Final Exam (1981) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A psycho killer shows up on college campus to slash up pretty co-eds and dumb jocks.

  • In a small college in North Carolina, only a select few students are left to take mid terms. But, when a killer strikes, it could be everyone's final exam.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • It is midnight at March College and the quarterback and his date kiss in his car when a killer attacks and kills both of them.

    The next day at nearby Lanier College, it is the end of the semester and the campus is almost empty as the last students take final exams. Mark (John Fallon) and his girlfriend Courtney (Cecile Bagdadi) are on their way to their chemistry test when Radish (Joel S. Rice) joins them with news of the two murders. Meanwhile, the unknown killer (Timothy L. Raynor) arrives on the campus, driving a black van, and begins spying on potential new victims.

    In the classroom, the teacher, Dr. Reynolds (Don Hepner), leaves two grading assistants in charge and goes to his office to meet an attractive student, Lisa (DeAnna Robbins), who offers to rendezvous for sex that evening. In the chemistry classroom, Radish finishes the test first and is quickly followed out the door by Wildman Chambliss (Ralph Brown), a football player who claims he has better things to do than take a test. The Coach (Jerry Rushing) greets them outside the building and Radish promises to complete the equipment inventory after his next exam.

    A short time later, Courtney finishes the test and leaves the building as a van appears with assailants wearing ski masks, who open fire on students. Several students are shot while others scream and hide. Inside the classroom, as the grading assistants witness the massacre, Mark "grades" his test with a score of 82, hides it in the middle of the graded tests and leaves the room. Outside, the shooters grab the bodies of their victims, shove them inside the van and drive away. Radish runs to an office and calls the sheriff, but Lisa and Courtney realize the van was Wildman's and the "shooting" was a Gamma fraternity prank and that the "victims" were frat guys from Gamma.

    In the cafeteria, Lisa and Courtney sit with Janet (Sherry Willis-Burch) and her boyfriend, Gary (Terry W. Farren), a Gamma pledge. Mark, a Gamma leader, pulls Gary outside and orders the pledge to break into another teacher's office to steal the next day's test. Gary is hesitant until Wildman joins them and pressures him to do it. Wildman and Mark then join the crowd as the sheriff arrives to investigate the shooting. Radish now realizes the shooting was a prank, but he did get the license number of the van. The sheriff is furious when he learns the van is registered to Wildman's father, John Chambliss, and he wants to arrest the students, but Coach and Mitch (R.C. Nanney), the campus security guard, convince him to let the matter drop. The sheriff reluctantly leaves as Coach and Mitch confirm plans to meet early the next morning to go hunting.

    Later that afternoon, Courtney studies while her roommate, Lisa, brags that she never has to study if she has male teachers. Courtney goes to Radish's room for aspirin and admits she is jealous of how easy life is for her beautiful roommate. As Courtney walks back to her room, she does not notice the Killer watching from the stairwell. Janet arrives, announces that she and Gary got "pinned," and asks them to keep it a secret so Gary's fraternity brothers will not torture him for going steady with a girl.

    Meanwhile, Wildman and Mark burst into Radish's room and, as Wildman berates Radish for calling the sheriff, Mark pockets Radish's keys. Later, Gary sneaks into a teacher's office and steals the test. His fraternity brothers wait outside and demand to know what happened to Gary's pledge pin. When Gary admits he gave the pin to Janet, they strip him to his underwear, tie him to a tree, soak him with water, dump ice into his underwear and leave him to be rescued by Janet. Another student, Elizabeth, runs to tell Janet but cannot find her.

    At the Gamma fraternity house, Mark receives a phone call from students who want drugs. He gives Radish's keys to Wildman, insisting they can make a fortune by stealing pills from Coach's office and suggests they blame it on Radish. Meanwhile, Mitch sees Gary but will not interfere with tradition and leaves the pledge tied to the tree. Elizabeth finally finds Janet but, before she reaches Gary, the Killer cuts his ropes and stabs him to death. Janet arrives, follows a trail of Gary's clothes and is also murdered by the assailant.

    In the gym, Wildman vandalizes the locker room before stealing the pills. As he crosses the gymnasium, the scoreboard lights up and he sees the Killer watching him. Wildman attacks but he is no match for the dark-haired, burly, super strong killer as their fight moves into the workout room which results in the Killer wrapping Wildman's neck with some wire attached to a weight machine and snaps Wildman's neck.

    At the dorm, Radish stops in Courtney's room before going to complete the equipment inventory. For her own safety, Radish suggests she lock her door, then awkwardly admits he thinks she is pretty. Elsewhere, Mark tires of waiting for Wildman, goes to the gym and finds his friend's body inside a locker. The Killer chases Mark and stabs him to death.

    A short time later, Radish arrives at the gym and discovers Mark's body. He calls for help but the sheriff does not believe him (as a result of the shooting spree prank earlier) and refuses to come. Radish run over to the dorm to protect Courtney, knocks on her door and the killer attacks him. Courtney returns from the vending machines to find Radish's body stuck in her smashed door. No one else is in the dorm, so she runs outside and discovers Mitch's body in his car.

    Meanwhile, in another building, Lisa undresses in anticipation of Reynold's arrival, but the killer shows up first and stabs her. When Courtney arrives looking for Lisa, the killer chases her. He follows Courtney into the cafeteria where she tricks him into thinking she is in a freezer, then pushes him inside and locks the door. The killer bursts free through a second door and chases her to the campus tower. As Courtney runs up the stairs, Coach arrives to pick up Mitch for their hunting trip. Hearing Courtney's screams, Coach grabs his bow and arrow, then rushes into the tower. He shoots at the killer, who catches the arrow and stabs Coach with it. The killer almost catches Courtney on the top landing, but his foot is caught in a hole. She grabs a wooden post, hits him and his knife flies over the railing. She attacks until the killer falls over the edge and crashes to the ground several floors below. Courtney cautiously descends the stairs but, as she moves past the seemingly dead man, he grabs her. Courtney lunges for the knife and repeatedly stabs the killer until he is dead at last.

    In the final shot, Courtney then walks out of the building and sits alone on campus as the sun rises.

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