The Burning (1981)

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1775

A legend of terror is no campfire story anymore!

Directed by Tony Maylam.

Written by Harvey Weinstein, Tony Maylam, Brad Grey, Peter Lawrence and Bob Weinstein.

AKA

France: Carnage

Camp Blackfoot. A bunch of guys decide to get revenge on camp caretaker Cropsy (Lou David) by playing a prank. One of them places a fake skull covered in worms beside his bed, lights the eyes and gets out. Then they all start banging on the windows. Cropsy wakes up, sees the skull and panics, knocking it onto his bed. The bed and Cropsy catch fire and then he knocks over a can of gasoline causing him to erupt in flames. He runs outside, burning alive, and plummets into a nearby river.

One week later at St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cropsy grabs an orderly (Mansoor Najee-ullah) in the burn unit.

Five years later, Cropsy is released from the hospital, picks up a hooker (K.C. Townsend) and brutally murders her with a pair of scissors.

Camp Stonewater. The campers are playing baseball and one girl, Tiger (Shelley Bruce), goes to retrieve the baseball from the woods. Cropsy is waiting and she narrowly avoids being killed. Camp loser Alfred (Brian Backer) sees Cropsy’s face at the window but no one believes him.

The campers go on a canoe trip and that night Todd (Brian Matthews) tells them the story of Cropsy around the campfire.

Don’t look, he’ll see you. Don’t breathe, he’ll hear you. Don’t move… you’re dead!

Todd

Eddy (Ned Eisenberg) and Karen (Carolyn Houlihan) go off on their own and go skinny dipping. They start arguing when Karen rejects Eddy’s advances and Karen gets out of the water and goes to retrieve her clothes, running into Cropsy and his shears. The next morning Todd and Michelle (Leah Ayres) confront Eddy as to Karen’s whereabouts. They then discover the canoes are missing.

The campers build a raft and Eddy and some of the others campers set off back to the main camp. On their way back they spot one of the missing canoes and row over to it…

Fans will know what happens next, a notorious scene.

The Burning was on the list of back in the 80s. It’s brutal and graphic with superb effects by Darryl Ferrucci, Suzen Poshek and Tom Savini. The acting is very good. The scenic locations are excellent and beautifully shot. The film builds up a nice amount of tension as Cropsy stalks the campers and it delivers again and again with some quality gore. You must watch it uncut; Cropsy’s shears are far more fun than the censors’.

It’s one of my all-time favourite .

Also stars James Van Verth as Jamie, John Roach as Snoop, Jason Alexander as Dave, Carrick Glenn as Sally, Sarah Chodoff as Barbara, Larry Joshua as Glazer, Bonnie Deroski as Marnie, J.R. McKechnie as Fish and Fisher Stevens as Woodstock.

Other great 80s slasher films:

The Prowler (1981)

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Madman (1982)

Slaughter High (1986)

TheBurning