The Burning (1981)

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.

Rating: 7/10.
Gore: 8/10.

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  1. Saw this a few years ago, for the first time, and I enjoyed it. Read about the making of it recently in Famous Monsters of Filmland: Underground magazine and now here on your site! Want to see it again! Summer fun! ;)

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  3. Yeah, "The Burning" is pretty damn good. The raft scene is not only effective because it's so quick and brutal, but its high body count is comprised of just about all of the secondary characters, who while being typical dumb teens, are much more "innocent" than your typical camp slasher film victims. The first time I saw it, the scene made me think "not fair" in the back of mind, and made me wonder if Cropsy is going to sink so low as to start stabbing four-year-olds next.

  4. I love this film. Definitely one of the better slashers of the 1980s, even if it does rip off FRIDAY THE 13TH. That raft scene is an absolute horror classic.

  5. The film is notable for keeping Tom Savini from working on 'Ft13th: Part II' and being the first Miramax film (albeit in an early stage).

    Other than that, it's a decent slasher and nothing more. You couldn't toss in a ridiculous twist or anything? Odd.

  6. The cast makes all the difference for me here, I really like the teens, but find the movie pretty uneventful overall outside of the raft scene.