought was a little unconvincing, especially earlier on in the movie when we’re supposed to be getting to know them like real people, or if it’s just the things coming out of their mouths are.

Are just silly, but the movie reminded me a little bit of maybe a student film. I was getting shades of the dorm, that drip blood. You remember when we did that 

Craig: one? Yeah. Yeah. 

Todd: I remember it. That was shot on a college campus. It’s all seems to be all friends who got together who were all like literally college students, probably all involved in the theater or film department.

And yeah. Sounds like this wasn’t too far off from that. And so I got similar vibe. Except that movie. I remember being a little more on the, a little edgier. It was bloodier. It had some pretty graphic, gruesome moments. This movie also distinguishes itself by having almost no gore at all. Right. Most of the killings happen either in shadow or off screen.

There’s clearly like no budget for special effects for this. Right. You know, at one point a guy gets strangled by some wire. All you it’s just like blood coming out of his mouth. Uh, and then stabbings, which just sort of happen either off camera or in the shadow, which are not even very convincing. It looks like the guy doing the stabbing is trying really hard, not to actually stab anything.

just to sort of robotic up and down motion that doesn’t give the impression that you’re, you’re forcefully plunging a knife into anything nor. Having to like exert any effort as, as to pulling it out of something, you know, it’s just up, down, up, down, up, down. 

Craig: Well, according to him, he was wielding a real knife, so could have something to, with it.

He had to use caution. I don’t know the other thing that makes this movie stand out from the other slashers. And I, and I. I really think that this was intentional. And I feel like there’s even commentary on it in the movie. Was that this killer, first of all, he’s not masked, which does go yeah. Against the formula.

You know, a lot, a lot of slashers in the eighties wore some kind of mask that was kind of the formula. But even if they didn’t wear the mask, sometimes the camera was the mask mm-hmm because you would never. Face, but you would see from their perspective. Yeah. A lot. And there’s a little tiny bit of POV stuff going on here, but not a lot that you see the killer.

Yeah. You see his face right from the very beginning. And then when in the, there’s a kill scene in the very beginning to set it up. And then an hour later when he reappears, he kind of lingers in the shadows a little bit, but there are many, many times where you very clearly see his face. So he’s not a. In that way, but he has no backstory.

He has no clear motivation. He’s just a random killer. Yeah. But again, like I said, I, I feel like that’s what they were going for because there is a scene where the main girl, Courtney and radish talk and radish talks about how there are killers all around us all the time. And people just kill people for random reasons.

And you never really know why, and you never really know who it’s gonna. Don’t you for lock your door? What could happen to me? Famous. Last words. Why are you so apprehensive? When are you going to realize that the whole world isn’t made of psychopath skulking about, but they are out there. They do exist.

People are killed every day for no reason at all. Perfect strangers wake up in the morning and decide. Hmm. I think it’s a good day to snuff somebody. And there are people who eat our restaurants with us, use our highways and vote for the president, which probably explains something about him too. I’m not paranoid.

I’m just facing unhappy facts. So will you please stop it? Because I don’t think it’s cute. Like 

Todd: some people might. 

Craig: And so I, I think that that’s kind of the point that they were trying to make, you know, like we don’t need to know this guy’s motivation. We don’t need to know his back story. He’s just a killer, like, yeah, that’s it.

And, and when he dies at the end, Any mystery dies with him. We don’t have any idea who this guy is like. Yeah. 

Todd: And, and that was so against formula to be distracting. I thought, you know, maybe just because we’re so programmed and. Also maybe for a good reason, we, we wanna know, right? Like we wanna know some motivation.

Yeah. We wanna be thrown a bone somewhere. And so even when the killer’s face first started to become obvious, I thought this is like a poorly made movie where they didn’t do a good enough job obscuring his face. And then when we saw his face again and again, I thought, oh, well, All right. Well, I, now I’m gonna look for this guy.

Maybe he’s one of the other characters, you know, with just like his beard shaved or something, you know, like I’m just trying to figure out he’s gotta be somebody there’s gotta be some mystery here, some big reveal. And there isn’t, as you said, and I, I think just that was nagging at me the whole time.

That I found it distracting and I, I can’t really say it was a good thing either. I guess, trying to be slightly innovative and go against formula sometimes ends up working against you. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with having this random killer. And like you said, there is. There’s some lines in there that make it clear that that’s probably what he was going for.

And we know that the director was intentionally trying to do something different here. 

Craig: I think it’s an interesting idea because I think that the rationale behind it is true, you know? Well, there are just crazy people who kill people, you know, there, they’re not always motivated by anything other than our, maybe their own psychosis or violent tendencies, 

Todd: but for a movie.

It’s a lazy idea. 

Craig: well, I just think it’s not. Yeah, I guess I J I, I, I. What you mean? And I don’t disagree. I just feel like maybe it could have been executed in a more interesting way. Right. But you’re right. It, it takes, it takes something away when there’s no connection when there’s no reason for him to be killing these people other than he’s, he just wants to, he, well, that’s, 

Todd: I Don.

That’s the other thing you look for as well, right? Is like what, who is he targeting? Right. And why, especially earlier in the movie, the movie opens with a kill scene. There is a kill scene at the very beginning. Yeah. There’s a couple making out in a car with the most hilarious dialogue. I think it was this scene.

That made me think. Well, I, I think I’m gonna enjoy this movie as is so bad. It’s good movie. Yeah, because it’s this couple making out in a car, uh, and , and the girl keeps going, no, no, not here. You know, I don’t want to do this here. And he, he gets kind of pissy at her and he says, I, 

Craig: all of a sudden, the car’s not good enough anymore.

Is that it? No. Well, look, I, I can’t afford another motel room. We’ve spent all my money on 

Todd: beer. 

Craig: Well, you were happy enough to drink your share.

I just don’t like it. I don’t feel right. Could we at least put the top up? Do I ever deny 

Todd: you anything? Mm-hmm and I’m like, well, yeah, you denied her. You just denied her a motel stay. it’s it’s pretty silly. And, uh, It’s such a long scene. It is. Oh, I, I hear something. Oh, who knows what it is? Oh, let’s get in the back.

Okay. I hear something again. Oh yeah. Don’t worry about it. Oh, the car’s moving. Oh, that kind of pisses me off. Oh, can you just take me somewhere else? No. Why isn’t the car? Good enough. And like, oh my God. Just get to it already. Finally, I guess a body flops down on the car. Um, You know doesn’t mean anything.

We don’t, it’s just a face that appears in the windshield. Yeah. I, 

Craig: I, I, I, I’m still confused as to what that was. I didn’t know if it was a body or if it was the killer, like peering at them. I, I, I’m still uncertain, it looked like a body, but if it was, we don’t have any idea who it was. Not that it matters.

We don’t really know who these kids are. We just know they’re random kids. Mm-hmm I did, you know, I thought it was funny. It’s a convertible, a soft top convertible. So the killer, like, you know, slashes through the top of it then finally the guy’s like, let’s get outta here. 

Todd: finally he’s willing and trumps 

Craig: in the front seat right underneath him.

Ends up getting. Yeah, I think he starts to move the car, but he ends up getting, you know, pulled up out and stabbed or gets his throat SL or something with a 

Todd: very, very long Dolly in on her screaming and screaming and screaming, doing nothing else in the backseat. But watching this and screaming, I, I. I felt for this actress, I felt I could just be there on the set with her as she was probably doing, you know, 10, 15 takes of this.

All right. We just need you to scream nonstop, you know, for like 30 seconds at a time. right. And 

Craig: you don’t even see her get killed. No, the news, this is on a different college campus. We then immediately jump to another college campus where it’s like, The last day of the semester, it’s just like some lingering students.

Like, um, some of them, I, I guess most of the students are already done with their exams and have already left. So this is like the last day of exams and just a, a few students, um, Are lingering. And the news spreads. I, I think it’s radish who tells the other characters that there was a murder on this other campus, which I guess is just in like an adjacent town.

Oh yeah. Um, or something it’s so much. And he says they were both. It is, it’s a lot of walking and talking. He says, um, that there were, that a couple, two kids were killed, so we know she died, but we don’t even see it on. Camera. I don’t know. It’s just, yeah. Missed opportunities left and right. It truly seems like it 

Todd: really is.

And you know, again, it’s very typical, right? Well, first of all, it goes back to the 1950s. You know, if it wasn’t a horror movie, it was just. Sci-fi movie of a couple making out in a car. And there’s a comment that, you know, crashed nearby in the woods that they have to investigate, get attacked by aliens.

So it, it definitely starts out for a guy, a guy who’s trying to do something different. He starts straight off the bat with the most cliche thing you could think of. And then it jumps again into more cliche as you’re on the college campus. And it’s. But it’s excessive walking and talking and it’s shot.

Well, yeah, I was actually kind of impressed at how a lot of this was done in one take and would, you know, would move from one couple to the next or another couple would kind of pass by the camera while another couple Uhhuh was coming towards the camera. You know, that, that requires a lot of coordination.

It requires some pretty good acting skill to not flub your lines and all that stuff. But, but the dialogue is just so hilarious. And of course they start talking about the final exams. Oh, well, why do I even need to study C. Oh, what was that guy’s name? Mark talking to, uh, Janet or Courtney. And I love Courtney’s response.

Well, that is a problem with 

Craig: education. They do keep trying to teach you all that stuff for 

Todd: while. Okay. Yes. It’s trying to fill it with dialogue. It is anyway, it establishes that we’re on a college campus and there are college people who are doing college things. And one of those things is taking the final exam.

The framework of the movie and that’s really about, oh, and then, you know, let’s radish pop in as the nerdy guy who then gives us all the information, a dump of, you know, AJ here are those killers on the other day. Ha ha. And then the offi guy who comes running by and knocks wild man. You know, knocks rashes books out of his hand and turns around, 

Craig: you know, and yeah.

And they all, like, they’re all like, um, goofy, old, wild, like that’s, that’s not funny. Like no people, isn’t funny. They all thought it was hilarious though. Well, even radish, like all, you know, old wild man again, and sometime later in the movie, they like break into his room. And push him around, like pick him up by his shirt and stuff.

And after they leave, he just kinda rolls his eyes and shakes his head. Like all those silly guys, like, no, it’s not funny. And it’s so weird. I mean, it’s a movie, so whatever get over it. But you know, there’s, there’s only supposedly this handful of students left, but they all know each other and are best friends, even though.

They don’t really seem to have a whole lot in common. Like when I first saw Courtney and mark walking and talking together, I thought, oh, okay, here’s our couple, you know? Yeah. Like this is gonna be like our final couple. Like she’s obviously the final girl. He’s gonna be the nice guy that tries to help her probably will get killed, but you never know.

Um, no, but he’s not, he’s one of the douche bags. He’s like the he’s the leader of the douche bags. and it what’s so strange about it is like at first they’re I don’t know, their behavior seems, you know, fairly innocent. They’re just kind of douchy by the end they’re like these drug dealers it goes into extreme.

You’re willing. Break an inner to, and, and destroy property to steal drugs so they can sell them on campus, which is 

Todd: like an idea they just come 

Craig: up with. But they’re all they’re. Yeah, but, but they’re all best friends and they’re all sleeping with one another and, uh, it’s weird. 

Todd: Yeah. And it’s it’s well, and I guess they keep saying over and over again.

Oh, there’s hard. Hardly anyone around anywhere. It’s hardly anyone here, like, I guess some of the final exams are running a little late or something, and most everybody’s left and it’s just, like, you’ve said this group of people, but there’s still going to the cafeteria and the cafeteria is still full of people and 

Craig: running and fully stocked.

Right. Fully stock. Well, what I thought, you know, my assumption. Having been to college with, you know, the college that I went to. So I assume most colleges are on an alternating schedule. So you have classes Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and, and classes Tuesday, Thursday. So on Thursday, a lot of people are gonna be done with their exams if they don’t have Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes.

So they would be gone. So that, that made sense to me. It 

Todd: could happen. Yeah. It just doesn’t really, it could happen, but lay out on the screen in a convincing. Uh, 

Craig: I mean, it looks like a small school anyway, and there’s still a lot of people around mm-hmm when it’s convenient for there to be a lot of people around.

But then when it’s not, then there’s nobody around. Like, 

Todd: just these people all hang out, know each other. Yeah. 

Craig: right later in the movie, when. There’s peril, which again, I guess, you know, maybe the it’s nighttime, maybe the exams are done, and these are just like the last lingering people. But when Courtney, who is the final girl ends up, you know, running around, she’s like banging on every door.

There’s nobody around. She can’t. ROS anybody. It it’s just, you know, the, this last group of like six kids that we’ve been following are the only people who are still there just so that they can get picked off. Yeah. I wish there was more interesting stuff to talk about, I guess the only other kind of interesting thing, but again, it bothers me and I think that it bothers me only because I’m coming from a modern perspective, like apparently.

Okay. So. We see, I, in my notes, I kept calling it a creep van. We, we, we see this creep van like creeping, you know, through campus and we see POV shots, you know, from the interior of the van, 

Todd: it comes up to every building on campus. At some point it’s kind of funny. It keeps 

Craig: cutting to it. Yeah. And there’s ominous music and you know, it feels very much like Halloween, like, you know, Michael Myers stalking around in his car or whatever, as it turns out, there are actually two creep fans and right.

At some point. like there, the, the chemistry final is going on and this one creep van, we see that there are multiple people in it in ski masks with, with machine guns. Mm-hmm and they jump out of the van and start shooting people. And you see people getting shot and going down. Yes. Yes. And like there’s carnage everywhere.

Meanwhile, in the exam room, the, the, um, Oh, oh God, I don’t remember what you call. ’em the, the monitors, the people who are like watching to make sure people aren’t cheating. They’re distracted. So mark, like fake scores, his own. Test and puts an 82 on it, which is the score that he has to get to pass.

Otherwise he’s gonna get kicked outta school or whatever, and he takes it and he puts it on the bottom of the graded thing. So like he takes advantage of this as it turns out that was the plan. This is a distraction, but it looks like a full on terrorist attack. Yes. And that’s what it’s meant to look like.

As it turns out it’s a prank, it’s a, a prank put on by the fraternity, I guess, to. Distract from or delay the exams. And when it’s over, everybody just kind of walks away and laughs like . 

Todd: That was funny. That was hilarious. What? Oh, what’s even funnier is when the sheriff comes out with his attitude and pulls up in his car and is like, so wish one of you wise guys came out.

And called me about a shooting going on, 

Craig: on campus. Yeah. He’s not really all that pissed off about the prank. No, he’s pissed off that he, that he was bothered by it. That somebody that, because radish called the police as you should, when you witness a terrorist attack. But that, yeah, when the, when the guy shows up.

He’s not particularly concerned about the prank. He’s more concerned about the fact that radish bothered him by calling him. He does kind of like ask who was responsible and, and radish gives him the license plate. Number of the van. He calls it in and it’s titled, uh, to wild man’s dad. So he kind of gives wild man a little bit of a hard time, a little bit.

basically, he just says like, you know, watch your back ear on my radar. That’s it? Yeah. But it’s enough to piss wild man. And mark off that that radish would even give. The license plate number radish didn’t even know, like, no, he didn’t know it was wild man’s van, you know, he was just trying to do the right thing.

The reason, this whole thing. Bothers me is because today those boys would be in federal prison. Yeah. like you don’t just fake terrorist 

Todd: attacks. Well, even 40 years ago because they’re talking on the camera because there’s the test, the actual test. And there’s some very, very cringy teacher dialogue there.

Nevermind.

Craig: Well, I’d love to go on talking like this. But I must warn you your quiz. Isn’t getting any shorter and your examination, Carrie, this they’ll let us add it to me. I should remind you you’re on the modified honor system, I’ll be leaving the room and the grading assistant will be watching you. And, um, they are both frustrated, Nazis, and if they observe any cheating, they have been instructed to alert a highly skilled sniper that I’ve placed in Nick Williams tower.

He was a gun bearer for the Eagle scout down in Texas. You mean Charles Whitman? One of my favorites and he’s anxious to bag a few 

Todd: students on his own. I mean, he makes a reference to an actual historical. Can, you know, at the time the biggest mass shooting event that had ever happened in America, you know, almost just in a blase and then they get in a little bit of a discussion about it and it’s in pretty bad taste I thought.

And so, you know, it’s kind of in a way sort of foreshadowed, but then when you talk about missed opportunities, I thought, okay, well now these guys are suitably pissed at radish. And so there’s going to be a thing where they. You know, like a prank gone wrong or a prank that puts them into peril where they’re, you know, trying to get back at radish, there’s like one scene or whatever, where they kind of rough ’em up a little bit and they just sort of let ’em go.

Yeah, that really goes nowhere either. So all this stuff kind of happens, but it’s just filler material that I guess we’re supposed to get to know these people better, but it’s kind of dumb and it’s very unrealistic and it’s a little cringy, like the dialogue and stuff. Uh, I think there are meant to be jokes here.

There are lines that you can tell are supposed to be funny, but they don’t come across. You know, the dope jokes, just don’t land. I remember, uh, reading on Wikipedia and scrolling down through some of the critical reception. I, I just had to laugh at what all movie said, which was quote, a hybrid of frat boy comedy and slash or thriller exploitation, which features no slashing, no humor and fails to exploit anything.

That’s. That was right on the nose in a sentence how this movie feels, especially during the first hour. Um, you’re so waiting for a kill and it’s just these hijinks and this weirdness and, and bizarre weirdness like a fake terrorist attack. 

Craig: Well, and, and like some stuff that’s funny that I laughed out loud at, but that I didn’t think was intentional.

Like when RA, when radish calls the. What he says into the phone is it’s happening. The psychopaths are here. right. And he, and he says something. He says something like that. Again, later when he actually. Finds a body. He calls the police again and he, he says something similar. I don’t remember. 

Todd: Yeah. Can’t, it’s, it’s a really long scene too.

Well, well, even when they’re in taking the test, right, you can hear gunfire and screaming, like machine gun. And people scream. Ah, and in inside the tester, meanwhile, they’re all kind of looking up half interested going, huh? I wonder what’s going on outside there? Like what use this? Yeah. It’s 

Craig: it’s it’s when, so when radish finds a body later, he, he calls the.

Police? No. Before he calls the police, he says to himself, it’s happening. It’s happening here. Call the police. Like he tells himself to call . 

Todd: There’s a lot of talking to themselves happening in this movie as well. 

Craig: Yeah. And again, I mean, I, I really did like. This, this guy, I liked this character and he gets killed eventually, which surprised me because yeah, me too.

He was, he was the most likable character and he was kind of the character. He was the one, like I said, he and Courtney have a conversation about, um, I mean, it’s, it’s a one sided conversation, but radish talks about. There are psychopaths all around and there are killers all around. He seems to be the one who’s kind of aware.

Like I, I read somewhere and we talk about, I feel like we mention him far too often on the podcast, but the character of Randy from scream. Right. Um, I read that was, was partially inspired by this guy, which I can see because yeah. You know, kind of the goofy nerdy one, but the one who is kind of aware. You know stuff, but I liked him and, uh, I was surprised when he was killed and, and very UN unceremoniously.

Uh, yeah. And it’s too, like, it, it’s sad because it’s obvious from the beginning. that he has a crush on Courtney mm-hmm um, and they keep ha they keep having these interactions throughout and they’re sweet. Yeah. Flirtatious interactions. Like, it doesn’t seem like she’s interested in him, but it seems like she takes him seriously as a person.

You know, she like, she likes him and appreciates him. 

Todd: It seems like she could be, but just not at this moment, she could be. Yeah. Mm-hmm 

Craig: because he’s because he’s really. Uh, really nice to her. And at one point, you know, very soon before he gets killed, they kind of have a heart to heart. And for no reason other than he’s just, he just thinks that there are random killers in the world.

He tells her to lock her door, cuz he’s worried about her. He just, for her safety or whatever, you know, that’s sweet and nice or whatever. She’s kind of. Um, lamenting she’s jealous of her roommate, Lisa, who can get whatever she wants because of her good looks and stuff. And, you know, she talks about, she’s like, I’m not mad at Lisa.

I like her, you know, it’s not like I don’t like her. It’s just, it doesn’t seem fair that she doesn’t have to work for anything that she gets whatever she wants. And he said, well, you know, That that’s really not how it works. You know, there will be a price that she has to pay, you know, at some point, um, you know, but she’s just utilizing what she has, but you have things that you can utilize to.

And he actually, he leaves, he, he leaves, uh, the room and tells her to lock the door and she does, but apparently there’s two doors. To their dorm room. So he just walks down to the other one. She opens it and he’s like, I just wanted to tell you, um, that you have, uh, a pretty face two, um, even prettier than Lisa, then he just walks away and like talks to himself in the hallway.

Like that was a really stupid thing to do. but it seemed like, you know, there was kind of something budding between them. Mm-hmm and then. He goes off to like, of course, because he’s the only nerd on campus. He’s like the manager of the football team or whatever. So he has to go like do athletic equipment inventory in the middle of the night.

Yeah. In the middle of the night, on the last day of the semester, he goes and he finds a dead body. And his first thought after trying to call the police who don’t believe. Because they’ve already been fooled once by the whole terrorist thing, so they totally write him off. So he hangs up the phone and is like, fine.

I’m gonna have to take action myself. And then he says, Courtney, and he sprints back to her room. He’s flying well. And like, he’s nice. You know, he’s concerned about her. It’s heroic. I’m expecting them, you know, him to kind of be her shining night, you know, and. He, he frantically knocks on her door. It’s like Courtney, Courtney.

Um, and then the killer just punches his hand through the door and grabs him and pulls him through. And the next thing, the next time we see him, he’s just dead hanging there in the door. Yeah. Again, missed opportunity. You know this if fine, we get the final girl. Running around, we get the third act, body dump where, you know, we see all these bodies or whatever, but I just think it could have been a lot more interesting if they had been there together, at least for a while.

Yeah. If he had had more opportunity because he’s been portrayed as this kind of, you know, the, the, the writer director. Came up with the word with the name radish, because it sounds like nebbish, which is a, um, a Yiddish word, which means a person, especially a man who is regarded as pitifully and effectual Tim or submissive, you know, they they’ve set him up to be like that, right.

To be that guy. It, what a great opportunity. It would’ve been then to let him have a moment. Heroism. Yeah. That he’s deprived of that, which I just felt like. It was a disappointment. 

Todd: Yeah. There’s this level of care, you know, put into the writing of the movie, you know, aside from just giving us a lot of scenes to show these people talking, interacting, it really doesn’t end up amounting to anything terribly satisfying.

Right? As far as character development goes, the stereotypes just kind of remain stereotypes. There are a lot of missed opportunities with certain things and the killer himself. Just can be anywhere magically he wants, which is yep. Typical for these movies, but maybe even more obvious here that it’s just to the point where it gets kind of ridiculous to the point where I thought maybe they were trying to be funny, but honestly, the tone of the movie doesn’t really support that.

I mean, there’s one. Where the killer chases was it Gary? I don’t remember. We’ve got Janet and Gary, Gary’s a pledge of this fraternity. And so yeah, he keeps popping in every now and then. And the, what are those guys? Mark and, and wild man are sending him to do things oh, sending him in to steal the, the test papers or whatever from the professor’s office.

So I guess they’re gonna take more exams tomorrow or something. I don’t know. Uh, and, and. There are stalking scenes there that are kind of cool, but again, don’t end up amounting to anything because we’re still not an hour into the movie yet. and I thought there were some effective stalking scenes actually, and the music was quite good.

See, 

Craig: and I thought the stalking scenes were stupid. Like I felt like they were. I thought they were going for a Mike Myers vibe. Yeah. But like, in my, in my notes, you know, every once in a while I just have creeper bee creeping, like , he’s like, he’s just hanging out in the background. Well, there’s just seems, and, and he seems to be particularly interested in Courtney.

Like he’s following her around and watching her. Why. No, no 

Todd: reason. No. And that’s why I said earlier, like it was so confusing that, that, uh, he seems to be interested in Courtney. So I’m like, oh, okay. Like there’s no. And then there’s a time when he seems to be interested in Lisa, but no, and, and then I realized, now this killer’s not really interested in anybody in particular, they just gotta get him in the background of a bunch of scenes, right.

To give us a bunch of jump scares and supposedly build. You’re right. They were going for that Mike Myers in the shadows. He’s there in one second. And then as soon as the camera whips back, he’s not, but because there was really no payoff ever for it, it was just maddening. But, um, this guy, Gary, right? Uh, the oh, pledge.

Oh, I love the fraternity. Yeah, guys, I’ll do the things that you want me to. And there’s this thing where he’s pinning Janet. And we ne even though we really never see much, but I think one introductory scene of him and Janet being affectionate or emotional. Yeah. Everything else is just him getting taken advantage of by these other two dudes, he goes to steal that paper.

And when he, and you know, and there’s again, killer in the background, but nothing comes of it because when he comes downstairs, the fraternity guys are there to. And they grab ’em and they take ’em out. It’s magically daytime again, and they tie ’em to a tree. In the middle of campus and just cover him in shaving cream and frosting or whatever dump stuff on him, literally strip him down to his underwear and then kudos to this actor.

They pour like a huge bucket of ice into his shorts. Mm-hmm . And I thought, holy shit, that, uh, that didn’t look comfortable for anybody. No. Right. And then they just leave him there and everybody just walks off. Ha ha ha ha funny guys. And in the meantime, Janet, doesn’t give a shit. She’s gone back to the room to talk a little bit more with Courtney about, oh, he pinned me all this stuff.

Oh, I don’t know if I’d like him. Oh, if he likes me. Oh, you, you there’s this long. Then we finally get back to him and I’m like, oh my God, he’s still tied to that tree. 

Craig: yeah. And, and, and it’s like nighttime now, but his underwear is still full of ice. That. This must have been magic ice. 

Todd: It, it makes no sense, but you know, again, in the middle of the tree tied to this tree in the middle of the, of the, of the quad, even the local, I don’t know what he was like, the security guard on campus or whatever.

We see a little bit Milton pops by and you think he’s gonna cut him loose and he doesn’t. Yeah. And then Janet’s finally. Uh, you know what, I guess I like him after all, I guess I’m gonna have to go down and free him. And so she goes down and, uh, this is our first kill, right 

Craig: aside from the opening scene.

Yeah. Okay. So now we are an hour into the movie and Gary is tied to the tree. And apparently this is a tradition thing. Like if you’re, if the fraternity brothers find out that a pledge has given their pledge pin to a girl, This is what they do. They tie them to a tree and then the girl has to come and, and let ’em go, but you’re right.

Like, like you said, like Janet’s not, she doesn’t particularly care. She’s like, I don’t even know if I wanna participate in this. It’s so childish. okay. I guess I’ll go, right? Yeah. So we see her. You know, slowly making her way there. And then we see him and he hears something. And then from it’s a huge tree.

Like the trunk is enormous. Oh, massive. Um, so, you know, easily, somebody could be concealed behind it and, and somebody cuts the ropes from behind and he thinks it’s her, but he’s like calling for her and she’s not there. And he is like, well, if it’s not, if it’s not her, who is it? And then apparently. From the time that he cut the ropes until a few seconds later, the killer scaled the tree crawled out on a branch so that he could then jump down right on top of Gary and stab him multiple times.

Yeah. But again, off, off screen, like you see, you see the killer and you see the knife going up and down. Um, but you don’t actually see the stab. Happen, but, but you’re right. That’s when they start and from then on it’s just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Like every scene is somebody else getting killed? The next one is Janet mm-hmm

She shows up at the tree boyfriend’s not there. So she thinks that she sees. Well, she’s like following a trail of his clothes or something, which lead her up to a rooftop where the lights go out for a second, which scares her. So she runs, but then the killer just reaches out from behind a corner of a building and grabs her and pulls her off screen.

And presumably kills 

Todd: her. We never see her body. Do we? We never see her again. 

Craig: The jocks both get killed. Most of the, uh, Killings are with this, you know, I, I would say at least 12 inch, you know, butcher knife that he carries around with them all the time. The first jock wild man goes to the gym to steal pills so that they can sell them.

And, uh, while he’s there, the killer shows. The killer kills the lights in the gym, but wild man being an athlete, who’s in the gym all the time knows where the lights are. So he turns them on and the killer’s just standing there in the middle of the basketball court. This was the only sequence that I thought was a little bit interesting.

And in a different movie, mm-hmm, , would’ve been better. It would’ve been better because he doesn’t run away screaming. He he’s a huge. The, this wild man guy is, is huge. And the killer is huge too, but you know, wild man, rather than fleeing, he runs straight at him. Like he’s gonna take 

Todd: him out. And this guy just kicks the crap out of him.

Yeah. 

Craig: He breaks his arm. Immediately, and then just beats the crap out of him and then ends up killing him in a weight machine. Like he, he pulls the weights out and he takes, I don’t, I don’t lift. So I don’t know what these machines are called. I I’ve used them Nautilus machines. Yeah. Like a Nautilus machine.

And he, the, the, the wire that the weights are suspended from, he pulls it out and wraps it around the wild man’s neck and then release. The weights. So it pulls ’em back and, and strangles them, which I thought was actually, you know, a fitting. kill for this big, strong jock who probably spends most of his time in that weight room anyway.

Yeah. And it looks okay. I, I read that there was, uh, a scary moment. Something went wrong when they were filming this. And, uh, the, the actor who played wild man really got strangled, um, by, by the machine and, uh, passed. Yeah. The other actor, the actor who played the killer realized that something was wrong and got him out that he was already unconscious.

Um, so that’s kind of scary, like that’s scarier than anything in the movie. yeah, it truly is. And then he, and then he kills the other jock, you know, he, he just chases him around and stabs him. Everybody kind of 

comes 

Craig: to the. Yeah, everybody comes to the 

Todd: gym. The other jock, this is where I thought it kind of got silly is because the other jock ends up running to a boiler room and locks himself in there.

And, and again, it’s like this killer can be anywhere at once. He he’s stumbling around the boiler room. The killer we know is locked outside the door. So he’s just going deeper into the boiler room and he comes to two doors that say danger do not enter. He pulls open one and it’s just like a closet, but has an.

Door at the end of it. And he walks slowly through it. And the killer jumps out of a barrel that was sitting there the entire time to stab him. Wow. That was hilarious. I, I thought, I thought it was, I thought, is this movie trying to be a comedy? You know, because this, 

Craig: this, if it was, it didn’t work because it wasn’t funny.

Todd: No, no, it wasn’t funny. It was just a head scratch. 

Craig: Yeah. And, and then radish goes to the gym and, and gets killed in the way that I already said. And then Lisa is waiting for the professor to come find her in the art studio for one last fling or whatever. She just gets very UN unceremoniously stabbed.

Like, yeah, we see her, we see her waiting there all night long, and then the killer just shows up and stabs her. And that’s it. The. 

Todd: I am so surprised you haven’t said anything special about the actress who plays Lisa? 

Craig: I didn’t look at any of them because I didn’t recognize any of 

Todd: them. Deanna Robbins looks like from 1984 to 1985.

She was in 59 episodes of days of our lives. Well, 

Craig: they all were, I don’t know. 

Todd: That’s your thing though, man. That’s your thing. I 

Craig: know. I know, but I’m telling you, I didn’t, I, I didn’t even write down any of their names because I didn’t recognize any of them. 

Todd: I think one of our patrons suggested that we do a mini, so for them about days of our lives, uh, and soap opera.

Uh, connections because you’re like the expert on them. 

Craig: It sounds, it sounds like a good idea. I have a feeling it would end up being really boring. yeah, I’m looking now. Yeah. I, I don’t even recognize her character’s name. Of course. I would’ve only been five when her run ended. this was before 

Todd: your. Yeah, your days of our lives, but, 

Craig: uh, so she gets killed and then the killer chases Courtney around for a while chases are all over campus.

Oh God. Um, there’s a part where she, like, she locks him in a cooler, but then he just pops out of a different door. Like. A diff 

Todd: like a different cooler. I don’t, I didn’t understand that bit, but okay. Either this, this cooler’s really large and needs three doors that are right next, next to each other, right?

No, 

Craig: it didn’t make any sense 

Todd: or was a different cooler entirely. None of that made sense, but it’s just hilarious how she goes from building to building. She’ll get outside and run around just to go to another building to go. And run up the stairs or lock herself into some place that the killer can get into.

So then she can run out. I, I feel like it, I was getting a nice little tour of the campus through this and all the locations we have been to before. Yeah. But without the typical, oh, she discovers all the bodies along the way. Right. Which is what I was, what was waiting to happen and, and didn’t, and so that was another missed opportunity.

I. But maybe he was just trying to be different, I guess, but she ends up where we started. She actually started out in the top of the tower of. Like kind of clock tower building or whatever on campus. And she decides the safest place for her to be is to go all the way to the top of that clock tower.

Right. And wait for the killer to follow her up the stairs, which he does. Yeah. And then there’s this coach who just. Shows up. We saw him earlier. He had a little bit of banter with the sheriff and said a little something to wild man, and then left and said a little something to one of the other guys, Mitch, the on campus security guard about going hunting or something.

And so I guess that’s his excuse to show up what, what has to be like one or 2:00 AM by now? Just. Parks in front of that building conveniently and yells out, Hey, Mitch, ready for the trip. And then when he doesn’t get an answer, he hears a scuffle inside. So he gets his bow and arrow and goes inside and sees the killer, pursuing this well, sees the killer, I guess, with her at the very top of the tower from down below.

Yeah. And he’s, you know, it’s just like a spiral staircase that goes around this very small sort of atrium. And so he aims his bow and shoots at the killer. This was interesting. Like the killer immediately reaches out and grabs the arrow in the middle of the air. Yeah. And, and I thought like it, to me, it looked like.

The way they did this scene was he had the arrow in his hand. He just swung his hand up really fast. But in the, I M B B it claims that the man who played the killer could actually catch arrows in mid-air was trained to do it and suggested this. I, I, I don’t know. I find that really hard to believe. Maybe, 

Craig: well, he’s a stunt man.

The guy that plays the killer is a stunt man and he’s, uh, trained in martial arts. So I don’t know. Maybe arrows go really fast. I, I, I certainly couldn’t catch one, but whatever. Maybe, 

Todd: maybe there’s a way to throw him slowly. 

Craig: Who knows? Maybe. So the, so he catches the arrow and then he. Stabs the coach with it.

Um, and so then it’s just the final girl, Courtney and the killer at the top of the staircase. And they scuffle briefly the killer steps in some rotten wood and kind of trips and loses his balance and loses his knife over the banister. And she takes advantage by grabbing a random board and wailing on him.

yeah. Wailing on him until he falls over. The ledge and drops, like, I don’t know, six stories or, or something. It it’s far. And, and he’s, you know, down at the bottom, splayed out blood coming out of his head and she goes down and of course it’s a slasher movie, so you gotta get that one last scarin, the, the killer grabs or ankle.

And so she grabs his knife, which is laying nearby and just stabs him repeatedly. Again, we don’t see it. We see the knife going up and down. Um, but we don’t see it actually going into the body. And this part had to be trimmed to keep the movie from getting an X rating, which makes absolutely no sense. No, there is no gore in this movie at all, but apparently in, in the initial cut, she stabbed him 18 times.

And apparently that was just too brutal. So they trimmed it down to. Which I guess made it it’s less brutal. right. Less brutal. And so they got there R rating. 

Todd: That’s six less brutal Craig, you know, there’s, 

Craig: I don’t even know that this movie would get a, I don’t think this movie would even get an R rating today.

I, I would imagine would get a PG 13. There’s no, there’s no nudity. There’s no, I don’t recall. Really any even 

Todd: swearing there’s a quick boob flash when, um, is there. When Lisa’s character is in the art studio and she disrobe and puts on wraps herself up. In a blanket to lure, which she thinks is the teacher, but ends up being the killer.

Yeah. I mean, it’s very 

Craig: brief. Yeah. It’s ultimately very tame, um, by today’s standards. But I would say even by 1981 standards, it was pretty tame and that’s it, you know, after she kills him, she goes out and sits on the stairs, uh, of the clock tower and just sits there and hangs her head and cries and the credits roll and, and it’s over.

Yeah. Uh, yeah. That’s that’s how I feel about it too. Yawn. Like it’s okay. I mean, we we’ve, we’ve certainly seen worse. Um, well, 

Todd: as is so bad. It’s good movie. I was actually chuckling, you know, again at the unintentionally funny bits, because there were, I think more than usual, I thought this movie was loaded with it from the killer popping out of a random.

To the insanely bad dialogue, some of the really terrible acting that was just so bad, it was cute. Oh my man, I, I, there were so many quotable lines from here, you know, that were just so hilariously bad that I enjoyed that aspect. The buildup, even though I got increasingly frustrated at the fact that nothing of significance was happening and that things that I thought were being set up for payoffs never.

Were going anywhere ne never ended up being significant. And like you said, the missed opportunities of the, of, of you could have had something really cool there with radish and a couple of the other characters that, you know, in the hands of a more competent writer. Um, somebody probably could have doctored the script up into something that would’ve been more interesting.

Ultimately it’s just, Ugh. Right. It was okay. It’s one of 

Craig: those, I, I hate to dog on it too much because it’s not awful. It’s just the, it’s not parti. I understand. Why not noteworthy? No, it’s not particularly noteworthy. And so I understand why I, I’ve not often heard it talked about, I, I don’t often see.

Referenced. Um, and I get why it’s just, it’s kind of forgettable. It’s not terrible. Um, and if you, you know, if you’re looking for an 80 slasher that you haven’t seen, whatever, it’s, it’s fine. It’s just, it’s nothing to write home about. 

But 

Todd: if you’re looking for something to goof on with some friends, I think this is pretty high on the.

Craig: I guess I didn’t find it that amusing. There were a couple of times that I laughed out loud because the lines were so silly. Um, mm-hmm my, my favorite thing about the movie was. the character of radish. I liked him. He was an endearing, charming character and, and actor. And you know, he, I lied. I said, I didn’t look up anybody.

That’s not true. I looked up, I looked him up. He’s a very successful producer today. He does mostly, uh, I think like made for TV, like, uh, lifetime, like romance type movies, but yeah, a lot yeah, a lot. And like multiple movies every year. Um, so he has gone on he’s very, very successful, so good for him. Yeah.

good. That’s it good for him? 

Todd: good for him. And there you go. Final exam. Yeah. Good for. Good for the slightly less annoying screech that we got in this movie. right. Right. Well, thanks again for listening. And this does wrap up our theme month of 1981 slasher movies. We hope that you had as much fun listening to it as we did.

Uh, we’ll have force more movies coming your way as always just, uh, give us a shout out online and let us know what you thought. This theme month. These movies. And this podcast, share it with a friend. If you can, you can find us if you just Google Two Guys and a Chainsaw podcast, just any one of those places you find us, whether it be a podcast hosting site where you wanna leave us a review or a webpage or Facebook page, where you leave us a comment or Aon page where you can, uh, throw a couple bucks our way every month and get a few, uh, special bonuses.

And just the joy in your heart of supporting us, keeping us going. We appreciate all of you listeners, no matter. And, and we love to interact with you as well. We love until next time. I’m Todd and I’m Craig with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.


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