An excellent 80's slasher; better than Friday the 13th in my opinion. Poor Cropsy a teen camp caretaker gets horribly burnt in a cruel prank by a group of campers, survives but spends 5 years suffering in hospital subjected to unsuccessful skin grafts etc before leaving terribly disfigured and more than a bit peeved to lash out at all and sundry though gravitates back towards 'Blackfoot Camp' to wreak his vengeance against the soon to be unhappy campers who reside there.
A bit of a slow burner, there is only one slaying within the first half of the film but then all hell is set loose and Cropsy really goes to work with his garden shears. Featuring a good protagonist in Cropsy, good killings with one stand out set piece of slaughter in particular, great special effects by Savini, nudity, and a nice straight-forward story The Burning has lots to recommend though is unlikely to convert those who just don't like slasher type films. Hadn't seen it for 20 years and was really impressed with how the effects still looked great, a so much better time for horrors before the advent of CGI. Excellent all round.
on 26 October 2010
Any fan of the genre of 80's horror will love this movie, but beneath the norm of gory deaths, naked teens and campfire stories there lies a truly great movie behind the surface. The storytelling is great, the build up and character development is sensational for a slasher movie, and if the wonderfully gruesome special effects aren't enough to keep you hooked the magnificent plot will. Apart from a great story this movie does what many other in it's genre fail to do - scare you! There are many edge-of-your-seat moments and genuinely frightening scenes. Overall it is a great movie which is underrated by many, I would put it up there with the likes of Friday 13th and Halloween, it's a shame it doesn't get recognized in popular culture like the two aforementioned do because it's really a top drawer horror movie. It's refreshing that an 80's slasher movie can have such an original plot and back-story, but it doesn't stray too far from it's roots leaving both hardcore horror fans and casual movie watchers satisfied.
on 29 March 2014
Wot a great 80s "slasher" flick ..... It has ALL the required ingredients :-
1. "Psycho killer" with a grudge (and a vicious pair of shiny shears)
2. Camp FULL of "unsuspecting youths" in their late teens
3. "Horny guys" hoping to get laid
4. "Luscious girls" in need of a shower or a skinny-dip
5. "Bad boy" picking on the "sad loser"
6. "Handsome hero" ready to save the day
7. Atmospheric music (by "Rick Wakeman")
8. FANTASTICALLY REALISTIC horror effects (by "The Master" - Tom Savini).
The basic story surrounds a Camp Caretaker ("Cropsy"). He is an ugly, evil so-and-so, who takes great pleasure in tormenting/scaring the young campers, by stalking them and sharpening his nice shiny shears (you know, the ones with the long, thin blades !). However, he pushes some of the lads TOO far, and they set out to get their revenge. Unfortunately, their prank goes wrong (heh, big surprise !), and poor ole Cropsy ends up a "BURNING" mass! 5 Years later, he is released from hospital, with the sound advice of .... "try not to blame anyone". Sadly he doesn't listen, and dusts off his shears to go "a-hunting"! Through a series of violent killings, he slowly works his way through his batch of "fresh meat" (hack, slice, stab, cut, slit, and sever!!) The special horror effects by Mr Savini are incredibly gory and frighteningly realistic (especially when you consider that they were done in the early 80's).
This is probably "THE BEST" slasher flick EVER. Good story, interesting characters, believable acting, atmospheric music, GREAT special effects, and solid direction. A special thanks to Tony Maylem for the story and direction. Tom Savini for the SUPERB effects. And Carolyn Houlihan for her great nude skinny-dip (and unfortunate but realistically GORY exit from the movie). Oh, and you will also see some very early film appearances from Fisher Stevens, Holly Hunter, and Jason Alexander. If you like classic & CLASSY slasher flicks, then WATCH (& OWN) THIS FILM !!!
Sadly the UK video version I saw back in the early 80's, already had 10-20 seconds removed (although Thorn EMI "accidentally" re-introduced the full uncut version "by mistake", & had to immediately withdraw it again & replace it with the BBFC approved cut version). I now own the remastered US Region 1 DVD from MGM with the full, uncut version & it looks great. I will also be getting it on blu-ray, as soon as a UK compatible version is available, as I the recent Shout Factory US release may be Region A locked!
I am also thinking of having a "stab" at updating the story slightly, to submit if for a "well deserved modern remake", since other remakes have been so successful (e.g. the remake of Friday the 13th actually improved upon the original 1980 version)
Richies Rating = 82%
on 28 February 2015
A group of boys play a prank on the camp caretaker Cropsy, but the prank goes badly wrong and he is burned and horribly disfigured. A few years later and upon leaving hospital Cropsy is out for revenge and goes to the camp to slaughter those he blames.
One of the very best early 80's slasher movies with many positive points, the special effects by Tom Savini are excellent , the performances are unusually for this kind of thing very decent including some soon to be famous faces- Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter, Fisher Stevens, the direction is competent, the look and feel of the production overall way surpassed my expectations and the fact they used a real urban legend in Cropsy as the maniac was a real bonus. The movie also conjures up a modicum of tension also the raft and cave scenes are particularly good. The only real downside however is the lack of originality thanks in no small part to the previous years Friday The 13th, which did make me feel I'd been here before. Head and shoulders above many of it's contemporaries this does stand out among films of the time with the fact it's just a very good film.
Thorn EMI who released the film in the UK on home video in 1982 in error released the uncut version not the BBFC slightly trimmed version and this uncut version subsequently landed on the video nasty list in 1983, this also clearly gave the film some of it's notoriety.
***SPOILER ALERT*** Wonderful film, with some of the greatest murders in the history of slasher films. I mean the raft massacre was so brutal. It was one minute of pure blood and guts, from fingers flying to heads being cut open, and even though I know this is going to happen when the kids were heading towards the canoe, it still shocks me, this is a horrific scene and one I will never forget, and it's up there with the best.
The great thing about this film is the acting, it has to be one of the best I have ever seen from the 80s era, which made the film very intense and a joy to watch. I have read that most film critics at the time did not think highly of this film, which led to the film being a flop at the cinemas, but with the cult following which followed the VHS release,(good old fans again) they are now changing their views. For me and most horror fans who love this film, know it's pure class when they first see it. This is a brilliant film with a great cast/plot and direction. Hopefully their will be a UK Blu-ray release soon, as the yanks release is region locked, once again.
on 15 July 2012
I watched this unknown early 80's slasher gem today and boy was i entertained and scared.
The film starts out very exciting and really maintains this through the duration of the film. The film is slow to get to the murders but the laughs of what goes on in the camp through the filler bits make up for it. The characters aren't that bad, none of them were that boring and their is the hilariously cocky and stupid Glazer (I known what sought of a name is Glazer?!) and boy he gets what he deserves. I wont spoil the film for you but i will comment on Tom Savini's goretastic effects, the effects in this film are so awesome and special effect artist legend Tom Savini really shows of some of his best stuff in this movie, Savini is famous for his effects on movies such as Friday the 13th 1 and 4, Rosemary's Killer, TCM 2 and many other famous movies. The Burning was actually written before Friday the 13th, so really it's the first camp slasher. Even though it is a hefty price in the UK, I HIGHLY recommend this film.
If you are a slasher fan, this film is a must and if you like being scared and having a laugh you should definitely get this gem of a horror movie.
on 13 July 2014
Growing up I always enjoyed a good old horror movie and sadly this was one I never got to see but had heard it managed to scare back in the day mostly due to the lack of music as it approached a sudden scene that made you jump and so the lack of warning that most other slasher flicks gave you was used well in 'The burning'. Determined to see the movie I noticed it was quite hard to get a hold of for a decent price and so I was very happy to see it available on Amazon Prime. To be fair I think its censorship was undeserved back in the day, I don't feel it was any worse then movies like Friday the 13th .Speaking of which I feel having just seen both movies again that 'The Burning' is actually the more superior of the two with action happening a lot quicker than in Friday the 13th and genuine scares compared to voorhees first outing. Acting is not great but its not terrible either. All in all a really enjoyable 80s horror flick that deserved a lot more recognition then just the fact that it was one of the many victims of the 'video nasties' list
on 16 November 2002
For a slasher film belonging to the Vipco horror label this film is actually very good. Of course, only fans of the genre will truly like it, as people who don't like these type of films will probably detest it.
THE BURNING has some notoriety as being one of the goriest slasher movies ever made, and it is easy to see why it has built this reputation in this new uncut version of the film. Tom Savini, the make-up artist best known for his work on the latter two of Romero's zombie trilogy (he also directed the 1990 remake), was responsible for the impressive gore effects, and they are indeed very gory.
The story is familiar: a group of kids play a prank on someone, it goes wrong, then the person comes back and takes his revenge. In THE BURNING, the sadistic caretaker of a summer camp is burnt practically beyond recognition in a prank gone wrong, and after five years of unsuccessful recovery in hospital, ventures out to exact his revenge on the teenage population of various summer camps.
Where this film rises above such trash as FRIDAY THE 13TH is its inclusion of some actual sub-plots. A teenager is constantly bullied, there are various relationships taking place, things like that. On taking a canoe trip the teenagers later find that their canoes have been taken, and have to deal with being stranded in the woods as well as being terrorised by a disfigured serial killer (whose face we get to see in all its gory detail at the end of the film).
The acting is good for a slasher flick, and there are some actors in the film that have gone on to make names for themselves today (look out for a young Holly Hunter; believe me, I couldn't spot her until I read the filmographies on the DVD).
While not a patch on HALLOWEEN, this is really an above average horror film, with its fair share of humour, shocks and gore. Definetly one of the few good Vipco horror films.
This movie I think gets a mention in the commentary on the Simpsons Tree House of Horror in which grounds keeper Willy becomes a Freddy Kreuger style killer and I think also in the humour section How To Survive A Horror Movie. The character of Cropsy, the hell bent for revenge killer, is a lot like the "Scissorman" featured in the Clocktower games for the playstation too.
This is one of the original summer camp slayer movies and there are lot of people who act in the movie who will be familiar to viewers from elsewhere, having gone on to other movies or appearing in TV series.
Thematically this movie is like a lot of the clones that have appeared since, kids at a summer camp like to tell tales of a sinister quasi-supernatural, disfigured personage from the camp's past who will one day return to exact horrible vengence upon camp counsellors and campers for past wrongs suffered at their hands. The serious shame is that were you to describe that theme and ask anyone what film you are talking about you are most likely to hear them say you are talking about the Friday The Thirteenth movies, which are very, very poor by comparison.
This movie is vastly superior, not simply for it being original, but also for its working on a number of levels. It didnt feel like a straight forward stalker horror where bodycount fills in for a plot or storyline. Instead its not just a tale about Cropsy, hell bent for revenge killer, but a more interesting story about the incident which serves as the genesis for this character, those involved and how it effected their lives later. It'll no doubt sound strange but it works as a summer camp movie too.
This is highly recommended as a superior horror movie, far superior to its imitators. I'd hope that simply by watching it viewers could come away with a changed point of view about how awful a lot of the hack and slash movies are by comparison.
on 21 September 2015
Unfairly remembered as just another simple 'Friday the 13th' clone, this high grade slasher flick from the big boys at Miramax and director Tony Maylem ('Split Second') delivers the gooey goods with enough naked flesh, bad acting and (then) state of the art make-up effects from '80s go-to guy Tom Savini to whip up any self respecting slasher fan into a fit of unbridled excitement and proves a refreshing change of pace from the recent glut of paranormal found footage flicks which have diluted the genre...
Spoilers ahead: As always with movies of this type, the 'story' isn't at the forefront of the filmmakers minds, but lets pretend they did and give it a go anyway: Many moons ago at summer camp, a bunch of no-good teenagers pull a prank on the camp's caretaker, Cropsy (Lou David) - however, their joke goes terribly wrong, and poor 'ol Cropsy is left for dead following a mishap with a gas tank... But no one keeps our crispy fella down and following a quick bout of aborted how's your father with a prostitute that ends with her getting the point, 'ol Cropsy makes his way back to the camp many years later in an effort to exact revenge on a new set of horny teens. Along the way, we are introduced to a number of actors who would go onto bigger roles (Holly Hunter, Fisher Stevens, Jason Alexander) and others who well... didn't. However, 'thespian's' aren't what you watch this kind of movie for, its the gore - the meat and potatoes of this genre and boy, this one doesn't disappoint: You got ya lopped off fingers, impalings, axe wounds, throats slit and all manner of looney-tune murderizing. It seems Cropsy hasn't taken too kindly to being burnt and he unleashes his wrath in a grue-filled splatter-thon that makes this movie a keeper!
Thankfully, Shout! Factory haven't forgotten this flicks particular charms by delivering a great package with a fine transfer bolstered by vibrant audio and a plethora of informative extras (including commentaries, documentaries and featurettes). All in all, a great throwback that even though offers nothing original to the subgenre but does give the viewer a solid stalk n' slash experience that delivers the goods. Thank goodness for Cropsy. Now, where's that sequel, brother? I know you're probably getting on abit and we did leave you with an axe in your noggin, but c'mon, we need your magic. I don't think I can deal with another 'Paranormal Activity' non-event sequel...