The Burning (1981)

Article 5443 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-4-2017
Directed by Tony Maylam
Featuring Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer
Country: USA / Canada
What it is: Slasher film

Five years ago, a hated summer camp caretaker is badly burned when a prank goes awry. After five years of therapy, he is released but is maddened by a desire for vengeance. So, at another summer camp across the lake from the previous one…

If I was a fan of slasher films (in the same way I’m a fan of, say, old dark house movies), I’d probably like this one well enough; it’s well acted and well mounted, there’s a little more character development than is usual for this type of thing, and it follows the basic slasher playbook. It’s that last condition, however, where being a fan of the form makes a difference. If you’re a fan of a subgenre, you become attached to the cliches of that form; if not, the cliches make it seem hackneyed and derivative. This one is based on a common campfire story that actually had a documentary made about it (CROPSEY from 2009). Tom Savini did the special effects, and Rick Wakeman composed the score. It’s one of those slasher movies where the killer has a weapon of choice – in this case, garden shears.


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