The Burning, an Underrated Slasher Classic
November 1, 2013
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I got into horror films at a young age. Thanks to a coworker of mine at the movie theater I worked at, I too wanted to say I had seen all of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers’s cinematic crime sprees. I started with slowly getting used to the dark corners by cutting my teeth on Michael. Despite getting the unnecessary attention from my parents, I continued to explore the classics of the macabre. I tackled The Exorcist on Halloween and absorbed all of Freddy and Jason in the years that followed. I quickly developed a desperation to find anything that could rattle my cage. I dug deeper and deeper, expanding my horror threshold for something new.
The past few years, it has been a real struggle to find any horror movie that really spooks me and wins me over. Excluding recent flick The Conjuring, straight-up horror doesn’t woo me anymore. I’m still watching many titles praying to uncover a gem. When I find something, it’s a feeling not unlike completing a 5k fun. A horror movie that captivates me is a diamond in the rough. Wading through a lot of crap to find them is necessary, but so worth it when a gem catches you.
Last weekend, I popped in a summer-camp slasher flick from 1981 into my Blu-ray player. I didn’t have in high expectations, but I was instantly blown away.
On the surface, The Burning appears like a generic teenage slasher flick. And it is. But what makes it so fresh is how original it was when you consider it was one of the first flicks in the sub-genre. It came out a year after Friday the 13th, riding its coattails. In The Burning, we learn the unfortunate fate of cantankerous camp director. After being burned alive from a prank gone wrong, the story moves a few years forward to a nearby camp. The usual shenanigans ensue until a group of teenagers head out for an overnighter. But Cropsy, the long-thought dead camp caretaker has returned to exact revenge. And so begins the violence and carnage.
I planned on buying this shortly after it started. I couldn’t get enough of it. Having seen it days ago, I’m still thinking about the film. I’m so glad I finally discovered this film and simultaneously shocked I never saw it sooner. The biggest downfall is the film sheds light on how sub-par today’s horror films are. I saw this right after rewatching the entire Saw franchise. I can’t keep the films straight. Jigsaw does not age as well as you’d hope (I love him anyway).
The Burning reignited my love of horror films. Horror films I somewhat enjoyed now feel weak in comparison. The love will be short-lived, however, since the next few movies will likely fail to meet expectations. If you enjoy the slasher movie sub-genre, see this. I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.