The Burning

1981

The Burning

Critics Consensus

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89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 9

61%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,561

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Movie Info

Apart from early appearances by Jason Alexander and Holly Hunter, an interesting score by Rick Wakeman, and some typically effective work by effects icon Tom Savini, this slasher film is also among the more frightening of its kind. The plot concerns a summer-camp caretaker named Cropsy (Lou David) who is horribly burned by mischievous teen campers during a botched practical joke. Years later, he leaves the hospital as a disfigured gloppy mess with an axe (actually, hedgeclippers) to grind. After dispatching a local prostitute, Cropsy heads out to the wilderness to terrorize a group of campers. They're the usual bunch of horny, obnoxious teenagers, but there are some interesting performances by Larry Joshua as a mean-spirited bully and Brian Backer (of Fast Times at Ridgemont High) as a put-upon nerd. The campers visit an island and, in a scene heavily cut by the ratings board prior to release, several of them die in a horrifying mass slaughter aboard a boat. The remaining teens are brutally picked off one by one until Cropsy is finally defeated.

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Critic Reviews for The Burning

All Critics (9) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for The Burning

  • Aug 26, 2017
    A 1980s slasher that manages to be efficient despite looking so trashy (there are scenes we can't even say if they are meant to take place during day or night), deserving more credit for its gore (especially in an infamous raft scene) than for being less brainless than Friday the 13th.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 10, 2013
    And under appreciated slasher flick, The Burning has stayed in the shadow of the Friday The 13th series, which is unfortunate since it is a much superior flick. There's a great sense of fun on this picture, with cool characters, nice locations, inventive shocking deaths and awesome sense of "where will this go next?", which doesn't hold much surprise, of course, since it didn't broke any new ground when it comes to slasher structure. It's a pretty fun flick while it lasts and was interesting to see Jason Alexandre and Helen Hunt on their debut roles taking the piss out of it.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer
  • Jan 22, 2012
    Camp Counselor: Every year he kills. Right now he's out there. Watching. Waiting. So don't look; he'll see you. Don't breathe; he'll hear you. Don't move; you're dead!  "A brutal horrific act made him kill and kill and kill" The Burning is one of the better ripoff slashers I have seen. I actually like it quite a bit better than the notable movie it is ripping, Friday the 13th. It isn't a genre staple like some others, but it is easily one of the better times I have had watching an 80's slasher. The fact that the film never got boring is a testament to why a liked it so much. I've seen very few slashers that didn't get boring part way through.  One key factor that I really liked about The Burning was the killer, Cropsey. I really enjoyed his presence because he didn't feel unbeatable. Unlike Jason, he isn't a supernatural, unbeatable presence. He's more human. It just isn't that fun, aside from Halloween, watching a character that you know can't be beaten. This slasher felt fresh in those regards. The one thing that did irritate me about the film was the practical joke at the start. First off, Cropsey should only be mad at himself. In what world do you grab the fire, pull it onto your bed, get up and knock gasoline onto it. Come on. And the kids, did you really think this was a badass prank? From the sound of how they were talking before hand, I expected a little more than the huge cliche prank.  This movie follows Cropsey five years after that prank goes wrong. He is severely burned and is out for revenge. He is now preying on a group of teenage campers. His weapon of choice... garden shears. Gotta love it. There's some pretty cool kill sequences, but nothing that we haven't seen before in countless other slashers. I always enjoy seeing familiar faces in slashers. Many actors have gotten their starts in slashers, and there's another notable one here. Jason Alexander plays a camper and I feel inclined to say, that he gives my favorite teenager in a slasher performance ever. He's funny and actually gives the first really good performance I have ever seen out of an actor in these types of movies. Holly Hunter and Brian Backer are also faces you should recognize.  This is one of my new favorite slashers, outside of the huge names like Halloween and Black Christmas. I just really enjoyed everything this film had to offer, and the fact that I really didn't expect much just made it all the better.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2011
    It's a simple but effective slasher classic, possibly one of the most underrated slasher of the beginning of the 80s, acting wise it's not too bad and direction wise is absolutely brilliant. Although it may be campy but it's surely fun.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer

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