A lost city... A cult of unholy warriors... And a boy's quest for the secret of his father's death.—The tagline
"'I'm Rowsdower. Zap Rowsdower.'"
"You know what? You lose me straight away when your movie's protagonist is named 'Zap Rowsdower'. The second I hear him identified as 'Zap Rowsdower' I am squeezing past you and climbing over your legs and muttering "excuse me" and I am getting the hell out of the movie. Only this time I couldn't because I was at work and I'm hourly and I had used up all my vacation and sick time. How about Plink Holmgren? Or Pow Flowhauer?"—Mary Jo Pehl
The Final Sacrifice is a noble but doomed attempt to film an old-fashioned adventure film in rural Canada with an ultra-low budget (around $1500) and an inexperienced cast and director. It is best known from its appearance on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Ruled by the evil Satoris, an ancient cult of Canadian wrestlers is bent on world domination. Instrumental to their plan is a map to the ancient Ziox cult idol, recently discovered by a young boy, Troy McGreggor. When the cult invades his home to recover the map, he flees and ends up in the bed of a passing pickup truck, driven by the film's Designated Hero--a burly, surly Randy Bachman-lookalike hilariously named Zap Rowsdower. At first Rowsdower considers turning Troy over to the police, but after Troy helps him to fix his broken-down truck and Rowsdower helps Troy escape from the cult leaders again, he decides to let Troy stay with him. Rowsdower and Troy become friends and together search for the lost idol before the cult can claim it and take over the world.
The map leads Troy, and eventually Rowsdower, all over Alberta, through some unlikely caves, and finally to the unkempt shack of a hairy, grizzled fugitive by the name of Mike Pipper. Pipper was a partner of Troy's father; he has been hiding in the woods from Satoris for seven years (who never found him, even though it took Troy and Zap a few days at most). Pipper reveals that the cultists are the last descendants of the Ziox, an ancient culture whose civilization was destroyed by their god after they turned away from it and worshiped an evil idol instead. According to Pipper the Ziox built a great city that was more advanced than "anything the ancient Egyptians or Romans ever knew", but their god sank the city in a yearlong rainstorm.
Eventually, Troy is captured by Satoris and his cult. Satoris means to make Troy the titular final sacrifice, which will give him an army of invincible zombie warriors. It's up to Rowsdower to save Troy and put an end to the cult's activities.
The Final Sacrifice contains Examples of:
- Achey Scars: Rowsdower's tattoo.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Troy, although he ranks as the wussiest one ever.
- The Alcoholic: Rowsdower. His empty beer bottles and flask do come in handy.
- Aliens in Cardiff: Eagle Hat is the center of the Ziox civilization.
- The Alleged Car: The Rowsdower-mobile, which apparently needs hard liquor to start it up.
- A-Team Firing: Throughout the film, most notably during a long car chase in which the villains spray the truck with bullets and yet fail to hit either of the truck's occupants. In another example, Rowsdower fires a shotgun at two cultists at near point-blank range and misses.
- Atlantis: It turns out the city was sunk because the Ziox worshiped a cheap mock up idol.
- The Atoner: Rowsdower is a former member of Satoris' cult.
- Awesome McCoolname/Fail O'Suckyname: In this case, Zap Rowsdower is a name so stupid that, thanks to the riffs, it became awesome.
- In the credits, the name "Kelly Zombor" is listed. The bots made sure to emphasize ZOMBOR... Kelly ZOMBOR.
- Badass: We're clearly supposed to buy Rowsdower as one, but... not really seeing it. Maybe if he did anything impressive or cool, like, ever, yeah, but as it is...
- Badass Longcoat: Satoris has one. The badass part is debatable.
- Big Bad: Satoris.
- Bond James Bond: "The name's Rowsdower. Zap Rowsdower." What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?
- Catapult Nightmare: Rowsdower has an unnecessarily dramatic yell after having a nightmare about getting his cult sign burned into his arm.
- Catch Phrase: Zap Rowsdower!
- Chewing the Scenery: Satoris gets a lot of these.
- Covers Always Lie: This was the cover for the US release of the film. There are no swords in this movie, and those two guys on the cover look nothing like either of the two actual leads.
- Cult/Religion of Evil: The goal of this particular religion is to raise an army of zombies to Take Over the World.
- Disappeared Dad: Killed by the cult in the beginning of the film.
- Eighties Hair: Zap Rowsdower's mullet. Satoris had one at the start of the film as well, before trading it in for a slick feather job.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Satoris. Just hearing him say "Zap Rowsdower!" just makes that name all the more funny.
- Fan Nickname: Garth Vader, for Satoris.
- Five-Man Band: Only three protagonists, but they fill the roles surprisingly well.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Rowsdower's tattoo
- Grumpy Old Man: Mike Pipper turned into one of these over time.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy
- Human Sacrifice: Well, it's part of the title.
- The Drifter: Zap, Canada's
worst greatestworst action hero.
- The Hero: It's debatable who's the hero here. The insufferable, useless wimp or the doughy, unlikeable asshole, hmm...
- Rowsdower does way more heroic stuff than Troy; it's even debatable as to whether Troy was responsible for setting right what went wrong.
- Improvised Weapon: During his final confrontation with Satoris (who's wielding a torch), Rowsdower uses a grappling hook. No not on a rope. There just happened to be an abandoned grappling hook nearby, which Rowsdower uses as a cudgel.
- Meanwhile Troy, in what is probably his first and only useful act, picks up the perfectly serviceable rifle from the exact same area.
- Inherently Funny Words: Rowsdower!
- Large Ham: Satoris loves to munch on the scenery and talk like
- The Lost Woods: Expect to see a lot of forest. The movie probably couldn't afford anything else...
- MacGuffin: The map to the idol....which is eventually rendered pointless when Satoris just torches it from a distance anyway for no reason.
- Magnetic Plot Device: The map to the idol.
- Malevolent Masked Men/Mooks: The black clad wrestlers.
- My Greatest Failure: Rowsdower's unsuccessful attempt to save Troy's father - Satoris left him alive afterwards just so his failure would continue to torment him.
- Nerd: Troy may just be the best example. Constantly lampshaded during the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode.
- Old Shame: Averted, at least for Bruce Mitchell a.k.a. Rowsdower. To this day he's a great sport about acting in this flick -even though neither he nor the rest of the cast received any compensation for the job- and doesn't consider any of his previous work a total waste (although we have a suspicion that Mitchell isn't returning Tjardus Greidanus' calls anymore).
- In an interview on the DVD release, Mitchell admits to never having seen the entire MST3K version of this film. Would one of our fellow MSTies to the north please do something aboot that?
- One-Scene Wonder: Mike Pipper has only a few minutes of screentime... but he's friggin hilarious.
- Older Sidekick: Rowsdower has the indignity of being the sidekick to a 97 pound weakling.
- Ordinary High School Student: Troy's pretty much ordinary other than the wrestlers coming after him.
- An ordinary high school studen should have more muscle mass than that.
- Precursors: Ziox.
- Tell Me About My Father
- Title Drop: Failed.
Satoris: You will be the last sacrifice! The last one...
- Too Dumb to Live: During the car chase, cultists fail to shoot at Rowsdower while he's setting up Molotov cocktails. Furthermore, when they're sent off road down a very gentle grade, they fail to attempt to brake or steer.
- Unexplained Recovery: Rowsdower is run down and struck on foot by a truck driven by the cultists chasing him. He lays motionless, then the next shot shows Rowsdower up and running with no ill effect. Or pursuers for that matter.
- Unfortunate Names: Rowsdower and also, the movie's director, Tjardus Greidanus:
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: One of the cultists, when they attack the house.
- Vocal Dissonance: Satoris sounds like a cross between Darth Vader and Jesse "The Body" Ventura.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Aunt Betty inexplicably has a British accent.
- You Killed My Father: Troy is led to believe that Rowsdower killed his father and loses faith in him. Eventually it's revealed that Rowsdower actually tried to prevent the death. Of course, since Satoris would have given the order, he's still the figure that gets the lion's share of the blame anyway.
- Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him: Satoris, after initially subduing Rowsdower and keeping him at bay by having every one of his goons pointing rifles at him...asks two of his minions to leave and kill him, thus providing Rowsdower with plenty of opportunity to escape. As opposed to just shooting him *right there* when he was helpless.
- Particularly heinous in that Satoris tells the minions, "Take him out to the woods and kill him." Telling them this as they're holding him right there in the middle of the woods, and no reason whatsoever that the spot they were at was any worse to execute someone than another patch of woods 100 yards west.