The Burning - Directed by Tony Maylam
Characters: 9 (These characters embody exactly what we have come to expect with summer camp slasher flicks. Plus, Jason Alexander is a boss–especially since this is before Seinfeld.)
Plot: 7 (Very few slashers have a ‘good’ storyline; this one, however, differs from the norm and actually takes you on a journey.)
Setting(s): 9 (This contains one of Kyle’s favorite scene in film. Not only was the attention to detail spot on, but you really feel as if you’re part of the camp when you watch this movie.)
Fright value: 5 (Take it or leave it, this movie contains the typical jumps but certainly becomes much more fun when watched with a group of good friends.)
Re-watch value: 10 (We could watch this movie every single day. One of the few 80s slashers that really made an impact.)
Overall score: 8
Prior to reviewing this movie, we just have to toss it out there: holy fuck shit balls! We stumbled upon this one a few years back and, somehow, this avoided our grasp for some twenty-fiveish years! As proverbial whores for most slasher films, this installment of perfection is exactly why we stuck with the subgenre for so long. Also, this is probably the movie you wanted to watch when you popped in Friday the 13th. Don’t get us wrong: Jason is our favorite iconic horror character. We just feel that this is truly THE 80s slasher icon that went under the radar–here’s why!
Almost immediately the audience finds themselves submerged in a very Maniac sort of way in that the mysterious character that will eventually develop into Cropsy comes into focus. So as to save the events that unfold for your viewing pleasure, a summation of typical summer kids at camp getting ‘up to no good,’ for those over the age of 90, will surely suffice here. Unfortunately for them, they take matters into their hands to such a degree that Cropsy becomes seriously injured–BURNED, even! See what we did there? He’s…burnt…
The majority of the rest of the film revolves around the typical slaughter, highlighted by unique kills and the amazing special effects work of one Mr. Tom Savini. Aside from the more-realistic-than-in-2013 effects, the way the story unfolds allows for a character to shine, and in this case the audience follows a hopelessly doomed nerd, Alfred (Brian Backer). While the purpose of the film remains obvious to most slashers: kill the bad guy, The Burning shines all the brighter due to the simultaneous coming-of-age tales that unravel with various characters. The main talking points include, as one would expect, Jason Alexander and his mostly uber-masculine role, the aforementioned Brian Backer and his exploration of himself–and his sexuality, the fuckin’ perv, and Carrick Glen’s sexual exploration and development with Glazer (Larry Joshua), which surprisingly passes under the radar as a pretty uncomfortable moment between the two–”He gets 1980s weird all up on her,” Kyle yells from the other side of the room. It’s always refreshing when you are able to grow and develop with the characters as the story unfolds and reveals the entirety of the plot. For being half as popular as Friday the 13th, The Burning delivers ten times over its much more popular, yet still enjoyable, competitor.
At the end of the day, The Burning remains one of our favorite slashers to date. Whenever we bring this movie up around people that splatter us with the “Jason is better than Freddy” or “Michael Myers is one of the only ‘true’ slashers,” we typically respond in the same fashion each and every time: “Cropsy: Two bottles of whiskey a day, no problem!” You can imagine the stares we receive.
If you have yet to do so, take a trip to the past when horror films had some fun. If you’re keeping tally, this movie really does have it all: a great summer camp setting, gorgeous scenery, a group of hormone-driven teens, and, yes, boobs! What else can you ask for from a slasher flick? Pair these fantastic elements with the aforementioned brilliance of character construction and you are in for the “poor-man’s” Friday the 13th, except the inaccurately dubbed “poor-man’s” Friday the 13th shines as the best slasher, in our opinion, from the 80s. Flame on, fellow readers. Oh, what’s that? Another cheesy reference? Yup; it must be 80s slasher week. Still not convinced? Let the trailer do the talking.