The Burning (1981)

The Burning

The Burning is a 1981 American slasher horror film directed by Tony Maylam, with a soundtrack by prog rock musician Rick Wakeman (from the band Yes). It tells the story of a cruel, alcoholic, sadistic caretaker at a summer camp (nicknamed “Cropsy” and based on the urban legend of Cropsey) who falls victim to a prank that went out of control which leaves him horribly burned and disfigured. Following his release from hospital, he returns to his old stomping ground and begins a murder spree…

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The film was one of the first from Miramax Films: Harvey Weinstein produced the film and Bob Weinstein was a co-writer. Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens and future Oscar winner Holly Hunter all made their motion picture debuts in this film.


The Burning appeared on the British Director of Public Prosecution’s list as a so-called ‘video nasty‘ when major company Thorn EMI issued it in an uncensored version seemingly by mistake, but was quickly dropped from the list when the BBFC ‘X’ rated version was substituted. This censored version was stamped by EMI on its label to differentiate it from the uncut version, dealers being encouraged to return any ‘rogue’ copies. See the film’s UK censorship history on the Melonfarmers website.

On 10 October 2016, Arrow Video release a limited edition Blu-ray + DVD Steelbook:



  • Limited Edition SteelBook packaging (4000 copies)
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary with director Tony Maylam and critic Alan Jones
  • Audio commentary with stars Shelley Bruce and Bonnie Deroski
  • Brand new audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues
  • Blood n Fire Memories a detailed look at the creation of the film’s make-up effects with special effects artist Tom Savini
  • Slash & Cut an interview with editor Jack Sholder
  • Cropsy Speaks an interview with actor Lou David
  • Summer Camp Nightmare an interview with actress Leah Ayres
  • Brand new interview with composer Rick Wakeman
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Make-Up Effects Still Gallery
  • Poster & Still Gallery

First pressing only: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Justin Kerswell


British director Tony Maylam’s direction is classy, even at times stylish – look out for a great Argento-like shot early on in the film where a jet of blood hits a mirror, momentarily illuminated by a flash of lightning. Maylam maintains a furious pace throughout – even the film’s most infamous sequence where some teens are slaughtered on a raft is furiously cut together, the five kills done and dusted within 30 seconds, lending the sequence a powerful frisson similar to the first murder set piece in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Wes M, Plutonium Shores



“Like other forgotten slashers such as The Prowler and My Bloody Valentine, it’s a sadly overlooked movie. It’s not the best you’ll see, but when the blood starts to flow, it’s more than you were expecting.” Bryan White, Cinema Suicide


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Wikipedia | IMDb

Categories: 1980s, Blu-ray, gory, maniac, slasher

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. A sweet slasher film that surprisingly didn’t spawn 60 sequels. Great kills, brutal looking FX and a great maniac. One I remember hunter for uncut.

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