Sunday, October 07, 2007

FGFC: "The Burning"

So the Final Girl film club pick this time around is ”The Burning” a movie from the magical time of 1981. When you think about it some pretty awesome things happened in '81: “The Greatest American Hero” debuted, MTV was launched, “Halloween II” graced the silver screen, the IBM 5150 was released, “Evil Dead” came out, Julia Stiles, Amy Lee, and Natalie Portman were all born, and “An American Werewolf in London” was released....I think something else happened in '81 but I can't seem to remember what it is. Anyway getting back on track, as you can see “The Burning” had quite a bit to live up to.

The beginning a.k.a. What happens before the running around and slicing

As the movie starts we see Camp Blackstone where a group of young campers are planning on giving the camp Janitor Cropsy a bit of a scare. Apparently Cropsy isn't a very nice person and as such these kids take it upon themselves to break into his cabin while he sleeps and place an actually really creepy looking, worm ridden, waxy, severed head, with candles in it's eyes next to his bed. The prank works a little too well, Cropsy does in fact get scared...he gets so scared that he bats the head off of the shelf onto his bed where it promptly sets fire to him. As he jumps and runs around he knocks over his handy can of gasoline and the fire really takes off. After a quick fiery jog Cropsy makes with the stop and roll all the way down a hill into the river.

One week later at St. Catherine's Hospital we find out that Cropsy has survived, but he is burned badly “A fuckin' big mack...overdone” as he is described by a hospital employee.

Cut to five years later Cropsy is finally being discharged and the Doctors parting advice is that he let go of the anger towards the kids that did this.

After a brief stabby tryst with an unfortunate lady of the night it is time for Cropsy to return to Camp Blackstone to exact his revenge!


I wanted to love “The Burning” I really did which in retrospect may have been my problem. See I don't dislike much about the movie but at the same time not much really stands out as particularly awesome either. The overall atmosphere of the movie seems right, some decently tense moments, some fun camp stuff, pretty much the usual and not much else.

There were a couple of things that bothered me or I found strange for some reason or the other. One of them being when Todd and the kids are sitting around the campfire and Todd told the story of the “legend of Cropsy.” Since Todd was one of the kids directly responsible for burning Cropsy it seemed inappropriate for him to be using that story for entertainment. I could see if one of the kids told it as a scary story and Todd had sat uncomfortably or something but... The other thing that bugged me a bit was the character development. For the most part the campers who were killed I really wasn't all that involved with. For that matter I don't believe I was surprised even once by a slaying, they all came about fairly obviously. In fact I was more surprised by who all survived than anything.

As far as highlights go, I'll probably get a lot of flack for this one but I thought it was pretty cool to see a young Jason Alexander in a much different style role. Sure he was a bit cheesy, but actually that is what made him believable. I mean haven't we all met that kind of smart assed, sometimes funny guy who seems to be able to get along with everyone?

In the end I would have to say that it was worth watching once but in the future I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again. If I am craving a summer camp slasher I'll be putting in “Sleepaway Camp”, or the old standard “Friday the 13th” part whatever. It hurts me to have to say that for me “The Burning” makes my thumbs point towards the middle...Or it would if I used my thumbs as a movie rating system.


Melizer said...

Right, thumbs are under copyright. Not even Roper can use his thumb for rating movies until they re-up Ebert's contract, as I learned in this Sunday's paper.

I second your motion, including the part about Jason Alexander, and prefering Sleepaway Camp.

See you at FGFC!

AE said...

"Since Todd was one of the kids directly responsible for burning Cropsy it seemed inappropriate for him to be using that story for entertainment."

This is SUCH a great point. I completely agree. That scene seemed to have wandered in from a different script. It was a shame because the opener did have such a nice campfire-horror-story feel, but then for him to retell it like that was completely wrong.

FatalPierce said...

melizer: Yeah the whole thumb issue has been a pretty touchy subject of late. Which I think is unfortunate as it is making it seem like people care more about Roger Ebert's thumbs than they do his health.

Yeah, I just kind of liked Jason Alexander in the movie. He reminded me a (maybe a little bit too much) of one of my brothers...My biggest regret for my review was that I was unable to sneak in an "Art Vandalay" reference. As for Sleepaway Camp, all credit for my even knowing about that movie goes to Stacie.

ae: I'm glad I'm not the only one that felt like there were two or three different scripts at play in this movie.