Friday, May 18, 2012
If there was ever a theme that occurs in most horror slasher flicks it is the killer in the woods. To take the beauty of nature and turn it into something frightening and sadistic is very easy and Friday The 13th may have done it first and the best but The Burning to me does it far better. Never heard of The Burning you say? It's okay not many have but because I browse the horror section of Best Buy trolling for forgotten horror gems during Halloween you are about to learn why I love this film more than Friday The 13th but first things first...
What's The Plot?
The caretaker at Camp Blackfoot known as Cropsy is an alcoholic, cruel and sadistic man despised by everyone at camp and few campers decided to show him what it is like to be scared by pulling a harmless prank. Setting a skull on fire and placing it by his bed, Cropsy wakes up and so scared he knocks it over and ends up setting himself on fire to be burned beyond recognition. Five years later, procedures and skin grafts have failed to leave Cropsy disfigured that he has to wear gloves, glasses, a hat and a long coat; his rage is now burning for revenge.
At Camp Stonewater, a group of campers and their counselors are going to be the victims of Cropsy's desire for revenge. Camp outcast and nerd Alfred (Brian Backer) is the first and only one to notice Cropsy lurking with his scarred, burnt face and of course no one believes him but soon camp counselor Todd's tale of Cropsy before the three day canoe trip starts to put the other campers on edge and soon, people start to disappear. Todd (Brian Matthews) may not know it but his little campfire tale is going to come back to haunt him and only Alfred knows that Cropsy is out there in the woods killing his fellow campers but can he convince everyone else in time before Cropsy's killing spree of revenge burns out of control?
Again unlike most movie bloggers, I don't like to tell you the whole plot because I hope I can encourage you to go out and rent or buy the films I talk about to view them for yourself because I feel the film in question is good enough for you to watch or at least up to you discovering your own opinion. As I have stated, "the killer in the woods" genre has been done before by Friday The 13th as the most popular but The Burning has elements in it that make me enjoy it far much more.
What Else Can I Say?
Tom Savini is the master of horror film special effects and the infamous "raft scene" is a true pinnacle of his art and the DVD version I have is uncut to display every gore soaked minute. The acting of the campers and their counselors looks real and natural and you may notice some familiar faces. Jason Alexander from Seinfeld and Holly Hunter appear in small roles, comedic actor Fisher Stevens from the Short Circuit films has a role as a camper who is just so adorable you know he will meet a grisly end and Alfred is played by Brian Backer or as I will always know him Mark "Rat" Ratner from Fast Times At Ridgemont High, which he made after this film.
Seeing actors that I recognize make me relate and sympathize more to their characters but Brain Matthews as Todd is also a good actor and a real hottie as well! Most attractive men don't survive in horror films or they are the obnoxious jerks you want to get murdered but Matthews isn't one of them (oops did I give away a spoiler?)
Aside from acting, the score is also brilliant! All of the original music in the film is provided to us by Rick Wakeman, keyboardist of the band Yes. Now if you have never heard of the band Yes, I think you need to go out and try to find a greatest hits of CD by them or at least try to find a copy of the music soundtrack on eBay somewhere as well. There is additional scoring not done by Wakeman but you won't be able to tell the difference because you will be so engrossed in the film but if that music in the background doesn't give you chills it's not doing its job to add suspense and it does!
If you like Friday The 13th, you are sure to enjoy The Burning and even if you didn't like Friday The 13th, you will still love The Burning in my opinion. As far as a slasher, this film is an underrated if not undiscovered classic. The Burning has gore and sex to spare for you horror film fans out there and I am sure you will enjoy every minute of it once you get your hands on it!
Next Blog: Gothic Horror Fiction makes for a great 80s flick - Flowers In The Attic