What we know as the slasher film began to take form during the mid to late 1970s. Then starting in the 1980s we begin to see what would be the first of a large wave of slasher films and a preview of a decade that would be nothing but a single killer standing over a pile of dead bodies and great practical effects.
A sub-genre to this already sub-genre is the camp slasher film. After Friday the 13th achieved a high level of success and uncovered this fear people had of the worst case scenario of summer camp. Many horror directors for better or for worse attempted their take on the camp slasher film. Even though its origin was just two brothers looking for easy money, The Burning is by far one of the most memorable camp slashers.
Yes, Jason Alexander was once that young and had hair.
Even for those who have never seen it The Burning is a very memorable film. It’s not only the very first Miramax film but its script was written by Harvey and Bob Weinstein who at the time eagerly wanted to capitalize on the popularity of Friday the 13th. This film also stars a young Jason Alexander sporting a full head of hear which is quite surreal.
One factor for The Burning standing the test of time is due to the prop work of the great Tom Savini. Savini turned down Friday the 13th Part 2 to do this film because he believed it had a better script (which it does) and he found it absolutely stupid that Jason Voorhees, a child who is mentioned in the script and later shown in a dream sequences is apparently resurrected as a blood thirsty goon.
As mentioned previously, the script to this film is above average when compared to other slasher films. The idea of a campfire story coming to life is something any fan of horror can appreciate. And as always important among slasher films, the gore is top notch. It’s always a thrill to watch the killer but their shears to work.
For fans of 80s slasher films and the heyday of camp slasher films, The Burning is a must watch. It’s fun and a great throwback to this early 1980s sub-genre of horror.