{2jtab: Movie Review}

The Burning - Blu-ray Review


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3 stars

Created, produced, and written by Bob & Harvey Weinstein, The Burning is a slasher picture about summer camp, horny teenagers, and a prank gone seriously awry.  Released in 1981, The Burning – directed by Tony Maylam – offers nothing new to the genre (except more exposed skin) but there are a few ripe scenes of murder and mayhem that makes it worth checking out for the Horror Hounds and Gore Gore Girls out there who might have missed it during its theatrical run or on VHS.

The movie opens with a cruel prank on Cropsy (Lou David) which results in him being burned alive.  Poor Cropsy survives the prank but – after one too many intensive and unsuccessful skin grafts – he returns to the Camp Blackwater to kill, kill, kill as many teenagers as he can.  Sounds familiar, I know.

Featuring performances from Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit), Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), Holly Hunter (Raising Arizona), Brian Backer (Fast Times at Ridgemont High) and Leah Ayres (Bloodsport), The Burning survives alone on its kills – which are quite good - and less on its ability to create suspense or even interest in itself as a movie.

Most of Cropsy’s kills are done with a trusty pair of garden shears and – because the camp is so insanely large – his attacks are not limited to the grounds or to the dark hours of nighttime.  Yes, this is one of the few slasher flicks where the kills happen in the daylight and are quite gruesome.  We’re talking garden shears slicing scalps and plunging deep into necks with glorious sun shining down on it all.  Of course, gore master Tom Savini is on hand here to handle all the slashing and curs and stabs and attacks and – as this is the uncut version – Shout Factory gives us every brutal moment of his work.

There’s little reason to comment on the acting because, well, it pretty much bites the big one here.  There’s no character development and everyone just talks over each other – as kids tend to do – so that’s pretty much that.  I will suggest that Backer has some nice moments of lurking and being where he’s not supposed to be most of the time.  Other than that, this is B and C movie material for sure.

The Burning – outside of breaking a few of the genre’s staples by offering most of its kills in the open daylight – offers little else as far as entertainment goes for a casual viewer.  Gorehounds will notice some nice POV work and a chilling fade to red after some of the kills.  They might even be impressed by its sharp edits and a finale that is more impressive than it ought to be.  Others will be bored to tears by its bad acting and pacing issues.

The Burning and its 1980s cheese are interesting but it definitely has a specific audience in mind and, for today’s viewer, if you don’t have a background in classic gory glory, you probably will need to skip this tale of revenge.

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Burning - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 91 mins.
: Tony Maylam
Writer: Harvey Weinstein, Tony Maylam
Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer
Genre: Horror
The most frightening of all maniac films.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Tonight's the night. Cropsy's going to get what he deserves. Remember what he did to you, Snoop?"
Shout Factory
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 8, 1981
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 21, 2013

Synopsis: A former summer camp caretaker, horribly burned from a prank gone wrong, lurks around an upstate New York summer camp bent on killing the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

The Burning - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3.5 Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - May 21, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Shout! Factory brings The Burning to Blu-ray as a Two-Disc Collector's Edition under the distributor's Scream Factory line.  The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode is impressive and shows that the print was in pretty good shape to begin with.  The definition is impressive here and shows off the land surrounding the summer camp with great clarity.  Blacks could be stronger, with a few murky, less-satisfying spots here and there, but overall, they're accurate. Colors benefit the most with nice vibrant clarity.  With a thinly-layered and mostly consistent film grain throughout, the film and its transfer completely satisfies.  Also of note is the film’s DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack which is surprisingly thick with detail and bass.  Backgrounds are alive with noise and ambience.



  • The film’s director, Tony Maylam, provides the detailed commentary.  It’s a hoot.  While not really necessary viewing, it does a decent job of both entertaining and informing fans of the movie.

Special Features:

The Burning doesn’t deserve this lavish treatment but Shout! Factory delivers once again an impressive collection of supplemental material.  It’s a three way tie for best between fun detailed doc 'Blood ‘n’ Fire Memories' with a savory Savini, odd as his character interview with actor Lou David via 'Cropsy Speaks' and the always candid Jack Sholder on editing and the Weinstein’s in the 'Slash & Cut' featurette.  This is another quality release, for sure.

  • Blood 'n' Fire Memories (18 min)
  • Slash & Cut (12 min)
  • Cropsy Speaks! (11 min)
  • Summer Camp Nightmare (7 min)
  • Behind-the-Scenes (8 min)
  • Still Gallery
  • Trailer

{2jtab: Trailer}