DVD/BLURAY Review: THE BURNING!!

theburning

Scream Factory has done it again with their recent BLURAY/DVD release of THE BURNING. Never disappointing, the team has taken the time to load the Bluray/DVD with enough special features, new and old, to please the most diehard fan of the ’80s slasher classic. Read on!


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The Movie:
For a more in depth review of the film itself, check out our previous article on it in Exploitation Alley (read that baby right here). For those who have not seen the film, here goes:

THE BURNING begins with a prank gone wrong, in which a group of mischievous kids payback their summer camp’s caretaker, Cropsey, for his cruelty towards them. One thing leads to another, and the guy accidentally gets caught on fire, horribly disfiguring him. Fast forward to a few years later, Cropsey returns to camp, armed with some serious hedge-clippers, and decides to try to slaughter pretty much everyone possible.

Though the plot itself isn’t anything remotely original, it’s a fun as hell slasher film, full of some really impressive (as always) makeup/gore effects by Tom Savini, and boasting early performances by actors who would go on to wider acclaim (SEINFELD‘s Jason Alexander and RAISING ARIZONA‘s Holly Hunter both play young campers in it), THE BURNING is a gory, very entertaining movie, which to be perfectly honest, can go to toe to toe with the original FRIDAY THE 13TH anyday.

It’s not without its problems though, said issues include Cropsey picking a hooker after being let out of a hospital that he’s been in for years following the accident, and murdering the prostitute. It’s the only scene in the movie that really doesn’t do a single thing for the story whatsoever, and if the film is about Cropsey getting revenge on campers, what’s the point of a random kill that serves no purpose at all?

With that problem being said, along with a lack of really fleshing out the Cropsey character (our introduction to him pre-accident is reduced to just him sleeping before the boys play their prank on him), the film works on many levels. Unlike many slasher films, with the exception of HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART IV: THE FINAL CHAPTER (which are, in case you didn’t know, both perfect), THE BURNING has a whole group of kids that you root for the whole movie, as opposed to just waiting to see them get killed. It’s that kind of character development, and performances by the cast, that makes the horrific kills orchestrated by Savini hit even harder, especially when a raft rescue goes wrong and ends up with quite a few lost limbs and digits. The combination of the effects, the acting and Rick Wakeman’s awesome score catapult THE BURNING beyond typical slasher fare.
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Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Tony Maylam and International Film Journalist Alan Jones (carried over from the 2007 DVD release); Audio Commentary with stars Shelley Bruce and Bonnie Deroski;
  • Blood ā€˜nā€™ Fire Memories. Another feature carried over from 2007 release, with Savini talking about his experience on creating the effecs for the film, along with going on about how every FRIDAY THE 13TH after the first one is stupid.
  • Slash & Cut ā€“ An interview with editor Jack Sholder. Sholder talks about his experiences editing the film and of the drama behind the scenes, such as the Weinsteins keeping director Tony Maylam away from the editing process. Sholder also goes on about not really thinking the film itself was that great, and that he really doesn’t even care for horror films really (which makes it strange that he went on the direct ALONE IN THE DARK (1982), A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 and THE HIDDEN).
  • Cropsey Speaks – Actor Lou David speaks about playing Cropsey, and is a lot of fun to watch. He mentions that his son was born the day before and how he was upset the whole shoot having to leave the baby so soon. He’s very animated throughout, quite the contrast to Sholder’s borderline grumpy interview.
  • Summer Camp Nightmare – Lead actress Leah Ayres speaks about how she got into acting because of simply “needing money”, and how the fresh vibe of a lot of newcomers added to whole experience in a positive way.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage; Theatrical Trailer; Make-Up Effects and Poster Still Galleries

  • All in all, Scream Factory’s release of THE BURNING is well worth picking up. Aside from one of the commentaries and Savini’s interview, the majority of the features are brand new, and the film itself has never looked better. Check it out!