The Burning (1981)

USA, 1980
91m, 8188 feet/2496 metres
35mm film, colour
mono, English

An American movie directed by Tony Maylam. Due to the accidental release of an uncut videotape, it ended up on the British “” list.

Plot Summary

Summer camp janitor Cropsy is horribly burned when a moronic prank goes tragically wrong. Some years later, an understandably traumatised Cropsy is released from the psychiatric hospital where he's been treated and he immediately heads back to the summer camp where a new batch of campers – and one of his tormentors – are in residence for the summer…


Directed by: Tony Maylam
© Copyright 1980 The Cropsy Venture
Jean Ubaud, Michael Cohl, Corky Burger present a Miramax production of The Burning
Executive Producers: John Ubaud, Michael Cohl, Andre Djaoui
Created and Produced by: Harvey Weinstein
Associate Producer: Dany Ubaud
Screenplay by: Peter Lawrence and Bob Weinstein
Original Story by: Harvey Weinstein, Tony Maylam, Brad Gray
Director of Photography: Harvey Harrison
Editor: Jack Sholder
Music Composed and Performed by: Rick Wakeman
Sound Mixer: Gary Rich
Wardrobe Supervisor: Marcia Patten
Makeup/Hair: Suzen Poshek
Special Makeup and Effects by/Horror Sequences Designed by: Tom Savini
Art Director: Peter Politanoff

Brian Matthews (Todd)
Leah Ayres (Michelle)
Brian Backer (Alfred)
Larry Joshua (Glazer)
Jason Alexander (Dave)
Ned Eisenberg (Eddy)
Carrick Glenn (Sally)
Carolyn Houlihan (Karen)
Fisher Stevens (Woodstock)
Lou David as Cropsy
Shelley Bruce (Tiger)
Sarah Chodoff (Barbara)
Bonnie Deroski (Marnie)
Holly Hunter (Sophie)
Kevi Kendall (Diane)
J.R. McKechnie (Fish)
George Parry (Alan)
Ame Segull (Rhoda)
Jeff De Hart (supervisor)
Bruce Kluger (Rod)

Alternative Titles

Brennende Rache – German title

See also
The Final Terror (1983)
Reazione a catena (1971)
Friday the 13th (1980)
Friday the 13th Part 2 ()
Halloween (1978)
Madman (1981)

Extracts included in
Scream Greats Volume 1: Tom Savini Master of Horror Make-up (1986)

Production Notes

Censorship History
In the USA the MPAA demanded 45 seconds of cuts before it would award the film an R rating. For nearly two decades the full length print was not legally available in the States as the video versions were this same, emasculated cut. In 2001, released the film on their own label as an internet only release.

In the UK, the original Thorn-EMI release was uncut, including the few 19 seconds of Tom Savini effects snipped by the BBFC. The tape was quickly withdrawn and replaced by a cut version that also fell foul of some local police forces.


Monthly Film Bulletin vol.48 no.575 (December 1981) p.241
A slavish imitation of the already imitative Friday the 13th, hardly bothering even to refurbish the plot and providing the usual bevy of indistinguishably nubile girls as foils to the inevitable sturdy hero, macho bully and snivelling loner. The singularly tiresome monster, accompanied by electronic janglings wherever he goes and heralded by a great many non-appearances in the interests of suspense (i.e., whenever anyone can be manoeuvred into isolation), turns out to be a very damp squib indeed. Presented Disney-fashion as a towering, barely glimpsed silhouette, in lighting that bears no relation to prevailing atmospheric conditions, he seems to be playing in an entirely different movie from the one inhabited by his victims – from a review by Tom Milne

New York Times 5 November 1982 p.C7
The Burning makes a few minor departures from the usual clichés of its genre, though it carefully preserves the violence and sadism that are schlock horror's sine qua non. Instead of following the one-dead-teen-per-15-minutes-of-screen-time formula, this film dawdles; it devotes endless time to horseplay among the campers, who are a tanned, frisky, co-ed bunch. It also wastes time on an abundance of false alarms. To make up for all this, considerable carnage must be racked up in a hurry, and so one of the film's later scenes dispatches a dozen campers in a single attack. – from a review by Janet Maslin

All text in this section © the relevant copyright holders


Broadcast no.1222 (22 August 1983) p.29 (UK) – article
Cinefantastique vol.11 no.2 (Autumn 1981) p.52 – review
DVD Review no.20 (2000) p.9 – illustrated note (World News: Open the Vault!)
Halls of Horror no.27 p.17 – note
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.48 no.575 (December 1981) p.241 – credits, synopsis, review (by Tom Milne)
Screen International no.300 (11 July 1981) p.6 – note
Starburst no.42 (1982) p.13 – illustrated review
Variety 6 May 1981 p.46 – credits, review
Video Business vol.4 no.32 (1 October 1984) p.12 – review
Video Business vol.4 no.46 (21 January 1985) p.1 (UK) – article
Video Trade Weekly no.140 (24 August 1984) p.21 – review
Video Week 5 January 1987 p.8 – note

Daily Telegraph 23 February 1984 p.3 – note (Thorn-EMI face film court action by “our crime staff”)
New York Times 5 November 1982 p.C7 – credits, review (by Janet Maslin)

The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.346 – illustrated credits, review
Educational Institutions in Horror Film: A History of Mad Professors, Student Bodies, and Final Exams by Andrew L. Grunzke pp.136, 151, 154, 157
Film Review 1982-1983 by F. Maurice Speed (ed.) p.143 – credits, review
The Films of the Eighties by Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.75-76 – credits, synopsis
Grande Illusions by Tom Savini – illustrated article
Hoffman's Guide to SF, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.59 – credits, review
Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis pp.44-49 – credits
Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.228-230 – credits, synopsis, review
Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990 by Brian Albright p.249
The Seduction of the Gullible (2nd edition) by John Martin pp.35-37 – credits, review