The Burning (1981)

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Nastiness Rating:

Directed by: Tony Maylam
Written by: Harvey Weinstein/Tony Maylam/Brad Grey/Peter Lawrence/Bob Weinstein

With a story written and created by themselves, Bob and Harvey Weinstein started their film careers (this is the first Miramax feature) with this movie that seems to be a take-off of Friday The 13th. In fact, it was written before the more famous movie and, in my opinion, it’s better.

A camp groundskeeper is accidentally burned by a group of boys who hate him. When he is let out of the hospital five years later, he plots his revenge by killing them Jason style. Of course, there’s only one at the camp nearby. Todd is now a camp counselor and has a whole new group of kids under his care. (Including Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens and Holly Hunter–look quick for her.)

The kids here are more well-written (and they’re actually funny) than the kids in Friday The 13th and the killer kind of makes more sense. Tom Savini did the effects here, turning down Friday Part II for this. (According to him, Jason was dead before the first movie, so he shouldn’t have been coming back in any sequels.) And he did a pretty amazing job on them. Fingers cut off, heads sliced open, over the top burn effects…all great.

Actually, I’m not really sure why this is on the Video Nasties list. It’s no worse than Friday The 13th as far as gore is concerned. Not really. Was it just that it was an independent film? Maybe. It did seem a bit darker than a lot of American slasher flicks. More like an Italian horror film, maybe. Or maybe the British had it in for Tom Savini? I don’t know. But there it is, and it’s probably one of the better films on the list. It’s finally been released on DVD, so check it out.

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