Before I start reviewing the movie in a completely different font to norma,l, I have to point out how ‘The Burning’ looks exactly like ‘The Buming’ in arial….. we won’t be using that then. On my enforced break from the internet, I’m trying to keep up with the movie reviews, so readers (if there are any) should get a few all at once from me.
So…. The Burning. This is one of the more modern nasties, even though it’s an 80’s movie. For its time it was ok, not bad. If you’re a fan of ‘Friday the 13th’ movies, then you’ll most probably enjoy this one as the similarities can’t be avoided. I for one have never been a big fan of the ‘slasher V teenagers’ movies so I found it a bit dull and monotonous, but I think that’s just a question of my taste rather than a slur on the movie itself. In all it was pretty well put together, the acting wasn’t too bad and the premis was pretty straightforward and left no stray storylines.
The setting is Camp Blackfoot where the scene is set with a group of teenagers who play a very nasty trick on the caretaker Cropsy (who we find out later is a nasty piece of work who loves to scare and bully the kids on camp), The trick is only meant to scare him (it involves lighting candles inside a shiny skull covered in wormy things – looked quite nice without the worms if you ask me…). The trick backfires though and Cropsy is set alight in his bunk. A la Freddie Kruger, he is burnt beyond all recognition into some kind of freak and vows to have his revenge before flinging himself in the camp lake.
We now jump forward 5 years. Cropsy has recovered enough to be released from St Catherines hospital as there is nothing else they can do for him. He’s had all the psychiatric and physical help they can give him. We are treated to an idea as to his mental state by his reaction to a over zealous porter, who insists a new trainee doctor take a look at his burns in a scene reminiscent of ‘The Elephant Man’… “Look at the poor freak”. You would feel sorry for him, was he not a sadistic sod, the porter guy deserved what he got though, irritating bastard, although we didn’t get to see what he got.
The first murder we are treated to comes at the expense of a rather unattractive skanky, smoking (YICK!) prostitute who is so disturbed by the sight of Cropsy when lightening flashes and she catches sight of him, that she screams and demands he leaves. You would think she would have seen worse than a few burns really……she is treated to impaling on a pair of shears (Cropsy signature kill tool) .
So the idea is there. Sick, scarred killer released seeking revenge. Where do we go?? A teenagers camp of course, where else? We are treated to some untethered bouncing bosoms beneath a very tight top (completely unsuitable for playing rounders / baseball) and teeny tiny knickers on a girl with a backside like a teenage boy. Typical horny young men and coy but willing young ladies. Nothing much has changed even today with these stereotypes.
During the game, a ball goes stray into the woods where Cropsy is hiding in wait. A boyish young lady with a crap Purdy haircut named Tiger narrowly escapes death by shears when she finds the elusive ball just in time and clears off. So we sit back and wait for the teens to be picked off one at a time. While we wait we’re introduced to the various ‘victims’ - Alfred; a nerdy peeping tom who likes to follow his friends to spy on them naked in the shower or getting it on in the woods. Of course we know this is setting us up for him seeing a little more than he bargained for later on.
We also meet Glazer, a brain-dead jock with more in the way of muscle than brain, who has the hots for Sally, who to be honest did my head in. She is I suppose what men would call a tease and needs a good slap for her coy, tongue in cheek behaviour and constant rebuffals of Glazer, who I ended up feeling sorry for.
A scene I found quite amusing was when the guys were trying to impress the ladies at a lake by diving in. Alfred can’t swim, so Glazer thinks it would be amusing to push him in as he’s not amused that he has been spying on girls in the shower… cue much guppy-fish behaviour and coughing and spluttering. When he’s lifted onto the jetty by a friend and he’s moving around and coughing… the immortal lines “Are you alright? Are you breathing?” are uttered…. Exactly who is going to answer the “Are you breathing” part if he isn’t is anyones guess.
Eddie, I suppose what we would call a wide boy in the
. Boaster, ladies man, bit of a bad boy, who quite honestly doesn’t have a clue about women. UK
Karen, a shy, virginal, seemingly innocent young lady who seemed surprised that getting naked and going swimming with Eddie would make him want to do more than kiss. This culminates in her storming off into the woods naked, as her clothes have been strewn over various branches by that scamp Cropsy. She meets a nice demise by way of shears to the throat. Quite satisfying really, if she’d stayed and enjoyed herself, it wouldn’t have happened.
So, the older kids go on a 3 day canoe trip to Devils Creek (these names say it all really) we get the Cropsy story around a campfire and there is much merriment, attempted scares and usual behaviour you get in these movies. Its at this time we find out what a piece of work Cropsy was before the accident, so you understand why the boys did what they did back then.
After the disappearance of Karen in the woods, the kids are wondering whats happened to her and all fingers are pointing at Eddie. All the canoes are gone so it is assumed Karen left for the main camp as she was so pissed off at Eddie and accidentally released all of the canoes. A raft is duly fashioned and some of the kids head for main camp to retrieve the canoes. Enroute a solitary empty canoe is seen floating on the river. You can guess the next part… of course Cropsy is hiding in the canoe so when they row over to retrieve the canoe, every last one of them is dispensed with rather rapidly. I quite liked the no messing approach to the deaths here. No unnecessary suspense or faffing about. Hacked fingers, severed arm, sliced forehead, slit throat – muchos mess.
We leave the unfortunate youngsters on the raft and head back to Sally finally giving in to Glazer for what turns out to be a definite quickie. In a rare thoughtful moment, she decides to stay with him afterwards and he heads back to camp to get some matches to build her a fire. Cue Alfred being awoken and coming for a nosey. Well… girl naked in the wood, nosey parker… again I don’t think the next scene requires much forsight. Sally is already dead by the time Glazer returns, sadly we don’t get to find out how she met her end. Glazer ends up joining her in death and Alfred runs back to camp to raise the alarm. Camp Leader Todd to the rescue,!! although it’s a case of Cry Wolf as Alfred isn’t the most reliable witness. He soon finds out however that there is a madman on the loose as he gets whacked around the side of the noggin with the shears… why Cropsy didn’t kill him there and then I don’t know. Cropsy gives chase to Alfred…. So it looks like we have our 2 heroes as time tells me the movie is nearing its end.
Some incidentals happen in that the raft drifts back to camp with all the bodies on board. A girl swims out upon spotting the striken raft…. The age of chivalry is obviously dead … and discovers the gory scene by way of the severed arm falling out of the raft and a corpse bobbing up like a gruesome bobbing apple. Someone is sent for help… blah blah blah.
The final scene approaches. Alfred has been caught by Cropsy who has pinned him to a wooden door by his shears… again why the sympathy who knows? Todd finds Alfred and of course Cropsy appears and the final fight with the villain ensues. We have the revelation in this final scene that Camp Leader Todd was one of the original group who set fire to Cropsy (quelle surprise!) and he lights a flame thrower to seek his revenge. Enter Alfred in a final moment of brilliance where he stabs Cropsy through the back with his shears (so he got free himself??…). As Alfred and Todd leave, Cropsy does that thing only villains do where he rises again (where’s a bazooka or a grenade launcher when you need one?). Todd biffs him over the head in quite possibly the best possible kill in the movie (ironic its not from the movies murderer) and then he meets his end by way of the flame thrower… quite unfortunate really.
I empathised a bit with him as the kids were so damn annoying, so I just didn’t care who was dispensed with through out the movie. As a movie, its definitely watchable by the masses, ok, just not to my taste. Why it ended up on the list is anyones guess as it is the sort of thing my parents would have allowed me to watch when I was about 10 (well my mum would have fast forwarded any naughty bits, lol).
If I were recommending any movies from the list so far for anyone to watch, this is 1 of only 2 I would suggest (the other being The Beyond), lets hope we continue into some more watchable titles.
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