Back of Box:
On a moonlit evening many years ago, a group of young campers played a trick on Cropsy, the camp caretaker. The trick
backfired, and Cropsy became a horribly disfigured maniac, a mutilated killer with a thirst for revenge.
THE BURNING is the suspenseful, terrifying account of the demented Cropsy's return
to summer camp, and of the trail of blood he leaves in the dark woods. His sinister presence shadows the sunny, sexy
fun of the campers, and Cropsy stalks his victims, ruthlessly pursuing his macabre revenge.
Great performances by Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) and Holly Hunter (O' Brother
Where art Thou), frightening special effects by Tom Savini, and the spectre of crazed killer combine for a horror feature
that's a spectacle of shocks.
Plot: Alright, so
the prank gone wrong/revenge story has been done before, but this little ditty takes us to summer camp. It's based on
a real legend, so that keeps it from being too over-the-top. However, that also keeps it from being overly
original. Regardless, it was handled well. A regular slice 'n' dice. What's not to love?
Acting: You know,
for an early '80s film, the acting didn't bother me at all. Everyone seemed really sincere and looked like they were
having a good time. Standouts include; Sally (Carrick Glenn), Woodstock (Fisher Stevens), Todd (Brian Matthews), Michelle
(Leah Ayres), and Dave (Jason Alexander).
Gore: Body Count (10)
This film packs some dynamite in this department. Savini shows us once again that he is truly a Gore God.
Not only does he show off his masterful throat slit skills (Among others), he gives us one of the most memorable
moments in slasher history. I'm not going to say much except: It's referred to as the "raft" scene and you have
to see it (Uncut, of course).
Suspense: A lot of
this film's suspense comes in short spurts. Usually in the form of a randomly tense death scene, underscored by
an extremely well done soundtrack. The suspense highlight would have to be Cropsy's cat and mouse games with
Todd and Alfred in the ruins, near the end of the film. Good stuff.
Directing: I admire the
very fluid camera work, it kept things moving. Not only that, but a lot of the sweeping shots gave amazing justice to
the film's beautiful settings. On top of that, I have to give credit to Maylam for his great P.O.V. work. The
camera movement itself was creepy, but the blurred edges around the P.O.V. shots added something uniquely scary.
Tech: Most of the
good stuff in this movie happens during the day. Despite this, the lighting maintained a very soft and eerie feel.
A lot of the suspense is drawn from the soundtrack, so I have to mention how amazing it is. The title theme alone is
download worthy. The sound was the only thing that really let me down. I mean, it was fine during the dialogue,
but way to loud when the screaming set in.
Other: Weapon of Choice:
Garden Shears...I love it! I also love the fact that Cropsy didn't wear a mask. It added a certain mystery and
anticipation to what he really looked like. Last, but not least, I want to mention the Cropsy legend. It's connected
to my favorite scene in the whole film. A wonderfully lit campfire set up, the right mood music, and one hell of
a good campfire story. It might not sound like much, but the scene gives me chills.
Final Word: Possibly one of the best slasher
films to come out of the '80s. I'm not going to lie, the film lacks a little in the plot and acting departments,
but it more than makes up for it with its gore and suspense. It's a must see for horror fans, in general. "Raft"
scene, 'nuff said.