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The Burning

By Paul Gaita

Horribly disfigured by fire after a prank goes awry, dissolute camp caretaker Cropsy (Lou David) emerges five years later from the burn ward to wreak vengeance on a new batch of hormone-driven campers with a pair of oversized garden shears. Director Tony Maylam leans heavily on slasher-movie clichés (false scares, multiple climaxes, Vaseline-smeared POVs, and leering angles on female anatomy), but they're at least handled with a degree of competence and attention to pacing not usually found in post-Friday the 13th thrillers. The cast (which includes film debuts by Holly Hunter, Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, and Brian Backer from Fast Times at Ridgemont High) also approach their cookie-cutter characters with a let's-put-on-a-show level of enthusiasm and earnestness. Eighties gore fans should know that MGM's release of this full-frame print marks the first time The Burning has been available in an uncut form in the United States. Some 45 seconds of gruesome special effects (courtesy of Tom Savini) were trimmed from the theatrical and home video releases to insure an R rating. In the United Kingdom, an additional 19 seconds were removed after the film was placed on the notorious "video nasties" list. The Burning was produced (and "created," whatever that means) by Harvey Weinstein and his then-fledgling company Miramax; Harvey also contributed to the original story with brother Bob and future producer/talent agent Brad Grey (The Sopranos, The Larry Sanders Show). Editor Jack Sholder went on to direct The Hidden. The cacophonous electronic score is by Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)DVD unavailableSoundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list
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Director: Tony Maylem

Stars: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer, Larry Joshua, Lou David, Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter

Released: May 8, 1981

Availability: VHS


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