TNS Movie Review- The Burning (1981)
“Every year he kills. Right now he's out there. Watching. Waiting. So don't look; he'll see you. Don't breathe; he'll hear you. Don't move; you're dead!” -Camp Counselor
Why do we love to go camping? Is it because of the freedom that mother nature presents us? Or could it be the animal inside all of us that begs to be taken back to our caveman roots? These are things that remain unknown, perhaps for a reason. Because what we do know is that in 1981, Cropsy (Lou David- The Exterminator), with shears in hand, came back for one thing and one thing only. Revenge.
The Burning, wrote and directed by Tony Mayham (White Rock, Journal of a Contract Killer) has always been of the movies that I revisit over and over again. It had so much to live up to with the prior success of Friday the 13th coming out just the year before and a sequel to follow the same year as The Burning. And in my opinion, it did just that. It stands up against any teen lust, blood drenched, camping film from that era from anything to Sleepaway Camp, Don’t Go in the Woods, or a modern-day film like Cabin in the Woods. And it has a sick original score to accompany it.
Is Cropsy the ideal icon that we always reference and see in our local stores come Halloween? Of course not. But that’s why it is so great. It is an in your face solo film that never got decades of a franchise behind it and yet it remains to entertain and excite cult horror fans everywhere. I mean who could really forget about bullies like Glazer (Larry Joshua- Spider-man, The X-Files) or camp condom dealers like Dave (Jason Alexander- Seinfeld, Jacob’s Ladder)? Not to mention, the great Tom Savini did the makeup and effects for the movie as well as helped write and direct a new ending for it. It hit all the notes we as horror fans want with a summer blood bath.
What I take from The Burning is that you should never mistake kindness for weakness. The quiet teacher, the timid cashier, or the lonely caretaker may all seem like they can’t stand the flame. But as we all learned from The Burning, if you play with fire, you’ll be the one who gets burned… YOU’RE DEAD!!!