The Final Terror

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The Final Terror
Poster of the movie "The Final Terror".jpg
Directed by Andrew Davis
Produced by Joe Roth
Written by
Music by Susan Justin
Cinematography Andrew Davis
Edited by Erica Flaum
Paul Rubell
Distributed by Comworld Pictures
Release date
  • November 4, 1983 (1983-11-04)[1][2]
Running time
82 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Final Terror (also known as Carnivore, and internationally Campsite Massacre) is a 1983 American horror film directed by Andrew Davis, and starring Rachel Ward, Daryl Hannah, Adrian Zmed, and Joe Pantoliano. The film originally went through many working titles such as The Creeper, Three Blind Mice, and The Forest Primeval, but during production it was filmed under the title Bump in the Night before ultimately being released as The Final Terror. The plot follows a group of forest rangers camping in the Northern California wilderness who find themselves fighting for their lives against a backwoods feral killer hunting them as prey. It blends elements of survival thrillers and slasher films.

The film was shot on location in 1981 in the Redwood forests, and was not released for two years due to the production searching for a distributor. It was eventually released in 1983 to capitalize on the rising fame of its young stars (namely Ward, Hannah, and Zmed), and co-stars Pantoliano in one of his early roles. In recent years, the film has developed a small following.[3]


A young couple named Jim and Lori loses control of their motorbike while riding in a forest. With Jim hurt, Lori finds no help and returns, only to find Jim dead hanging from a tree before she is killed by a trap. Weeks later, a group of campers consisting of Dennis, Margaret, Wendy, Marco, Nathaniel, Boone, Eggar, Vanessa, Mike, and Melanie, arrive at the forest. The group makes a clearing and spend the night around a bonfire telling a story about a young woman who was raped and became insane enough to flee into the forest.

The next morning, the group discover that Marco and Eggar are missing. While the others search for them, Mike takes a swim with Melanie and later they have sex, during which Mike is stabbed to death by an camouflaged killer who then kidnaps Melanie. Nathaniel and Dennis find an abandoned cabin containing an old grave. Dennis enters the cabin and Nathaniel hears him scream, only for it to be a prank by Dennis trying to scare him. While searching the cabin for food and items, they find a severed wolf's head in a cabinet and are shaken before returning to the camp.

That night, the killer appears near Margaret in her sleep and she hysterically tells the others what she saw. The campers also find Marco, who has returned to the camp. After Vanessa gets angry at the men for scaring the girls, she walks off alone to the outhouse; she screams when Mike's severed head falls onto her, and the group comes to her aid. The group spends one more night at the camp, and unsuccessfully search for Melanie who they assumed was still with Mike. In the morning they go to the cabin to look for the killer, unaware that he is down in the basement with a captured Melanie, and they flee with the rafts after finding a human hand jar. While rafting along the river, the body of Melanie is tossed onto the boat by the killer which causes panic among the group. Burying Melanie near the river, the group continues on to the end of the river and find their empty, broken-down bus. They spend the night there, but the killer attacks and gets inside the bus before the group escapes out the back door. Wendy gets separated and is slashed by the killer, where the group comes to her and gives her first aid.

The group gathers supplies and camouflages themselves. Dennis climbs one of the highest trees, where he sets a spiked log trap. Marco begins calling out for Eggar, who appears and begins to strangle Marco. The group attacks Eggar, believing he is the killer. While Dennis is watching the rest of the group fight, the killer murders him from behind and rises up to scream; it is revealed that Eggar's missing mother is the killer. As she walks down to the group, she accidentally sets off the trap and is brutally impaled to her death. The film ends with the group watching in horror, as Eggar's mother hangs dead in the trap.




Filming for The Final Terror was shot in Redwood National and State Parks[4] and Crescent City, California[5] in 1981. During filming, the cast and crew stayed in Crescent City in California and would enter through the border before filming all day in Oregeon and also traveling along the Whitewater River. The director, Andrew Davis, was hired by Joe Roth and also served as the cinematographer, under the pseudonym Andreas Davidescu to avoid problems with the union at the time.[5]

When filming in the forests, sometimes the forest would get chillier and rain, causing the crew to get cold.[6] During this, Davis and Roth forgot their lines due to the cold weather.[6] During the shooting in the Whitewater River, the cast would sometimes cuddle together in-between shots to keep themselves warm before returning to their motel during shooting.[4] The crew even stayed nights in the bus while the weather was cold and damp outside.[5]

During shooting, there was a night that the locals gave them marijuana brownies and some of the cast was sent to the hospital. Accordingly, to Lewis Smith, it was assumed the locals didn't like the cast and crew staying in the area.[7] Upon driving in one of their cars, the crew had hit a Redwood tree and Smith cited their excuse was "someone putted the tree out on the street".[7]

According to Adrian Zmed, Davis would do constant shooting, and the scene with Zmed's character howling was done in estimated 15-20 takes. After the scene was completed, the cast was laughing from all of the takes.[4] Zmed also mentions that his difficult scene was when Eggar was strangling his character Marco, and the time he didn't know how to act in physical pain, so he asked stunt-woman Jeannie Epper to squeeze the rope harder, which helped.[4] The cast actually did their own stunts for the most record, especially Davis.[4] In the log-trap creation scene where Dennis Zorich was climbing up the tree, they used real tree-climbers helping them and used logging techniques.[5]

Actor Joe Pantoliano was afraid of going into the woods during shooting and would get freaked out.[5] After production was completed, the cast would go to the motel and spend time in each other's rooms, playing cards or watching television.[4]


After production for the film was completed, the film was shelved for a three years until 1983 as the production searched for a distributor; the film only had three deaths, so the beginning scene with the couple getting killed was filmed in order to have a higher chance of a distributor picking up the film. However, the scene was shot without the director's permission, so Roth had to pay a fee, some of it coming from Davis' small wedding at the time.[5] The film, during production, was originally titled Bump in the Night.[5]

The film came into home video on VHS in the mid 1980s and later had a DVD release in the 2000s. In July 2014, Shout! Factory subsidiary Scream Factory released the film in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, which contains the R-rated version. Accordingly, the film had lost all of the original negative and inner-positive are all lost and Scream Factory went through six film prints lent by film collectors to deliver the best looking reels for the combo pack.


Currently on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 29% approval rating with an average rating of 3.9/10 based on 7 reviews. AllMovie gave a 2.5 rating, citing the film as "mediocre" and recommending "worth watching more for its cast than for its cliched story".[8]

Joe Yandrick of Diabolique Magazine gave the film 3/5 stars. While he praised the direction, score, and acting (particularly Pantoliano and Friedrich), he criticized the pacing and the lack of originality within the story. He mentions the ending's reveal as "unpredictable", but also felt "cheapened" the whole film. Overall, he concluded that the film was "a fun, but flawed attempt to capitalize on the growing slasher market." [3]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ a b Joe Yanick (August 10, 2016). "The Final Terror (US Blu-Ray review)". Diabolique Magazine. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Adrian Zmed (2014) Interview (Blu-Ray). Scream Factory.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Andrew Davis. Audio Commentary (Blu-Ray). Scream Factory.
  6. ^ a b Adrian Zmed (2014), Lewis Smith. Interview (Blu-Ray). Scream Factory.
  7. ^ a b Lewis Smith (2014). Interview (Blu-Ray). Scream Factory.
  8. ^ "The Final Teror (1981)". AllMovie. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 

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