Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Halloween Countdown: THE BURNING


If you’re in the market for a cut-rate FRIDAY THE 13th slasher film, THE BURNING is for you. Actually, it’s not a bad film, as far as horror flicks go. The acting is decent in most cases, and there are a few jump-scares that worked for me, as the killer is pretty good at hiding and the director is adept at ratcheting up the suspense as the victims approach a likely scenario of doom.

Here’s the basic premise: summer camp. Stories of an old caretaker who got pranked (er...burned) by some former campers five years ago and is running about the forest, slicing and dicing now. Present day campers become total fodder for said maniac.

In my book, FRIDAY THE 13th is a really good horror flick: it contains a lot of menace, which is so lacking in many scary movies. Mrs. Vorhees is way more frightening than the killer in THE BURNING, IMHO, even if this guy's kills are effective. (Tom Savini did the make up, and here’s a rule of thumb for novice horror movie watchers: if you’re looking for the mark of a decent scary flick, go to IMDB and find out which movies he’s done.) Also, FRIDAY THE 13th was canny enough to utilize a creepy score that carried hints of a horror masterpiece in its screaming PSYCHO violins; it also had that “Cheh-cheh-cheh-hah-hah-hah” or whatever sound effect, something that made it stand out from other movies. THE BURNING has your basic cheap pinball-synth music—the kind that makes you think that someone let their five-year-old loose on a keyboard.

But there are some interesting traits that distinguish THE BURNING from its forerunner, FRIDAY THE 13th, which (early on) used the counselors as its dead meat. THE BURNING brings the kid campers into the action. That’s kind of ballsy. And we get to see camp life--not just counselors preparing for the arrival of the campers. And the camp itself? Pleasure Freakin’ Island. The horny teens smoke, read Playboy and Hustler, and engage in frequent brawling. The boy male hornies also are under the guidance of what could be termed The Worst Counselors Evah.

I liked that.

Oh—and here’s the Film/TV Geek orgasm part of the flick: you won’t believe who’s in this movie! I present to you a pubescent Holly Hunter (who’s barely in it, but you can pick her out as one of the potential dead meats), Fisher Stevens, Mark Ratner from FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, and…wait for it…a young George Costanza—but with hair! It’s awesome!

P.S. On a side note, as I anticipated, I haven’t been able to do SUPERNATURAL recaps. It’s just on at a bad time for me, and by the time I can get around to writing down my thoughts, the novelty of the episode has worn off. But I like the new set up with the bros. Don’t you?

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