Oh, please, just one more sacrifice!
The Final Sacrifice (1990): 2 out of 10: A young boy follows his father’s footsteps in investigating a dangerous cult in the Canadian wilderness that is attempting to resurrect an ancient civilization.
The Good: Well, the movie only cost $1500 and I can honestly say that money is on the screen. Somewhere. In addition, it allowed for a pretty decent MST3K episode that some folks claim is the greatest ever.
The Bad: The chief hero is a denim wearing middle aged drunk afflicted with hockey hair and named Zap Rowsdower. (The late Bruce J. Mitchell). Our other lead (Christian Malcolm) is a young boy whose mannerisms and physical frame make him seem like he is the lead in a gay porn film called The Twink at the Truck Stop.
Outside of one elderly aunt in the film’s beginning, there are no woman to be found anywhere (shades of Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale). Other characters include a grizzled prospector straight out of Rock Ridge, a lead bad guy who looks like he has a MLM scheme to sell you, and masked mooks with machetes that seem as if there are going to catch thier death in those tank tops.
On some level, the plot is creative and certainly ambitious. On the other hand, this is a student film that too often veers from an action movie to LARPing session captured on film. It is impressive in a good for them; they made a movie kind of way. And unlike some other ultra low-budget films I have reviewed, you can actually see the actors and what is going on.
The Ugly: Well, for starters, chances are you are watching this film on a television that costs more than the film itself. (See Above). In addition Shout! Factory somehow lost the rights to the film. The DVD it was on (Number 17, which also included The Crawling Eye, The Blood Waters of Dr. Z and The Beatniks) is out of print. The rights holder for this film, a film that cost $1500 to make and none of the actors got paid for, aggressively takes down any attempts to post the episode on YouTube and forbids the episode or the movie to be streamed anywhere.
Now, while on some level, this might be considered a public service. In reality, it comes across as a bizarre, petulant tantrum against the show that is the only reason anyone anywhere ever saw your movie in the first place. As Tom Servo observes through song in the episode itself, it is the kind of behavior one might expect of a great evil or a Canadian.
In Conclusion: The Final Sacrifice’s greatest sin is that it simply sits there somewhat inert. There is no stand out scene. It tries to tell an ambitious story with no hope of coming anywhere near the budget, acting, or competence to pull it off. Saying there are worse movies (And there are) is complementing with faint praise indeed. Watching a bunch of guys chase each other throughout the Canadian wilderness while shouting nonsense is no one’s idea of a good way to spend ninety minutes.
Mystery Science Theater Review
Mystery Science Theater 3000 Ep. 910: 7 out of 10: As I note above, some people consider this the greatest MST3K episode ever. While Paste Magazine’s herculean review of all 197 episodes (Including more than one Hercules film) is an amazing feat. But when it comes to thier pick of the greatest episode of all time, Like Marge Gunderson might say. ” I’m not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your movie review work there, Paste.”
Now don’t get me wrong, they include my three of my favorite episodes in their top five. (Space Mutiny, Werewolf, and Night of the Blood Beast.). Night of the Blood Beast being included is particularly impressive, as I have always regarded it as a very hidden gem. (There are dozens of us).
But also in the top five are Cave Dwellers and The Final Sacrifice taking up valuable real estate from, say, Manos: The Hands of Fate or The Pumaman. I know, I know, make my own damn list. Like Cave Dwellers, The Final Sacrifice is an above average episode, but it simply never clicked for me the few times I have seen it. It is worth catching, but I wouldn’t be paying over $100 for a bootleg DVD out of a trunk of a car in some convention parking lot.
An above average MST3k episode of a strange and sometimes very boring movie.