Bob Weinstein

The Burning (1981) - Tony Maylam

This initial release from Miramax is not much more than a usual "stupid-teen" horror movie. Where the teens in question are twenty somethings that take up as the camp councilors at a summer camp that is being stalked by a demented and disfigured killer. The killer was a former janitor that fell victim to a prank that went too far. This takes place during his revenge.

The acting in the movie is pretty basic. You have seen the scenes before. The plot is predictable. However, how much does any of that actually matter? Does it matter, that you know the counselors that run off to have sex in the woods aren't going to come back? No. You just want to tune in to see how they are going to die. Also, the killer in the movie is based on an actual urban legend named... Cropsy. I couldn't believe it either.

This movie received unfair comparisons to the handfuls of slasher movies that were released after this. Those comparisons hurt the movie overall. It did dismally at the box office. It was also released during a time that censorship was running rampant, scenes of mutilations and brutal killings were cut following the video nasty scare. When the movie was released on VHS in 1992 it actually had 19 minuets worth of footage cut out of it. One scene impeticular, had Cropsy jumping out of a canoe and massacring everyone on a make shift raft. That was cut down to just a few off screen kills. The movie does its best to distance itself from the other slashers that it is lumped in with. The "Final Girl" is one of them. In most slasher pictures a young girl is usually the survivor, facing off with the killer, then rising up and besting the terror. This movie goes in a different direction.

Horror veteran, Tom Savini, provided the make-up and special effects. He had only a few days to come up with the make-up for the movie. He enjoyed the project so much that he actually passed on Friday the 13th: Part 2. His hard work shows and makes for some really gory effects. Its pretty cool. The acting is sub-par, but who cares. You do get Jason Alexander though. Its rare to see him in movies at all, let alone a horror film. Other actors include Brian Matthews, Fisher Stevens, and Holly Hunter.

The Burning was a really cool and unique eighties slasher movie. If you want to set up a few movies to watch for Halloween, I would suggest putting this onto your list. It is great to poke fun at the movie with your friends. Get some popcorn and sit back for this one.

Tonight's the night. Cropsy's going to get what he deserves. Remember what he did to you, Snoop?


  • Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein, both wrote this movie along with Brad Grey. Grey would later go on to be CEO of Paramount Pictures. 
  • The movie was re-released a couple of times under different monikers to try and draw crowds. The crowds never came. 
  • The main killer, Cropsy, is actually based on an actual urban legend. The urban legend of Cropsey actually goes back to the 19th Century. 
  • This is #7 on the UK's Video Nasty list.