SPOILER FREE FOR FIRST FEW PARAGRAPHS (THERE WILL BE FURTHER WARNING BEFORE SPOILERS BEGIN)
Wow, I'm pleased to announce that I actually enjoyed this weeks movie! Don't get me wrong we're not talking "Oscar for best picture" (or for anything else for that matter) but it was a good, solid 80's slasher movie; if you like 80's slashers, and haven't seen "The Burning", stop reading at the next spoiler warning, and go see it. If you don't like 80's Slashers, I'm really not sure what you're doing here - but please don't go, we love both of our readers!
Seeing names like "Mirimax" and "Weinstein" in the opening credits was a bit surreal, and served as a reminder that the "Video Nasty" phenomenon was not something limited to independent movies and obscure dubbed foreign movies - Here is a "proper" Hollywood movie, that was actually prosecuted, in Britain, in living memory, for being 'Obscene'!
Speaking of the credits, I'll admit my hopes were raised when "Makeup effects by Tom Savini" flashed up; and he didn't disappoint (then, he never does).
If you've been following these 'reviews' (so, me and Lisa then...) you have probably noticed that I'm a Friday the 13th fan, and there's plenty here to remind you of these movies; enough that if it had gone wrong it would have been really annoying, but try to bear in mind that The Burning, at first glance, seems to owe much to FT13 2&3; but bear in mind that this was released in 1981, the same year as FT13pII, so they would have been in production at the same time.
At a summer camp (with a lake, no less) someone is involved, through the carelessness of others, in an accident that, by rights, should have killed him; 5 years later he shows up at a camp across the lake and starts picking off teenagers.
See? A few years later you would swear this was a Jason rippoff!
SPOILERS COMMENCE HERE
The difference in killer origin between here and FT13 is quite pronounced - for one thing, we at home are never lead to believe that Cropsy is dead - we see him in hospital (where tactless doctors gross each other out with him) and we're with him when he stops to pick up a hooker upon his release (Who makes the mistake of being openly horrified by scarred face, and is introduced to the pointy end of a pair of scissors for her poor etiquette). For another thing, his non-death (by burning, obviously) is the result of a prank-gone-wrong, rather than a pure accident.
The pacing was pretty good - in the films first 50 minutes the aforementioned hooker is the only kill - this gives us plenty of time to build suspense and learn who's who in our troupe of camping stereotypes, and means that when the kills do start coming, they come thick and fast - the best scene in the movie was the frantic 5 kill raft rampage, which would have been awesome on it's own merits, but is made more so by it's position in the film; we know that there has been a kill already (our campers don't) so when the 5-man raft finds one of the missing canoes they have been sent to look for I was utterly convinced they would find a body in it - instead Cropsy jumps out with his trusty shears and proceeds to off the entire population of the raft in about 60 seconds!
On the other hand, we are 'treated' to the most awkward and (thankfully - for us, not for the girl) brief, teen-sex scene ever. There's also a scene where a guy practically forces himself on a girl; he stops last minute, but not before he's earned (in horror movie terms at least) a death that's too long coming - in fact, the girl meets Cropsy's shears before he dose - fuck you movie!
I would love to have seen a sequel (as, it seems, would others - "the burning 2" is a suggested search on Google as soon as you type in "the burning") but, due mostly to shonky marketing, Cropsy cost twice as much to unleash on the public as the public paid to see him, and so the film was a monumental flop that may well have been forgotten but for the fact that the uncut version was accidentally released on VHS, and so it made the DPP list.
Body Count: 10
Animal Body Count: 0
Boob Count: 2 pairs
Most Memorable Kill: The 5-kid raft slaughter (if I had to pick just one I'd go with the extreme manicure...)
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