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Bad Movie Tuesday: Fatal Exam (1988, or 1990), a lame 80s horror slasher movie that deserves to remain forgotten.

August 31, 2021

MY CALL: First off, please do not confuse this with the cult classic Final Exam (1981). This movie is boring, horrible and… boring. I won’t get these two hours of my life back. Don’t watch it. I hated this. Truly… I’m never watching it again. MORE MOVIES LIKE Fatal Exam: You should probably watch Prince of Darkness (1987) or Final Exam (1981) instead. No further explanation needed.

The premise feels like it’s playing off the story of The Amityville Horror (1979) and Poltergeist (1982) as a group of college students are recruited by their parapsychology professor to spend a weekend in a purportedly haunted murder house in lieu of taking a final exam. Naturally, the students opted for the murderhouse weekend. LOL. During this excursion the students are to perform experiments and, you’d expect anyway, that weird things would start happening.

I’m 54 minutes into this movie and all that’s happened is someone probably dreamed seeing a severed head in a coffee table. That’s it… in 54 minutes? I’m about to quit writing horror reviews. This movie is beyond lame.

Eventually they witness the sword-wielding ghost of a man who hacked up his wife years ago. Why a sword, you may ask? Because the filmmakers probably had access to a free prop—and it was a sword. As something of a story begins to unfold, I remain incredibly bored. The story is dumb. The exposition is dumb. The red herrings are dumb. I kind of want all these students to just leave the house and take the paper exam so we can roll the credits.

In the basement they discover a hidden trap door leading deep below the house. It doesn’t lead anywhere satisfying. When a cloaked killer emerges with a scythe, we witness a horrendously clunky death scene. I mean, a scythe is not meant for the close-quarters environment of a basement stairway. Worst death scene ever. I might have to drop this into the forbidden zone of unwatchable movies with Boardinghouse (1982).

Having now seen all three films in my Home-Grown Horrors volume 1 pack from Vinegar Syndrome, I can confidently place this movie well below the actually pretty cool Winterbeast (1992), and even below the regrettably bad Beyond Dream’s Door (1989). Still, for the sake of some very weird, basically lost-in-time movies, the Home-Grown horrors pack may just be right up your alley.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2021 1:17 pm

    If the parapsychology teacher lives, he’s going to have a hell of a lawsuit on his hands. 😛

    • John Leavengood permalink
      August 31, 2021 6:13 pm

      A lot of horror would end in interesting legal questions. Years ago on the podcast we joked about what would happen to Jessica Chastain at the end of Mama with the literal disappearance into thin air of one of her recently adopted children. lol. The movie just ends… like everything would be fine.

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