The Burning

 

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Sometimes there are classic movies that I ashamed to tell people I have never seen. It ruins my horror fan boy credibility and makes you think less of me. Well, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Charlie Brown, and I, have never seen 1981’s: The Burning.

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Ok, I said it, don’t hate me, just read my review and pretend I still have some balls.

The film starts out simple enough, a bunch of dudes at a summer camp; Camp Blackfoot plan a prank on the drunken camp caretaker named Cropsy (Lou David), the prank goes terribly wrong, and Cropsy is set on fire, then ends up being the most extreme case the local hospital’s burn unit has ever seen…. After a 5-year stay (yes, 5 years!!!) in the hospital Cropsy cuts outta there and for some reason decides to get and kill a hooker. Cut to camp Stonewater where we meet the unlucky “kids” who are going to be hunted by Cropsy and his weapon of choice: a pair of garden shears. Now when I say kids I use the term loosely: among our campers we find a group of sexy 80’s girls who get naked as often as I play guitar hero 2, a gaggle of 80’s dudes who wear half shirts and too-short cut off jeans, Jason Alexander (in his first role), Fisher Stevens (in his first MOVIE role), Holly Hunter (in her first role-get the point I am making yet…?) AND Brian Backer (in his Pre-Fast Times at Ridgemont High…in his first credited role). That’s a lot of celluloid virginity…Leave it to Harvey Weinstein to create an orgy like this…He wrote The Burning…and guess what??? It was HIS first film too!!!

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…Anyway, after Todd (Brian Matthews), the camp’s authority figure (who has a secret of his own), scares the fuck out of the kids (with ghost stories about Cropsy), they start dying off not unlike murder scenes from Friday the 13th (rumor is special effects/gore master Tom Savini didn’t do Friday the 13th part 2, because he was focusing on The Burning at the time of filming FT13th 2). That said, this is NOT a Friday the 13th copycat, it’s a slasher/revenge film set at a camp…I’m sure it was heavily INFLUENCED by (and the box office success of) Friday the 13th, but it’s NOT a copycat. The raft scene alone is one that stands out as original, awesome, gory mayhem…I loved it.

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This was a time of tank tops without bras, a skinny, not bald Jason Alexander, and pre-Weinsteinmania. A time when actors/actresses cut their teeth on horror films and genuinely look like they are having fun. While I, personally have never spent a day in my life at summer camp (the last time I went camping with friends I left the camp site in the middle of the night ‘cause I thought I heard a wild boar outside the tent-I’m crazy, I know) watching The Burning made me think I missed out on some teenage ritual (minus the whole everyone gets fucking slaughtered thing).

It’s a great little gem of a post Friday the 13th / pre Sleepaway Camp film that deserves the crisp as fuck print released last month (9/11/07) by MGM. Again, MGM made me smile both with the pristine widescreen uncut transfer AND the price (I picked this up at future shop in a 2 for $20 bin just ONE month after it’s release!) If MGM keeps this up they will start taking up as much room on my shelf as Anchor Bay/Starz and/or Synapse has over the recent years with the respect they are showing to their horror releases (and their fans).

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SO, in summary: It’s an awesome slasher film from 1981, it’s not a Friday the 13th clone, Tom Savini is a fucking genius, you get to see George Costanza’s ass (and he say’s “motherfucker”) it’s cheap and the transfer is excellent…and I am a really shitty camper.

…Ok, I am going to watch The Hills. Damn that Spencer guy is the funniest man on TV.

Charlie “Get the fuck out of my face” Brown

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~ by exploitnation on March 17, 2008.

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