On a moonlit evening many years ago, a group of young campers played a trick on Crospy, the camp caretaker. The trick backfired and Cropsy became a horribly disfigured maniac, a mutilated killer with a thirst of revenge….
The Burning is the suspenseful, terrifying account of the demented Cropsy’s return to the summer camp, and of the trial of blood he leaves in the dark woods. His sinister presence shadows the sunny fun of the campers as Cropsy stalks his victims, ruthlessly pursing his macabre revenge. Great performances, frightening special effects, and the spectre of a crazed killer combine for a horror feature that’s a spectacle of shocks
For me personally, The Burning is the best slasher film period. You can throw all your Jason Voorhees, your Michael Myers and Freddy Kruger’s into the mixing pot and it still wouldn’t come close to this in my eyes. I recall renting it from my local video store back in the mid 90’s along with a bunch of other 80’s horror and had a weekend marathon and just being absolutely floored by it and still continue to do so on every viewing. When people ask why they didn’t do a sequel, I like to think that it’s because the first film is so rewatchable. Why do I like the film so much? I find the characters (played by quite a few up and coming Hollywood stars at the time) believable and likeable. The film doesn’t exaggerate the typical slasher teen too much. I find Cropsy genuinely frightening throughout due to Tom Savini’s impressive make up effects and that fact that his appearance is kept well hidden throughout the film. One of the biggest factors though is the amazing synth heavy score by Rick Wakeman which gives the film a raw intensity that other slashers failed to display.
The Burning is presented on Blu-ray with a 1080/24p MPEG4-AVC codec that preserves the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Before anyone gets excited, it’s worth mentioning that The Burning has not undergone any new 2/4K scanning and / or remastering and sourced from the same HD master that he been used for various Blu-ray releases and HDTV showings. Despite that little setback that was anticipated, it’s still the best the film has ever looked. Growing up on muddy VHS sourced prints, the HD master is nothing short of a revelation. Despite the film still having a slightly soft and hazy look to it (inherent from the source materials), the level of detail is still generally pleasing and colours are certainly more bolder than its previous DVD release from MGM in the US (which I believe was minted from the same HD master). Coupled with Arrow’s ever brilliant authoring and Blu-ray compression, there were no digital anomalies like macro blocking or haloing to be seen.
The Burning Blu-ray presents only a single audio track and that is an LPCM 1.0 audio track that preserves the film’s original mono audio mix. Considering this is just a 1.0 track (shows up as 5.1 but only the centre channel is used), I was quite impressed with the overall quality of the audio track. Even though the dialogue, music and ambient is all contained within the centre channel, there was no hiss or cackle or pops observed throughout and dialogue levels was pretty spot on throughout compared the rather tinny audio on the previous MGM DVD. What impressed me even more was the LFE usage that was filtered out giving Rick Wakeman’s superb synth score more impact. I’ve never heard the score for this film sound so good before and was very pleased when the LFE started kicking in during the closing moments of the title sequence.
• 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 look at the creation of the film’s make-up effects with FX 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
• Synthly the Best – a brand new interview with composer Rick Wakeman
• Behind-the-Scenes Footage
• Theatrical Trailer
• Image Galleries
The Burning also features the standard reversible sleeve featuring original and new artwork by Justin Erickson (which also featured on the now OOP limited edition steelbook version). Both the steelbook and the first pressing edition of the regular edition feature an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Justin Kerswell
After no many years of waiting for the defintiive edition (older DVD’s were ropy VHS dupes with tinny sound and random special features, Arrow have managed to cut through all the red tape of Licensing issues and have served up this excellent release of The Burning for horror fans in the UK. Even though the announcement was originally an April Fool’s Joke (The Burning – ‘F*!kin’ Big Mac….overdone!’ Edition) it’s been a long time coming but it was worth it. Even though it was using an older HD master, it stil better than the previous DVD’s releases and the umcompressed sound really gave it a bit more impact. The special features give fans around 90 mins of featureetes and interviews to get their teeth into after the main features. The booklet (only included in the first pressing) is the cherry on top of another quality Arrow Video release.