Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Burning (1981)

Fear 1/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 3/5
Creepiness 1/5

More a historical artifact than a decent horror film, The Burning is chock full of young actors who would later go on to "legit" acting careers - Holly Hunter, Jason Alexander, the guy that played Mark Ratner in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and some others. Additionally, this was one of the first films Miramax released and is written by the Weinstein brothers - total Hollywood power dudes now. It also features some very effective gore effects from Tom Savini.

As a slasher film, it's not bad, but then it's not awesome either. Slasher films are not really my favorite and the endless number that were cranked out following the success of Halloween and Friday the 13th doesn't really endear them to me either. Still, I enjoyed this one, if only because it was fun to see George Costanza with a full head of hair.

Basic slasher / summer camp horror here straying little to not at all from the standards: a prank goes wrong and the mean old caretaker at a summer camp is burned beyond recognition. He spends the next 5 years in a hospital recovering and when he is released, he makes a beeline for the camp to start exacting his revenge on kids and counselors. Well - first he makes a quick pit stop at hourly motel to stab a hooker to death, but otherwise he's heading right for the woods. The camp is populated by nerds, hot chicks, bullies and counselors who want to make a difference, but still want to be "one of the gang". It's a lot like Meatballs. Or corporate America.

The scares and gore are minimal, but worth your time. There is a scene where a whole slew of kids are killed that is particularly nasty and (Wikipedia would have me believe) caused quite a hub-bub when it was released.

Entertaining? Sure. Good? Meh. Gory? Yeah, kind of. Worth seeing? If you see it on the cheap, absolutely. But again, probably more for the historical aspect.

- Complaint Department

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