Rating: 4/5The Burning
is a very special slasher flick of the eighties. The plot is nothing special (campers are butchered in the woods, blah, blah, blah), but that's not why anyone watches these kind of movies. Like all horror flicks of the genre, it opens up with a scene explaining the origins of the killer. This scene doesn't disappoint in any way. Not only do we see a bunch of rude kids make fun of an old man, we also see this very old man get torched and run around like, well, a guy on fire. Of course, this “burning” leads him into insanity, and all campers at this lake must be killed for fooling around in his territory. Death ensues.
Probably the best thing this movie has going for it are the gore effects, which are, I must say, absolutely spectacular. The first kill provides a hefty amount of blood that satisfies both the gross out factor and the humor element. While the death count isn't anything to brag about as far as trashy horror goes, the gore in each death is very satisfying and really showcases some very impressive practical effects. While it's certainly not the comedic type of schlock seen in Dead Alive
, it's definitely a bit heftier than the earlier Friday the 13th
movies. The one scene in particular which really catapults this movie into awesome status would definitely be the “raft massacre” scene. Basically, a ton of kids get butchered off with a pair of garden shears. What sets this scene apart is the pure brutality. Bloods sprays, body parts detach, and girls with high pitched voices scream. If this scene doesn't solicit an “oh shit!”, then there is clearly something wrong with the viewer.
Even though the premise of the movie is very generic and the most typical of the slashers, somehow the Burning isn't all that conventional. The most obvious deviation being the complete lack of a survivor-girl. Instead, the final chase is with a guy. Although he certainly has several womanly features, he is indeed a man and thus not a survivor girl. Another deviation is the lack that any of the victims necessarily “deserved” it. In many slashers, even though they're all innocent kids, their hedonistic ways get them killed. While many do engage in underage exchanges, I wouldn't say the sense of punishment is as strong in this movie as say My Bloody Valentine
Another great reason to check out this movie is for the “when they were young” moments. Not only does Holly Hunter briefly make an appearance as a young camper, but Jason Alexander also shows up. But he doesn't just show up. He's easily one of the main characters and he also bares his ass. Perhaps most surprising about young Costanza's appearance is his notably thick head of hair. A recurring character from Law and Order
also shows up. Only the appearance of Kevin Bacon could've made this movie better.
In closing, The Burning
is a relatively traditional, fun slasher flick. The deaths are all nicely put together and provide just the right mix of humor and gross-out. While I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone who abhors the genre or is at the very least passive about it, I strongly recommend The Burning
to any horror movie fanatic, and especially any fan of a well made B movie.
By Tyler Lovemark