Oct 2nd: The Burning (1981):
http://youtu.be/FmstVaD7b9M (Link to trailer followed by full film)
1981 was a more simple time. Slasher films were still novel and original, or rather most North American Fright Fans hadn’t caught on to the fact that all the best stuff was lifted from Italian Giallo films yet. Jason Alexander still had hair, and all a film needed to establish someone as a bully was to give him a Brooklyn accent, take away his sleeves, and refer to him only by his last name. While Glazer is an early example of unintentionally hilarious 80’s film characters, He is FAR from the best part of this film. The Burning is one of the early examples of a Summercamp Slasher film, right alongside Friday the 13th, and like Friday the 13th, is heavily influenced by Italian Giallo films. The killer is barely seen, and when he is, is clad in long coat, hat and cloves. Where The Burning stands out and bucks the trend is that we know who the killer is. Years ago, a mean bastard of a camp caretaker named Cropsey was the victim of a prank gone bad, leaving him severely burned. 5 years later, the horribly disfigured Cropsey returns for his revenge. Camp Blackfoot, the scene of the accident, is now closed down, so Cropsey merely travels to the next camp over, Camp Stonewater, and begins hacking and slashing with large Gardening shears.
The make-up effects are handled deftly by Tom Savini(who actually passed up Friday the 13th part 2, to do this film), and are some of the best gags that hold up even to this day. In addition to the gore, we are treated to several scenes of kids being kids, highlighted by Jason Alexander stealing every scene he is in, and lets not forget about the sex. It’s a bunch of teens at Summer Camp, you really thought there wouldn’t be sexytimes? The sex and violence helped land this film on the infamous Video Nasty List (more on that when the Nasty Files revisits this gem), but is now available uncut. Curiously enough, the Term “Cropsey” refers to a boogeyman like character from New York Urban Legend, that may have had it’s origins from a real-life child killer. At one point, the term “Cropsey” was used to describe any psychotically violent criminal in New York vernacular, and must have seemed a perfect fit for our Shear-weilding psycho. The More You Know…