Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stream-And-Run: The Burning (1981)

    An early slasher offering from the Weinsteins before they were obsessed with buying Oscars…    

    NOTE: Netflix is taking down virtually all of their MGM titles on May 1st, so I thought it might be fun to see how many I can watch in the next two weeks, and then post quick, little hit-and-run reviews here. Hope you enjoy, and if you want to see any of these movies and have Netflix, better watch ’em now!

    This early Miramax effort (based on a story by Harvey and Bob Weinstein) takes the central conceit of the Cropsey urban legend and transplants it to a dead teenager movie, in the process creating a rather above-average slasher flick. The film begins as a prank goes horribly wrong, resulting in the creepy old groundskeeper of Camp Blackfoot being horribly scarred in a fire. Five years pass, and the groundskeeper finds his way to another summer camp (which has either the best or the worst counselors in the world, considering how they‘re seemingly okay with their campers running off into the woods and fucking like rabbits) and proceeds to summarily slaughter the campers with his gardening sheers. Boasting early appearances by Jason Alexander and Holly Hunter, The Burning is a rather effective little horror movie - certainly far better than most of the slasher movies that followed in the wake of Halloween and Friday the 13th. The kids and counselors are just human enough to get us to care, and Tony Maylam’s direction is far above what you’d typically find in the genre. Coupled with the excellent makeup effects from the incomparable Tom Savini, and it’s hard to see how horror fans can go wrong with The Burning.

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