Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


THE BURNING (1981) Director: Tony Maylam.

Cropsy (Lou David), a cruel camp counselor, becomes the victim of a practical joke which inadvertently burns and disfigures him. Years later he stalks a group of kids and counselors at a summer camp, with the climactic would-be victim (Brian Matthews) being one of the kids (now grown up) responsible for his condition. This reasonably effective stalk-and-slash film is especially disturbing at times because we get to know and like many of the victims, and their deaths have more of a resonance. The gruesome "highlight" of the film has Cropsy jumping up out of a canoe and using huge shears to attack and kill several campers on a raft at once (this sequence stretches credulity, however). Jason Alexander plays one of the counselors and exhibits his usual upbeat personality. Holly Hunter is one of the kids but she doesn't stick out of the crowd. Fisher Stevens is one of the people punctured on the raft. Some of the lesser-known actors actually offer very good performances. There is some genuine suspense of a minor kind, and the climax is somewhat exciting. Producer Harvey Weinstein contributed to the script.

Verdict: For mad slasher addicts only. **1/2.

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