The teens at Camp Blackfoot play a mean prank on Cropsey the Caretaker that leaves him horribly disfigured. Five years later, Cropsey returns to a nearby camp for revenge! Although it is commonly cited as being an imitation of FRIDAY THE 13TH (which, in itself, is an imitation of HALLOWEEN), THE BURNING was allegedly written a year before the seminal camp classic, but it would not be released until a year later. The film follows a strict Slasher formula in the typical Agatha Christie style, where the mindless characters are separated from the group and killed off in a number of grisly fashions, usually after committing some sort of 'sin' like smoking pot or having sex. Each of the campers fall into the average teen stereotypes, but unlike in FRIDAY THE 13TH, they are all likeable kids that the audience doesn't want to see hurt. This is what really separates it from other similar titles of the time like THE PROWLER or GRADUATION DAY, especially since the murder and mayhem doesn't really begin until the hour mark, leaving the teens to carry the film until then. Tom Savini's special effects take center-stage again as Cropsey slices throats, chops off fingers, and slashes foreheads in the bloodiest river rafting trip of all-time! Director Tony Maylam helps to lend credibility to Cropsey's deadly garden shears by constantly having them chop and slice into wooden objects so that the audience never doubts that this is a cheap rubber knife. Despite its complete lack of originality and expectantly one-dimensional characters, THE BURNING is one of the better single-serving Slashers that has developed a huge cult following over the years for its high body count and grueling gore.
If you liked THE BURNING, check out:
FRIDAY THE 13TH, SLEEPAWAY CAMP, MADMAN, THE PROWLER.