Inspired by the urban legend of Cropsey, the Burning begins at a summer camp. A group of boys pull a prank on the camp janitor which goes tragically awry. Severely burned he undergoes multiple failed attempts to restore his face and body. Driven mad he returns to the camp grounds to mete out his revenge.
Truthfully, for most viewers today, the Burning probably seems like just another slasher. And, to be fair, it does not bring anything new to the genre. It came along right at the beginning of the 80’s slasher craze.
But part of what makes the Burning stand out is that it is an early Tom Savini gore fest. He picked the Burning over the sequel to Friday the 13th, and the Burning definitely wins here. Savini’s effects are gruesome and the look of Cropsey is memorable.
Another bit of fun trivia relates to the cast. Holly Hunter, Jason Alexander and Fischer Stevens all made their feature film debut and the music is composed by Rick Wakeman of Yes.
The Burning is a fun old school slasher. It does not have any real surprises, like Sleepaway Camp, but it works pretty well and has some crazy moments as Cropsey works his way through the campers.