What do Jason Alexander from Seinfeld, Academy Award Winner,
Holly Hunter, the "Rat" guy from Fast Times At Ridgemont
High, the Hollywood Weinsteins, producers of everything from Air
Bud to Pulp Fiction and Scary Movie 1 & 2, the one man Columbian
Vacuum Tom Savini
and noodler extraordiniaire from prog rock dinos YES, Rick Wakeman,
all have in common? THE BURNING. No, not an inexplicable urge
to urinate, but the 1981 rip-off (sort of) of Friday the 13th,
which ripped off (sort of) Euro-masterpiece (if you like that
crap) Mario Bava's Bloodbath.
That is right, we got George Costanza's first movie, The Piano
player's first film role, the Yiddish primo-whiner Brian Backer
from Fast Times first, written and produced under the Miramax
name before it was Miramax, Tom Savini delivering the gore to
the extent that it has been chopped to bits just to make it "R"
rated and Rick Wakeman adding the early 80's Casio-tone soundtrack
from Hell. Goddamn the 80s.
THE BURNING has a badly scarred PRO-taginost in Cropsy, a camp
caretaker who a handful of bad apples set on fire to open this
epic. Cropsy don't die though. Cropsy does get pissed though and
goes on a camp re-vengence type thing that gives us reason to
wince and grimace. Not so much out of fear but because you are
forced to remember how bad the transition from the late 70s to
the early 80s was. WOW, did any one EVER look in the damn mirror?
What in the fuck were we thinking? Tube socks to the knee, feathered
bangs and tight running shorts with white piping...I cannot believe
I can actually reproduce after doing time in those Nut-tastic
shortlings. But I do miss the easy access that a pair of terry
cloth joggers might allow a horny teen feller whilst groping all
hot & bothered in the room right next to some future Junior
Miss' parents. Yowsa. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, THE BURNING.
So anyhoo, Cropsy's back and Camp Stonewater's got him.
We are introduced to one unlikeable character after another except
for main camp dude Todd, who seems like a nice guy, but we have
our share of Meatballs-like dorks who run from tolerable (Alexander
and Backer) to "I know that Jackass is going to get killed"
(Larry Joshua as Glaser). The film drags and lags through most
of the first and second acts. With weird unexplained camp shenanigans
like Jason Alexander being a condom dealer of some sort and Brian
Backer actually being a creepy Peeping Tom, no joke. But then
things begin to heat up, THE BURNING, get it, heat up, damn I
kill me, during a raft scene where a group fo kids build a makeshift
raft out of logs, twigs, twine, chewing gum etc. to run away from
Well, it don't work and in a scene that gains this film what
tiny bit of noterity it has has, we finally get a little retribution
for our patience. First of all you aren't going to see much of
this scene on most versions of thing floating around. It involves
a rather gruesone finger-snipping, a scene considered by some
to be one of the most controversial in slasherdom along with some
other graphic hackings as Cropsy does the group in with his hedge
clippers. Savini had passed on Friday the 13th 2 to make THE BURNING,
no doubt because the blow was better and rumor has it he wanted
his name removed because his effects where edited to the point
of nothing and end up looking rather bad.
Really where the movie deviates is many of the campers survive,
and the big Cropsy vs. camper scene involves a couple of males
not the typical sympathetic female. Weird, was it a ploy to separate
this film from Friday the 13th? The one-sheets definitely played
on the popularity of Friday the 13th with the phrase "Today
is NOT Friday the 13th." The lack of total carnage, the films
foreign realease was actually CARNAGE, and the overall shoddy
production value make this one almost forgetable, except because
of the finger snipping it became of of the UK original Video Nastys
(the video was released uncut completely on accident) and the
array of folks who went on to big careers.
Jason Alexander was 21 years old when he made THE BURNING, so
unbelievably he has a head full of hair and he also gets all of
the decent dialogue during most of the boring camp scenes. He
wears the same damn shirt in every scene and delivers his lines
with the cocky aplomb one might expect from a guy who had just
got kicked out of Boston University one year shy of graduation.
Alexander in the 80s did everything from commercials for Good
and Plenty and the McDLT, to starring with Liza Minnelli and Chita
Rivera in "The Rink" a roller skating musical (?) on
Broadway. Did I mention he wears the same shirt in every scene?
Oh yeah and you see his hariy ass crack. You will see it again
I am sure as Jason begins his soon to be cancelled ABC sitcom
Bob Patterson, this fall.
Holly Hunter has one line...is actually 22 years old at the time
of THE BURNING and is 6 years away yet from becoming one of Hollywood's
elite with her portrayal as "Ed" in Raising Arizona.
I hope you caught Holly's performance as super-fem and carpet-munching
jock-dyke Billie Jean King in the made for TV movie When Billie
Beat Bobby just a few month ago. Choice.
The poor Brian Backer went on the make the film that will be
the time capsule entry for the 80s, Fast Times. His character
in THE BURNING is basically the same as Ratner but, I'll give
it away, he is our hero(ine). He battles it out rather Jewishly
with Cropsy only to end up sometime in the late 80s slumming again
in Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol. How is that for career
moves. His performance really made me believe he was a kid from
New York, just there for camp, what does that say? He was good?
No, it can't mean that.
THE BURNING, if you can get your hands on the fully uncut version,
get it just for historical reference, with the scenes in tact,
there is a general sense of doom that the movie provides, there
is redeeming value in sitting through a slasher that was trying
to "be different" at a time that 'being different"
meant parachute pants and TigerTM wrestling boots. Hey, its got
Jason Alexander with hair on his head...and his ass too.
|Ahhh Summer Camp,
what with its bloody arm canoeing and S'mores.
|Hey can someone
throw us a script we are fuckin' actors over here.
Discuss this baby.
Black Gestapo Black
Girl From Tobacco Row
Rape Squad Join
The Meateater Do
Dixie Dynamite POW!
Run Stranger Run
Horror House On Hwy 5
Behind Locked Doors It's
Nailgun Massacre Some
Bat Pussy It had to
Thunder Alley It is
Blood Freak A Classic
The Geek Bigfoot Porn
High School Ghosthustlers
Frankenstein Island You
SuperCock Not that kinda
The Alienator Feeling
Angel Midnight Fantasy
Vanity and the Beast
Tim Ritter's $0 budget wonder
Nightmare Prof. Tread
still can't sleep.
Shanty Tramp She is sumpin'
If Footmen Tire You...?
Viva' Knievel Evel of
The Killing Of A Chinese
Bookie! Smart Guy.
The Pink Angels Gayness,
The Burning The 80's,
ahhh the 80's.
Q - The Winged Serpant! Larry
Fight For Your Life!
WARNING Racist content
Walking Tall Buford Pusser
in the Hizouse!
Sleepaway Camp Internet
Born Losers Ya Loser!
Shriek of the Mutilated
Bro. George gets busy.
Bury Me An Angel
Gal Biker and more.
The Grim Reaper Reap
Abby One of William Girdler's
Deadbeat At Dawn A
Sonny Boy Carradine,
Great Hollywood Rape-Slaughter
Savage Weekend. Take
Dead and Buried. A Should-be
Hot Summer In Barefoot
Night Train To Terror
I Drink Your Blood Glug,
Vixen Russ Meyer and breasts!
Truck Stop Women Honnnk
Daddy's Deadly Darling!
Flesh Feast Maggots!
Soapy the Germ Fighter!
Why Doesn't Cathy Eat Breakfast?
Moonshine County Express!
The Night God Screamed!
White Dog Racists Pets!
Hunter's Blood City
Slickers get offed!
Devil Times Five Sean
Terror at the Red Wolf Inn
Headless Eyes See It
World's Greatest Sinner
One of the best!
The Baby! Goo Goo!
Summer Camp Nightmare Viva
Attack of the Beast Creatures
Let's Play Dead Incest
Island of Death Vacation
Evil Come, Evil Go! Bye,
Darktown Strutters Get
Poor Pretty Eddie Deep
Miami Golem Jewish Folklore
Tenement NYC Apartment
To Kill A Clown Alan Alda Vietnam Vet!
The Spook Who Sat Next To
The Door Booya!
I Woke Up Early The Day I
Died Mr. Ed Wood.
The Mutilation Man Andy
Copp goes arty on us!
The People Across The Lake
The Woman Hunt Load Up
These Are The Damned
Crowhaven Farm TV movie