During the eighties, there were several slashers that although popular, never spawned franchises. While films such as Halloween, the Friday the 13th films, and Texas Chainsaw franchises still have films coming out to the this day, there were a crop of films that for whatever reason just didn’t have sequels. Black Christmas and My Bloody Valentine are usually the first to come to mind but there were a whole slew of others that were worthy of further exploration. On 30 September Slashers we will cover one such title, 1981’s The Burning….
Day 10: Trimming bushes will never be the same…. The Burning
Tom Savini, it seems like just about every other horror classic/slasher, features his special effects handiwork and this film is just another example as to why he ruled the eighties. All of the problems that plagued Savini’s earlier work, the Prowler(i.e. pacing, boring characters etc..), were remedied in this film.
One Summer night at camp, several campers decide to play a prank on Cropsey, the camp groundskeeper, but the prank soon goes up in flames(literally!!) and poor Cropsey was sent to a burn unit for the next five years. Upon getting out, Cropsey is burning mad and wastes no time in murdering a hooker and making his way to a camp near the one where he was maimed. The current group of counselors and campers are getting ready to take one final canoe trip before going home for the Summer but only if they can survive the terror of Cropsey!
As mentioned earlier, the films pacing is much better than many of the films previously mentioned. For those that couldn’t stand the slow burning nature of Hooper’s The Funhouse, will be pleased with this film, as the brutal killings begin within the first ten minutes and it hardly lets up throughout the film. The effects team blows their load on one boat scene in particular and it kind of reminded me of seeing a finale at a fourth of July fireworks display, gore hounds will love this one. The killer himself is badly disfigured and does his killings with a garden sheer, just like the kind a grounds keeper would use to trim the bushes. The eighties style keyboard soundtrack is haunting and should go down as a classic horror score.
The ending of this film lends itself to a sequel and it could have become a recognizable franchise had it been given the chance. Until it is remade by some Hollywood goons, it will have to just remain a cult classic amongst horror fans. Get ready for tomorrow’s feature, the 1983 classic, Curtains.