"The Burning (1981/Blu-ray & DVD Combo/Shout! Factory)" Review

Review: In all my years of watching horror films I have found the slasher genre to be the sub-genre that I seem to like the older I get. Now amongst that genre there is so many copy cat films and ones that are just simply boring. Now when it comes to "The Burning" I think this is one of the more under-appreciated slashers. I think that is mainly because it came out after Friday The 13th and it involved a camp so people ride it off as being a rip-off. If you are one of those people I am sorry but your dead wrong. On with the autopsy!

The Burning takes place at a camp as a group of teens decide to play a trick on the camp's handyman which leads to him being burned severely. Cropsy has survived the fire and now after 5 long years he has returned to camp and is ready to get revenge. Can the campers survive his reign of terror and murder or will they all succumb to his blades?! That is a basic rundown of the plot and yes in some sense it does seem like a copy cat but trust me there is more to it than that. First off the only similarity is that each film has a revenge plot and that it involves campers, other than that I see nothing similar.
I actually find The Burning to be a better film in many ways. The first thing being the cast which is comprised of some very talent young actors. Some of the actors are Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), Holly Hunter (Raising Arizona), Brian Backer (Fast Times At Ridgemont High) just to name a few. I actually felt bad for some of the characters and felt they didn't deserve the terror and horrors they went through. I especially felt bad for Alfred (Brian Backer) who is an outcast at the camp and keeps being tormented by a fellow counselor. The second thing that I enjoyed more was the suspense and build up that leads to each and every kill scene. The music along with the setup was perfectly orchestrated together and on top of it all the film tricks you several times when you expect something gruesome to happen.
The thrid thing I liked more was the gore that Tom Savini did on this film compared to what he did on F13 and that could be because by time he did it for The Burning he was better at his craft. I especially like when he takes out a small group of teens that are on this raft. Now I did enjoy the fantastic payoff at the end of Friday The 13th, but I must say that the cat and mouse game between the head councilor and Cropsy is equally as good of a scene leading to the finale. In my eyes I see The Burning as the perfect slasher film. Now I know there are so many horror fans that would love to argue that. Overall this was a damn good film!
Now the presentation is fantastic and got the restoration it deserved. The colors are bold and bright and the detail is great. The film grain is still intact which makes a film fan like myself very happy to see. There is a very minimal amount of film damage from time to time, but nothing that is distracting. The audio is great as well and is what I have began to expect from Shout! Factory releases. It's quite clear and very well cleaned up. Like you would expect there is some good special features here, the special features include a commentary with the director and an international journalist, and some featurettes that include one with an interview of Lou David who played Cropsy. I can say that this a great upgrade from the older DVD release.

-Daniel "Damnation" Lee

Director: Tony Maylam
Genre: Slasher/Horror
Blu-ray Release Year: 2013
Theatrical Release Year: 1981
Time Length: 91 mins.
Company: Scream Factory (Shout! Factory)