The Burning (1981)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
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A former summer camp caretaker, horribly burned from a prank gone wrong, lurks around an upstate New York summer camp bent on killing the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement. --IMDb
Brian Matthews
Brian Matthews
Leah Ayres
Leah Ayres
Brian Backer
Brian Backer
Larry Joshua
Larry Joshua
Jason Alexander
Jason Alexander
Review by Tristan
Added: September 15, 2007
Tom Savini just knows his stuff. I have never seen a movie he's been part of that didn't live up to my expectations in the gore department. From Friday the 13th to Dawn of the Dead, this man knows how to make things look good on screen. That being said, when I found out this movie was finally getting a DVD release, I was very excited. I've had a crummy downloaded version for years, which looked worse than you could imagine. Nothing ruins a movie's special effects more than fuzzy, pixelated body parts. While this movie is just like Friday the 13th in a lot of ways, it also has a pretty nice story, and Savini doesn't hesitate to show off some of his most creative kills yet.

It's night time at camp Blackwood, but one group of campers are still awake and planning a practical joke to play on Cropsy, the grounds keeper. The mischievous campers somehow managed to get a skull and lit candles in the eyes in order to scare Cropsy when he woke up. Unfortunately, Cropsy knocked the flaming skull onto his bed, setting himself on fire. Completely ablaze, he runs screaming from the cabin while the boys do nothing to help him. Cropsy then ends up in a hospital where a far from friendly intern is coaxing a fellow nurse to take a look at the burned mess he's become. Or as he put it "Big Mac. Overdone." We see a quick glance at the arm of Cropsy, which honestly does look like hamburger.

Five years later, Cropsy is only just being released from the hospital. Amongst the mix of voices you hear that the skin grafts did not take, and you can assume that he looks terrifying. Like any good burn victim, his first move is to pick up a prostitute. He may be a burn victim, but she's no prize herself. He quickly dispatches her with a pair of scissors. It actually made me cringe it looked so real.

Back at the camp, and there's a whole new bunch of kids there for the summer. They do the typical camper stuff, practical jokes, watching girls shower, etc. Everything kids do at camp. So I'm told, I've never been. Nothing much happens until some of the counselors and campers take a canoe trip down river. Nobody is of much interest, but it does feature Jason Alexander - in his debut role - as Dave, the camp prankster. Think Shelly in F13 Part III. With about the same amount of hair. Anyway, canoe trip. After the day's hijinks, the campers settle down around the fire where the head counselor tells them Cropsy's story. A couple of the kids decide to head down to the lake for a skinny dipping escapade, and we all know how that usually turns out. The next morning, the kids discover that the canoes are gone, and panic sets in. The counselors decide to build a raft, and send a handful of kids back up the river. This is when the movie really takes off. Cropsy roams the woods, taking out campers right and left in some of the most brutal ways I've ever seen.

Well there you have it folks. One film that truly deserves the praise it gets. I can see why it has become such a cult classic. It has a decent storyline, decent acting, decent gore, and oddly enough, is quite funny. Jason Alexander is hilarious, and totally stole the show in this one. It's no wonder he became such a star, he was hilarious in his film debut, and it was a horror movie. Except for a few moments with some weak dialogue, I found this movie to be flawless, and I suggest you pick up the DVD that was just released. It's been a long time coming, and they did a great job with the transfer. It looks amazing, sounds amazing, and it was pretty cheap too. $12.99 for a new release is pretty good in my books.

Chad #1: Chad - added 09/23/2007, 10:50 PM
Good movie with some great gore effects, but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. The first half of the movie is unbearably slow by slasher standards, but the second half makes up for it. For that, I'm going with something like 6.5/10.
bradbunson #2: bradbunson - added 10/30/2008, 12:16 AM
I just views this on TV. WAY BETTER than i thought it would be. I would recommend this film.
Frank Zito #3: Frank Zito - added 09/27/2010, 01:18 PM
One of the best slasher films ever made. Nuff said.
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