The Burning

The Burning

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This forgotten gem is one of the better (and more original) of the summer camp slasher pics. Both of us enjoyed it quite a bit.

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The Burning (1981)

Episode 44, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd:  Welcome to another edition of 2 Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.

Craig:  And I’m Craig.

Todd:  Today’s film, we are watching the 1981 horror slasher summer camp movie, The Burning. This is a movie that, again, was out in 1981 and has not really stood the test of time. I think it’s a pretty decent film, but it really hasn’t achieved the notoriety that Friday 13th series, and Halloween, and some of the other slashers did, that came out around this time. Maybe it was more more than anything a victim of unfortunate circumstances. I know that this movie was developed, around the same time that the Friday the 13th movie was being developed, and being developed by none other than Harvey Weinstein, who, you may know as the Weinstein brothers, who founded Miramax. In fact, this is Miramax’s first film. They were really desperate to break into the film industry, saw that, on the success of Halloween and some of these lower budget slasher pictures, that they seemed to make a lot of money, and thought, well, we can make a quick buck, and really break in with a horror movie of our own. And so Harvey Weinstein, basically picked up this urban legend that had been floating around, New York and New Jersey about this, campfire.  It’s like basically a campfire story, I think, that people told about this guy named Cropsey, who would go out and murder campers. And so he got together with a writer. They developed the script, and I think, they started production around a couple weeks, around the time that maybe, production had wrapped on Friday 13th or maybe that Friday 13th had come out. I mean, I think Friday 13th came out in 1980, and this one eventually hit theaters in 1981. And even the makeup artist, Tom Savini, who worked on all the makeup on Friday 13th and all the gore effects, jumped on and did this picture as well. And, apparently, according to him, liked the script for this one better, so he turned down, the offer to work on Friday 13th part 2 just so that he could work on this movie, although he didn’t apparently get as much time to work on this movie because the production was so rushed. Wow, I just did a huge info dump, Craig.

Craig:  No. Yeah. A lot of that stuff that you said, I wasn’t familiar. I didn’t know until, you know, I’m watching the movie and I see, Harvey Weinstein’s name pop up. And, of course, that jumped out to me right away. And then after seeing the movie, I read all that back story that you just said. And I think that you’re absolutely right that, it really just kinda got lost in the shuffle. The early eighties, you know, they Hollywood figured out that these movies were making a lot of money, in the theaters, in drive thrus.  And so after the initial success of Halloween and Friday 13th part 1, there was just kind of a flood of these. And this one, like you said, Tom Savini, who’s an amazing, special effects guy, and has been doing it forever and is still doing it and and is really, really talented. He did pass up, the opportunity to work on, Friday 13th part 2. This movie, The Burning, I I think opened right around the same time as Friday 13th part 2, and they’re shockingly similar in, subject matter, and plot. I mean, they’re they’re really virtually identical in a lot of ways, except for the backstory of the killer. And for whatever reason, you know, maybe it’s just because there was already name, popularity or or recognizability with the Friday 13th, after the success of the first one. This one just didn’t do as well. But arguably, I think that it holds up pretty well.  I mean, it’s not amazing. It’s pretty standard fare as far as, early eighties slashers go. But it’s got some things going for it, that I think make it a worthwhile entry into the genre. One of those things, being Savini’s, effects, which I thought were fantastic.

Todd:  Oh my word. Yeah. You know, I’m watching this, and this is the second time I’d seen this. Had you seen this one before? No. Okay. Yeah. And, you know, I I remembered kind of enjoying it. I remembered feeling kind of blah blah about it.  The second time around, I was really quite shocked actually at the gore effects, that it was as gory, as it is. And I’m not sure if the version that we’re seeing is the more recent kind of uncut version that was released not long after. I’m pretty sure that the MPAA made them make some cuts, shortened up some of the gore scenes and some of the deaths when it came out in the theaters. But it’s it’s pretty brutal as far as that goes. It’s it’s kind of a brutal film, but in some ways, as you said, I think it’s superior to, the Friday 13th movies, You know? And I’m sure we’ll talk about that as we kind of go in. But

Craig:  Yeah. I mean, I would I would certainly put it at least on par. You know, that franchise, Friday 13th went on Todd spawn a bazillion sequels, and I always enjoyed them all. It was one of those things you knew what kind of movie it was gonna be for the most part, and you went into it for the, you know, new ways that Jason was gonna off people. You know, this this movie, like like we said, didn’t do as well. So, any thoughts about a sequel were quickly scrapped. It didn’t do particularly well when it first came out because it opened against some other big horror movies. But, apparently, it did pretty well overseas, especially in Japan.  I think at the time, it was the most profitable, horror movie Japan had ever seen. But yeah, like you said, it’s there’s a lot going for it. And yes, I thought the gore effects were excellent, especially considering, you know, I think that we are a little bit, numbed to Gore these days, especially with the advent of CGI and everything that they can do with that. This was all before that, so everything’s practical. And practical effects just have kind of an air of realism about them that I don’t see in CGI. I know that the the purpose of CGI is to make it look as real as possible, but you can just always kinda tell. There’s kind of an animated feel to it. And this, you can tell that whether it be real flesh or not, you know, something is actually getting stabbed.  You know, the blood looks real, and, I I thought it was good. I was impressed.

Todd:  Yeah. There’s there becomes almost a crudity. I mean, it’s well done. It’s very well done. But, yeah, there’s just that visceral organic, like I said, almost crudity to it that makes it just a little more ew. And and especially if you sort of care about the characters, it’s a little worse. I mean, it hits you a little harder with those practical effects, I think, if they’re done well.

Craig:  Well, and that’s that’s one of the other things that I think that this movie has going for it, Some of those other slasher films didn’t. You know, within the whole canon of Friday 13th, I can maybe remember 1 or 2 characters who I had any sense of feeling about, whether I cared or not, whether they made it through the movie. Usually, it’s just, you know, random horny teenagers and, you know, they get picked off 1 by 1 and you don’t care. You almost kind of celebrate, their deaths. But here, now, I I will say that again, just like with prom night, which we watched and talked about last week, there are so many characters that it’s kind of hard to keep up with all of them. But it’s set in the summer camp, so to have fewer characters, I think may not have come across as genuine. But the characters that are there are likable, you know? And they although many of them look like they’re too old to be at a summer camp, the the the acting is pretty good. And and you I don’t know if I go so far as to say that I cared about the fate of any of these characters, but I viewed them as more than just your stock characters in most cases.  And I’m sure a lot of that has to do, with the cast. I mean, this was, the first movie for Jason Alexander, who went on, of course, to huge fame with, Seinfeld. I didn’t even notice it, but, Holly Hunter is in the movie.

Todd:  Yeah.

Craig:  Oscar winner, Holly Hunter. She plays a very small role. I I went to the Internet and did a Google image search and was like, oh, yeah. There she is. That’s her. Mhmm. And then, Fisher Stevens, who I recognized right away, he was kinda big in the eighties. I remembered him from the Short Circuit movies.  He’s in this very, very young, and he’s gone on to a lot of success too. He’s, as a, a documentary filmmaker, he’s he’s won some pretty prestigious awards. So you’ve got some, you know, people who have gone on to prove themselves as being really talented folks. And even some of the other characters, are recognizable faces from the eighties. And it’s really competent casting. And I think that was another thing that the movie had going for it.

Todd:  Yeah. It was. And so even though you have these stock characters, and I would say not all of them are stock characters, but you have a few you know, you have your bully guy. You know? You’ve got Eddie. Well, he’s kind of a bully, kind of a a cool guy. But then you have your girl who’s maybe a little slutty, but not super slut. You know, you can just tell she’s a little more interested in sex. You have Alfred, the sort of dorky guy who just doesn’t really fit in at camp and really doesn’t wanna be there that the other kids pick on.  Glaser is the guy who’s the, who’s the the jerk. But you know, it’s interesting, and I think this is part of what makes it so real, is that they’re still all kind of getting along in ways Right. Like you would at a summer camp. I mean, you don’t just totally turn your back on each other. Even the bully kinda gets in on the fun, and maybe everybody makes fun of him too a little bit, and he just takes it a little bit. I felt like the relationship between the characters was way more real despite the fact that these characters maybe came across as a little too strong and a little too Todd. You got a hint that there’s another side to them, that knows to lighten up or that knows to get serious.

Craig:  Right. Well, and the way that I don’t, you know, I don’t know if it was the writing, the direction, a combination of both, but the interactions between these young people seemed very genuine. You know, the the dialogue was really quick. It was quick witted. There were a lot of scenes where there were a lot of actors in Craig, so there was a lot of stuff going on and it it just seemed very natural, for the most part. Now, of course, this is a low budget eighties horror movie, so there were certainly, some performances that were a little bit subpar and, maybe a little bit over the top in some places. But for the most part, it just seemed like, you know, the direction, the acting, the writing, it came together and really, made this a pretty competent movie. It’s not a bad b movie.  It’s it’s it’s better. It’s better quality than that.

Todd:  Oh, yeah. And you know, the other thing that I really enjoyed about it was not only did I enjoy watching the characters interact with each other, which is honestly a feeling I rarely ever get from a Friday 13th movie.

Craig:  Right.

Todd:  Right. Like you said, they’re really just bodies to be picked off. Here, I I thought that the characters seemed real, and I enjoyed watching them interact. But I think that this writing and this script really stays true to the idea of a summer camp. Like, this seems like a real summer camp where real summer camp activities are happening. They’re going on canoe trips, they’re hiking in the woods, they’re all out swimming. Whereas the Friday 13th movies always just feel like a bunch of people hanging out in a cabin at night and slipping away one at the time, You know?

Craig:  Yep. Yep. Absolutely.

Todd:  Most of it happens during the day, and that’s part of what’s kind of cool about it Todd is that whereas it feels like Jason doesn’t really appear until he gets the cover of night, in this instance, Cropsy can appear almost whenever, and a lot of times he just shows up in the middle of the day. And he doesn’t have to show up when it’s one person who slipped away. It could be a whole group of kids who are unfortunate enough to stumble upon him, who are who are suddenly getting attacked. And so it isn’t and, again, it’s not a total copy because they came out around the same time. They’re being developed around the same time. So, you know, it’s not like the wine, you know, Harvey Weinstein looked at Friday 13th and said, I wanna make a movie just like that. He, he had this idea sort of simultaneously. And you know, of course the idea happened to revolve around the summer camp because of this legend.  And so you can tell that it takes just a slightly different take to it, and I feel it’s just a little more authentic presentation of the summer camp experience.

Craig:  Sure. I can I can totally, agree with you on that? And but for the most part, you know, it’s it’s really fairly standard as far as these type of movies go. The only thing that makes it kind of different, I guess, is the backstory of the antagonist. And it’s really not all that unique and it’s been done again since then. In fact, one of our favorite movies that we’ve watched is Final Girls. The killer in that movie, his backstory is drawn from this movie. But basically the premise that we we Todd out, I don’t remember. It just it opens on this like cabin and it says, Camp Blackfoot.  And all of these boys, you know, adolescent teenage boys are conspiring against the caretaker at the camp who apparently is a big jerk. He picks on them, he beats them up. He’s just a bad guy all around and so they’re gonna play a prank on him to scare him and they kind of talk about what they’re going to do and, all these boys are in on it. And so they go to his cabin and, he’s sleeping there and we don’t really know what their plan is. And I didn’t know, you know, did they have some intention of hurting him or is it just a goof? As it turns out, they had just intended it to be like a goof. What they did is they took a very real looking decomposing human skull. I’m not really sure where they got that. But they they had it, like it was it was gross and crawling with bugs and they put candles in the eyes.  And they sat it next to his bed, and then they all went around to his bedroom window and they they tapped on the window and got his attention until he saw it. And when he saw it, it had the effect that they hoped for. It scared him badly, but he knocked it off, and the candles ignited his, bed clothes and his clothes and he burned. You know, it’s a great practical effect. You know, this was a real stunt man you see in full flame, running out of the cabin and and screaming and flailing about, and eventually he falls into the lake. And then we cut, to the hospital and it says, 1 week later, and there’s a goofy scene where an orderly is talking to a prospective doctor and wants to show him this, you know, horribly burned guy who’s really not even human anymore. He’s just a monster. And and that’s kinda goofy, I thought.

Todd:  I he really, really wants to show him this burn victim. He’s

Craig:  Yeah. He really plays it up.

Todd:  Dragging the doctors down the hall and into the room and forcing him to look at this guy.

Craig:  Well, and it’s so, you know, it reads as so false. You know, like it’s completely unprofessional, completely, you know, just non sympathetic. I thought it read as kind of goofy but you know, we get a good jump scare where the burned hand reaches out and grabs him and you know, the burns look good. Good job Todd Savini. And then we cut to 5 years later where we see, we’re we’re still in the hospital and, he’s being released and we just kind of hear, kind of, you know, an audio over what we’re seeing. The doctors and nurses talking to him, you know, We’re sorry the skin grafts didn’t take. I know you still resent those kids but try not to place blame. It was just an accident.  And they let him go. And of course, you know, from then we get a little vignette where he goes and, gets a hooker. He’s dressed, you know, head to toe, covered up, and he goes and gets this hooker and takes, her up to her room. When she sees him in a flash of lightning, she freaks out and he grabs a big pair of shears, and stabs her. And that’s the first big practical effects that we get. He stabs her right in the gut and it’s not a quick thing. Like, you see him, like, digging around in there and the blood is coming out and it looks, you know, for the few brief moments that we see it, it’s very gory and it looks pretty darn real. And so I knew at that point, they weren’t gonna be holding back on the gore, and I was excited.  You know, that’s that’s exciting that they weren’t pulling any punches there.

Todd:  Yeah. That was a pretty brutal scene. I guess it really sets up this brutality, this guy. And, you know, the one thing it also does is it makes it abundantly clear who the killer is. You know? Right. You never wonder for a minute through this movie, well, are they gonna pull one on us? Is it gonna be like the Friday 13th, you know, part 1 where it turns out that Right. Who thought that the killer is not the killer. No.  This really is the guy, through and throughout. So you that that question’s really out of your mind and it’s not even a concern of the script which just allows them to focus on these kids and are they gonna make it, and and is he gonna get away with it, you know, that sort of thing.

Craig:  Right. And then it cuts to a new camp, camp Stonewater, which confused me. I thought surely we would be going back to the same camp. As it turns out, I guess that other camp burned down or something, and so this camp is nearby. And then we just get really quite a long sequence of being introduced to these characters and establishing their personalities. And you know, there’s a whole lot of them. I don’t think there’s really a whole lot of sense in in detailing who they all are, but, Michelle seems to be the lead girl counselor and Todd seems to be the main guy counselor. And then I really was never clear.  Were some of those younger folks, were were they all campers, or were some of them counselors? I I was a little confused there.

Todd:  Yeah. It’s a little muddied. I agree. Because as you said earlier, you have these situations where there are older people playing, you know, much younger than they really are. However, there are really young people there playing young people, but then there’s a point at which, they’re all sitting and eating, and there’s an announcement where the older folks are to go on a on a canoeing trip. And so you know that there’s a variety of ages here at the camp, and so that’s even more confusing. I think Todd and Michelle are the 2 counselors and that everybody else is supposed to be a camper.

Craig:  Well, that would make sense.

Todd:  I think so. Although, I would not go on record and bet my life on that. Right. But they’re the ones who seem to be in charge throughout the whole thing. They’re the ones who are kind of doling out the the punishments or the, now you guys, you know, you better behave. You know, Dave, Jason, now Zay.

Craig:  Well, then they do I mean, they look age appropriate. They look like they would be the appropriate age to be adult camp counselors. Mhmm. But some of the people who are their campers, I guess, look probably their age, you know, at least if not, maybe even a little bit older. But it doesn’t really matter. You know, if I had any criticism, well, I might have more than 1. But one criticism that I would have of the movie is, that this part dragged a little bit for me. Not that it was uninteresting and not, you know, it’s just kind of kooky camp stuff going on.  They’re playing tricks on one another. You know, we’re establishing their relationships. You know, there’s Jason Alexander is really pretty funny. You know, he’s kind of the clown of the group. And so it’s not like I was bored to death. But for a while, I was thinking, you know, okay, let’s get to let’s get to the to the killings. And and and really, you don’t get except for the prostitute, early on in the movie, it really takes quite a while before the next kill. You know, it’s really almost 45 minutes to an hour into the movie before the bloodbath really starts.

Todd:  You’re right. And that is, maybe I I agree. I would I would criticize that a little bit. Although, I think in the end, it does make it so that you do care about these characters a little bit more. At least I did that, you know, that’s one note that I made as I was watching this. I was like, wow. These these characters, I actually seem to care, when they die. But some of the acting is is stiff and distracting, like Todd, the counselor.  Oh my gosh. He’s terrible. His line delivery is so stiff, in this, and Kim and Karen’s relationship. And I guess they’re supposed to have a kind of relationship. At least Todd develops a little later that

Craig:  Michelle, you mean. Right?

Todd:  Michelle. Yeah. Michelle. But they’re friendly with each other. And we get we get some, you know, some, I would say, sort of jump scares or some hints that that things are are gonna be going bad, but they never do materialize. Like, oh, they’re you know, early on, they’re all playing baseball, and 1 girl runs into the woods to retrieve the ball. And we see the killer, and it it he’s almost stabs her, but she grabs the ball and runs out in time and never notices. And there’s another scene where Sally, who’s supposed to be and again, she’s not really the slutty girl.  Maybe she’s just the more willing girl, I guess, in this Right. Right. Right. Cute one, where she’s in the shower and and you think she’s getting stalked and she’s gonna get killed, but it turns out to be Alfred, you know, who, is just trying to scare her. But see, to me, those scenes aren’t as boring because, okay, so you get the build up, you think they’re gonna get killed, but it’s not like, oh, it’s the cat and the cat runs off and everything’s fine. It’s like, oh, it’s Alfred. And, well, what’s Alfred doing there? And Alfred gets pulled to something. He gets chewed out by Todd, and Todd’s like, what were you doing there? And Alfred’s like, you know, I don’t like being at this camp.  I hate being at this camp. And Todd’s like, I know how you feel. You know, back when I was a camper 5 years ago, I felt the same way. And so you get some really interesting story and character development built into that. And so I didn’t find it quite as boring, although I’m with you. I was ready for The Killings to to kinda start.

Craig:  Right. I agree. I mean, you know, they made the choice to establish these characters, and I don’t think that it was a poor choice. It’s it’s, I it’s me being lazy. It’s not them being lazy. It’s, you know, it’s me it’s me having an expectation of what these movies are and then this kind of subverts that just a little bit, just a tiny bit. And, yeah, like you said, we do get to know the characters and I do appreciate that. And there is some suspense and we know that Cropsie is there even though they don’t, because we keep getting all these POV shots from him.  I read that initially they had filmed and had planned to show, Cropsey a lot more. But they decided that it was better tonally if you didn’t see him but rather saw through his perspective. And every time we see the p you know, it’s it’s pretty standard POV stuff, you know, killer POV except for that it’s kind of fuzzy around the edges which I thought was kind of an interesting way of indicating that maybe his vision had been impaired from his injuries too. Yeah. And so I looked up how they did that, and it’s so funny that they just smeared Vaseline around the camera lens. Makes perfect sense. And it it works fine. The one thing, you know, before we start getting to like you said, eventually, they go off on, a, canoe trip, and and that’s really when things start to happen.  The one one other criticism that I will make, of the movie is you talked about the relationships and them feeling pretty real and and, you know, the different characters. I’m sure that this is a period, you know, this has to do with the time period that it was made in, the early eighties. Most of the guys in the movie seemed pretty rapey. Like, it it made me a little bit uncomfortable. Like even just, you know, like you said, Alfred kind of peeps at that girl in the shower. And then he’s like, I was just trying to scare her. Okay. Well, that’s kinda weird.  And then the girls talk about the boys and how the boys are kind of pressuring them, and they don’t know if they want Todd, and maybe they want to, but they’re not sure, blah blah blah. But then there are there’s more than one, like, sex or near sex scene that made me really uncomfortable because the girls were really, you know, kind of trying to hold the guys off and the guys are being really aggressive. Yes. To the point that it made me thins off the guy that she’s interested in, Eddie. And and when she when she won’t have sex with him, he’s really nasty to her. And that kind of leads to an important plot point, but just, you know, really masochistic and kind of gross. And then there’s other characters, Glazer and his girlfriend Sally who we said is the kind of slutty not slutty one. Apparently they haven’t consummated their relationship.  At one point on this canoe trip they do and you I don’t know. It it it kinda made my skin crawl, a I don’t know. It it it kinda made my skin Craig, a little bit. Did you pick up on that or was I just being weird?

Todd:  Oh, no. You’re right. But, you know, I thought that was kinda strong. A good a good point of the movie and, you know, like, we talked about prom night, last week, and I mentioned the one sex scene in there. Maybe just because it was so awkwardly filmed and maybe unintentionally, pretty captured, the awkward teenage sex. In this, in this case, I felt like, you added to the realism of this movie where these people are just not horny jumping all over each other, and having sex and that’s it. But the guys are a little aggressive, and the girls are responding to that in a way that girls might. Yeah.  It’s a little uncomfortable, but also it feels a little more real. You’re right. That sex scene between Glazer and Sally is very uncomfortable because she is clearly not really enjoying it even though she kinda wanted it, but you know there was a build up to it where she was even trying to convince herself whether or not she wanted it. And then when it does happen, you know, he’s like, it’s kind of over too quick and she’s a little disappointed, but then she’s like, well, that’s okay. And he just comes across, yeah, as a little gross in that. But but to me, it it yeah. He would. I mean, to me, that seemed that seemed kind of kind of true to life.  Not everybody’s circumstance, but

Craig:  true

Todd:  to a possible real life circumstance that you don’t normally see in a movie like this, which is pop off, have sex, get killed.

Craig:  Yeah. I I guess that’s fair. It just kind of made my skin crawl a little bit. I’m willing to get over it. You know, it’s such a small part of the movie that, it it’s not something that I’m gonna be concerning myself with as I lay in bed tonight or anything, but, just a little odd. And if I again, you know, it’s the early eighties. Times have changed. I don’t especially, I I don’t think a female audience would necessarily appreciate that today.  But anyway, we can move on.

Todd:  Well well, just a sec, Craig. Although, don’t you feel like the girls kinda held their own? I mean, it was rapey, but the girls in some ways, could kinda stand up to it? Or or is that going to be Yeah. Do you think maybe

Craig:  No. No. No. No. I can I I can see that, And I’m sure, of course, I can’t speak from experience, but I’m sure that many women have been in uncomfortable situations like that and, you know, would probably respond hopefully in a similar way? It’s just, you know, like I said, you don’t really see anything in the actual sex scene, but you hear it and like like you said, it didn’t sound like she was particularly enjoying it. To me, it almost sounded like she was in pain. And, like, I understand biology. Don’t have to get into all that, but, I don’t know.  It was it just unsettled me. That’s all.

Todd:  It’s not it’s not titillating. It’s definitely not titillating

Craig:  Right.

Todd:  Kind of sex. Yeah. You’re right. And that’s, you know, that’s very true. And to me, again, that’s a real strong point of the film, but you’re right. It does make your skin Craig, and I did it had the same effect on me that it had on you.

Craig:  Well, I mean, that that basically leads us to our first kill, that you win, Eddie and Karen. He convinces her to go skinny dipping and there’s plenty, you know, as is typical with these types of movies, there’s multiple boob shots and there’s, you know, butt shots of both men and women. So if that’s something that you’re looking for in these types of movies, you’re gonna get that from this. But, while they were skinny dipping, Cropsey took her clothes and kind of threw them in the trees and whatnot. And as she’s going around collecting her clothes, he comes up behind her and slits her throat with his weapon of choice, which is like the garden shears. And and from then from then, it’s pretty typical fair for with a couple of exceptions, but pretty typical fair for, these types of movies with people just kind of getting picked off, and in relatively creative ways. You know, he he always uses his, shears, but not every death is the same. You know, I felt like prom night was kind of boring and repetitive, not very creative.  Here, you know, the deaths were different. The effects were good. The practical effects were great. But for the most part, it’s pretty standard as far as slasher flick goes.

Todd:  Yeah. And, you know, just going back to that Karen death for a second, I thought it was it was pretty brutal, not just in, of course, the effects, but also this poor girl. I mean, yeah, She was kind of, you know, she was kind really interested in this guy and really wanted to make something meaningful out of it. It was, you know, we really got quite a bit of build up as to whether or not she’s gonna have sex and whether or not this guy is a slimeball, whether or not he really likes her. And he has kind of a sweet moments with her where he’s Right. Coaxing her in, but you don’t get the sense that he’s really gonna gonna be horrible. And then when she gets in the water and she doesn’t wanna go through with it, he’s like you said, he’s very nasty to her. And so she’s naked and she’s humiliated, And then when she gets out of the water, what does she have to do? But her clothes are like strewn through the woods, and so she’s got to, you know, walk crying through the woods, you know, taking her clothes back.  And then she gets killed. I mean, I felt so bad for her. Again, there’s just one way that this movie, affected me in ways that, like, again, the your the other movies that are so much like it don’t tend to do. And so, yeah, I mean that I don’t know. Did you feel the same way or I don’t know. I just

Craig:  I did. Yeah. I felt for her and like even with the guy, even with Eddie, you know, I think it’s a testament to the writing that these characters aren’t just completely stock. There may be stock elements about them but they have shades of character too. You know, for the most part, Eddie’s a fun guy. People like him. People get along with him. And like you said, with her, there are moments where he’s really kind of sweet with her And then there are moments where he’s a big jerk.  And I guess that’s probably more true to life, than just only having one defining, character, personality Craig or whatever. Yeah. So, yeah, I I agree with you that it’s strong in that regard.

Todd:  And at some point in this canoe trip, it has to be said there’s a there’s a campfire story, that Todd tells them. And this is when if you if you didn’t if you really didn’t see it coming before, you do piece together the fact that Todd, is one of the guys, early on who back at camp Blackfoot, was in the group who played this trick on Cropsey. So the story he’s telling is an embellishment of his actual experience in the past, where he goes on to say that Craig they never found the Todd, and that Cropsey still lives in the woods, and, that he is picks on unsuspecting campers. And then I think that’s when I think it’s Eddie comes in on cue with a knife and a Right. Right. Mask and scares them all. But it really sets this up slightly differently from the other films and that it it really creates this campfire story vibe that they were going through. You know, they base this on this legend.  And so it puts that legend up right front and center and tells it to the to the group. So the when the killings do start happening, they’re not suspecting each other, but they are indeed suspecting, you know, this cropsey character, this legend come to life. And and I think that’s

Craig:  And I liked the feel. Mhmm. I liked the feel of the campfire story. However, I I had already put it together that he was one of those boys because when because when he was talking to Alfred before, and said, yeah, 5 years ago, and I didn’t just get in trouble. I got sent home. So and we knew it was 5 years ago that this happened so I figured that out. And the tonally, you know, the the campfire story, you know, again, it’s very typical of the kind of legends that you would hear around a campfire. I thought that worked really well, but it kind of made him seem a little insensitive.  Yeah.

Todd:  You know, right.

Craig:  You you burned this guy, almost to death, accidentally, of course, but nonetheless, and now you’re using that story as fodder for your campfire tales. Yeah. I don’t know. I thought that was a lot.

Todd:  No. I agree with you. And really, it carries through the whole movie where this this guy who’s really responsible for Cropsey, doesn’t seem to take any personal responsibility or show any feeling of guilt toward the fact that

Craig:  Right.

Todd:  He himself in in a way is indirectly responsible for his, his campers getting murdered. That doesn’t come through. And and man, if it had, you know, this would be a really interesting movie, You know? Right. I mean, if there was some guilt on his in his part and some feeling that, that he started this, it would certainly make the killer more sympathetic. It would really, make a little more make a little more of a complicated relationship and, change his motivations quite a bit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really go down well, it doesn’t at all, go down that path.

Craig:  Yeah. I agree. It could have been a little bit more complex. But it’s already, as far as character is concerned, it’s already more complex than most of these movies. So I guess we shouldn’t complain too much. After, you know, after that death, then comes, I think, the scene that really makes this movie stand out, against others. Like you said, a lot of it happens during the day. Even the night scenes, you can tell they were shooting day for night, almost all of them.  But a lot of it happens during the day. When they when they wake up the next morning and they realize that Karen has never come back, they confront, Eddie and he says, Yeah. Well, you know, maybe things didn’t go so well or something. And, she had told Karen had told Michelle before they even left that she was nervous about going on the trip. And the only reason that she would go on the trip was because the senior she’s gone, they assume that she’s gone back, and that is, she’s gone, they assume that she’s gone back and that is, they feel that that’s confirmed when they find that the canoes are gone. They assume that she took one and that she must have just accidentally, untied them all. So they build this raft to send some people back to camp. And, you know, they build this perfectly watertight raft that, like, 6 people can go on.  And and they set out How many were on the raft? Like 5, you think? A couple guys like 5 year old I think? Doctor.

Todd:  Yeah. 5 or 6 are on the raft. Yeah.

Craig:  It is the middle of the day, and a couple of the are pretty prominent characters like, Woodstock who’s the Fisher Stevens, guy that I mentioned before, and Eddie, You know, these have been relatively central characters and then several girls who were more minor. But they go out and they see one of their canoes, and I knew something was gonna happen because there was a lot of build up to them rowing to the canoe. I kind of thought that they were gonna find Karen’s body in there. And the reason that I thought that was because surely, Cropsey’s not in there because how in the middle of the day, in the middle of a lake is he going to attack an entire raft full of kids? But that’s exactly what happens. It is him, and he jumps up out of the boat, and he just slaughters this whole raft full of kids with great, gory effects. And, I I just really didn’t see that coming. And I thought that was my favorite part of the movie.

Todd:  Well, it’s a pretty bold choice. And and you’re right. And I don’t even think the filmmakers had an idea of how he could do it because you don’t really get a sense of exactly how he did it. You see No. Spring up out of the raft and then all these close-up shots of these kids getting hacked. But there in the back of my mind, I’m trying to piece together, like, did he jump out of the canoe onto the raft? How did he pull that off? How did he get to them so fast from that that, you know, across the, the 2 floating things? I don’t know. It just, it’s, it’s something that if you think about it too hard, it doesn’t, quite fit except for the fact that they’re all just completely surprised and completely helpless, that this guy could do it. But there, he slaughters all those people and you were not expecting it.  In the middle of the day, this whole group of people just get murdered and it’s brutal and it’s fun.

Craig:  Well, and they’re kids Todd. I mean, that’s the other thing that, Friday 13th kinda stayed away from, you know. It was always the counselors. In most of those movies, the kids weren’t even there. I think there was only of the movies where the kids were even present. So Todd see and again, these actors looked older, so it doesn’t look like little children getting slaughtered, but they’re meant to be kids, and a lot of times in horror movies, kids are pretty safe, but not here. And I really liked, you know, like you said, it’s shot in such a way that it’s very choppy so you don’t get a good look at what’s going on which you couldn’t because there really would be no practical way that that could all go down. But it’s such a great opportunity for just some quick shots of some really great effects like, oh what’s his name, Woodstock, gets his fingers all chopped off, right in front of his face and the blood shoots out and just just cool imagery, and and it was a little bit unexpected and and that to me was something that made this kind of stand out from any of those others.  I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a quick group slaughter like that in any of those other movies.

Todd:  Yeah. It it it just comes right out of left field, and, and it you’re right. It really makes the film, and it ups the ante considerably. You’re like, man, what can’t this guy do? Because you know he’s not supernatural, or at least you don’t ever suspect that. You know he’s a guy, and he’s a disfigured guy at that, who obviously has a little trouble seeing. But he’s he is a massive threat, and it doesn’t matter if they’re together. It’s this isn’t gonna be a movie where people have to wander off alone into the woods before they’re vulnerable. Here they are vulnerable on a raft in the middle of a lake in a large group.

Craig:  So Yeah. And and and then after that, there’s one more small kill life. Well, not small, I guess, but, there’s that sex scene between Glazer and Sally that we’ve already talked about. We don’t need to talk about it anymore. But after that’s gone, Glazer goes back to get some matches to make a fire. And while he’s gone, Sally gets killed. You know what? We don’t really see her death on screen. It’s just more implied.  And then Glaser comes back, and Alfred follows him because Alfred kinda has it out for Glaser for some reason. But as soon as Glaser gets back, he gets killed also, and Alfred sees, and he runs back to tell, Todd, the the main counselor. And Todd doesn’t believe him at first, but he follows him back to where the bodies are. And when he sees the bodies, of course, then he knows something’s going on. Cropsy knocks him out with his his shears and and takes off chasing after Alfred. Meanwhile, all the rest of the campers are on the beach, and they see the raft float back. And they, you know, they think that the other kids are playing a joke. So Michelle swims out there to see what’s going on, and she finds all this carnage.  And that really, that that leads into, I guess, what you would have to consider the climax. Because now everybody knows that somebody’s after them. Several of them are already dead. And so, Michelle takes most of the young count or campers back on the raft. They start rowing back, towards towards camp. But Todd stays behind because Alfred is still out in the woods, and I guess he has to find him before they can head back. And that’s really what kinda leads to the final showdown.

Todd:  That’s right. I mean, obviously, he’s only one guy, so he can only follow 1 group or 1 person, and he’s decided to hone in on Alfred. For reasons I’m not absolutely clear on, but maybe it’s just because Alfred was there and and he was there and so he’s the next guy for him to chase. So, and they chase him through the woods and they come across kind of a, it’s like a ruined building, that they’re running around in. I thought this scene was pretty effective in that there are lots of corners he has to go around. And there are times when he’s running, there are times when he’s slowly moving. There are lots of shots from different angles, and you never quite know if and when this killer is going to jump out, but he does. He reaches around one of those corners and grabs him, but he doesn’t kill him.  He drags him away, and you get the sense that he’s luring Todd. Right. And he uses Alfred as a lure. So we get these shots of Todd running through the woods with his ax, looking for Alfred, and he ends up in this ruined building and walks through this door after he hears some yelling and is in what seems to be, like a like a mining, like a coal mining building or something.

Craig:  Well, that’s what it really was. It was an abandoned it was an abandoned copper mine. When they had scripted it, they had scripted it first to happen in a boathouse at the camp. But the boathouse location that they were gonna use, they found out was infested with bats, and they didn’t think it was safe. So then they changed it to a cave. But, I and and I read different, things about this. The story was a little bit vague, but, one of the things that I read said that the the cave that they scouted ended up collapsing, the day after that they they had scouted it. So they just found this location, which literally was an abandoned copper mine and they just used it.  And it seems like it’s it’s a cool set piece, but I, you know, I wrote down in my notes, where did these ruins come from? Are we supposed to know what these are? I didn’t know if it was supposed to be like the old camp. But it was just somewhere cool for the last thing to go down.

Todd:  Yeah. You’re you’re you’re expecting some significance here, you know, like the climax in a place that’s familiar to the killer or where he hangs out or something like that. And this just was just a cool set piece. And it was cool, and you know, this movie is pretty well filmed, I think, for what it is. It’s got lots of great lighting and the, you know, the the dust kind of kicking around, the beams of light going around. And, but this sequence is really almost kind of dreamy in a sense that Mhmm. You cut between Alfred tied up somewhere. We never get a sense of the layout of this place.  We don’t know how close Todd is at any given time to Alfred or if he’s ever making any progress on finding him. Then you have Todd who’s walking around here looking around, but can’t hear Alfred. Alfred’s parents supposed to be struggling, but only every now and then does he hear him. And then you get these shots of the killer where he still aren’t seeing his face, but now he has a flamethrower. Where did that come? Yeah. Right.

Craig:  I was like, what? Where did he get a flamethrower?

Todd:  Well, it is fire. But, okay.

Craig:  You know, his his accident was fire, so his final weapon’s gonna be fire. Alright.

Todd:  Yeah. And it’s it’s it’s kind of artistic in a way where it cuts between these three, and you’re not sure if the killer is is chasing Todd or if he’s within Todd’s line of sight and Todd is hiding from him. You really have no idea, but you’re seeing all these images flash by and even the music gets a little dreamy and weird, and then the killer like turns off his flamethrower. And so that’s not in the picture for a little while. And voices are going in Todd’s head that are harkening back to, the prank that they pulled. And I think that filmmakers are just trying to hammer through to you. Hey, it’s all coming full circle now. This is the guy that he’s getting revenge on, but it comes across.  There were moments here where I was even wondering like, is, was Todd knocked out and is he dreaming some of this or is some of this going on in his head just because of the way it was shot and the way it, you know, it plays out on camera? There are even flashes. I think when the killer does grab Todd and knock him down, you we get these quick cuts to some of the earlier kills that are just sort of thrown in there. It’s really an interesting way of putting together this. What ultimately turns out, I think, to be kind of a lackluster final battle. At least the the build up to it, you know, is is really kind of artistic and unique.

Craig:  I agree. And without it, I do think that you’re right that it would have seemed kind of anticlimactic because they just they fight for a little bit. And it’s unclear how they’re even fighting because the way it’s shot, it’s not like it’s we’re watching it in full frame. It’s just kind of cutting back and forth between the different characters. And you know, Todd is fighting with an axe, which under most circumstances would be an excellent weapon. However, the guy that he’s fighting has a flamethrower. Like, how how does the ax go against the flamethrower? I don’t know. But they’re going back and forth.  Eventually, Alfred frees himself, and Alfred stabs Cropsy, what looked to me like in the back of the neck, with his own weapon, his own, his shears.

Todd:  Yes.

Craig:  Doctor. And of course then, Oh, he’s dead. We’re fine. We can leave now. And of course, you and I, having seen these movies a bazillion times, know he’s not dead. He has to come back at least once, which he does. And I believe, I don’t remember, one of them gets his flamethrower and sets him on fire again. Do you remember which one it was? I don’t remember.

Todd:  Oh, no. I don’t. I I wanna say

Craig:  Doesn’t really matter.

Todd:  Well, I wanna say it was Alfred who did it, which doesn’t seem right. It’s it sort of seems like poetically, like, Todd should be the one to finish what he started. But I only say that because

Craig:  I well, I’ve got it. Sorry. I’ve got it in my notes. Todd gets him in the head with an axe and then Alfred sets him on fire.

Todd:  That’s right. Yeah. Because Todd has to be the one to swing the axe, so he couldn’t be doing both. Right. And he axes him, and that’s pretty gross. Axes him against an upright pole. And you get this final image of him as the camera pulls out of him burning and he’s on this upright pole in And I don’t know if this was intentional or if it was just me reading into it a little bit, but with the scissors sticking out of the back of his neck and the axe sticking out the front and those flames going, he it almost looked like a flaming cross as it was pulling away. Did you get that, or was that just?

Craig:  No? I mean, I don’t think you’re reading too much into it necessarily because they clearly liked the image, you know, it lingered on that image and the burning for a long time. I don’t know if that was just, you know, for the symbolic relevance of the flames or or whatever. I actually thought that maybe that was going to be their opportunity for a sequel. Like maybe we were gonna see him move or maybe the roof was gonna collapse because it was burning this, thing, so we would never really find him or we wouldn’t really know if he was dead or not. But we really don’t get that. Just Michelle and the police show up at the same time, of course, right past the nick of time. And that’s the end of their story. But then I thought that it was really clever that right after that, it immediately cuts to a new group of campers, not only telling the Cropsy story, but it’s it seems suggested to me that everything that we had seen in the movie had become part of the lore and had continued to be passed down, you know, through these campfire stories.  And I thought that was, clever.

Todd:  Yeah. I actually thought that was almost a little creepy the way that, he he almost seemed the way that it’s shot, of this person who we don’t know, you know, because he’s a new group of campers talking at the behind the campfire to a new group. It almost feels like he’s talking to you and he’s telling you the story, and it just has that cyclical nature to it that I’ve and and his final words, beware he’s coming for you. And it’s just said Right.

Craig:  And it’s exactly

Todd:  it Go ahead.

Craig:  Yeah. Yeah. It’s and he’s looking he’s looking right at you. You know, like he’s staring directly into the camera, and it’s a nice quick little jumpy scare right there at the end. But what I liked most about that was not only is this new guy who we don’t know, not only is he telling the story, but he’s telling it almost verbatim the same way that Todd had told it earlier. So you really get a sense that this is, you know, a well known legend. And I don’t know if I think this or not, but I thought that it kinda left it up to interpretation. Did the events of this movie that we just watched, are we supposed to believe that they really happened? Or is this just were we just told that the the story as a camper would be told it? And I don’t know, whether that was what their intention was or that they just kinda wanted to leave you wondering, but I I liked it, and I thought it was effective, and it kinda left me thinking more than your typical slasher would.

Todd:  Oh, yeah. And it’s way better and way more poetic than one of these, you know, at the end where the killer’s twitched, or we’d ever found his body, or there’s one of those tacked on scenes where despite all logic, suddenly the killer leaps out of the lake or, you know, the killer comes in through a mirror and someone or is it someone’s dream or something. You’re right. In a way, it could have set it up for a sequel, and that we could walk away with that feeling that this is just a legend that’s going to be told multiple times in multiple ways, but it’s not bald and on its face about it. And honestly, I don’t think they were setting up for a sequel. Sadly, maybe they I don’t think it was in their heads, you know, or if it was, how they were planning it just sort of escaped me. But it makes it a really nice standalone movie. And again, that’s unique to this genre.

Craig:  Yeah. Yeah.

Todd:  You know?

Craig:  And like I said, it didn’t do particularly well in part because it was up against Friday 13th part 2, and because they were so similar, and there were other horror movies that opened around the same time that were doing well. And and it didn’t do as far as the critics weren’t particularly kind to it then. Since then, it has really kind of developed this cult following, and it’s it’s, a 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. So there are clearly fans out there who still appreciate it for what it is. The critics seemed to maybe have reevaluated their initial, response, and it’s it’s gotten better critical, response now. It’s it’s worth a watch. I mean, if if you are I’m really surprised I hadn’t seen it. I I guess it’s just because it it I don’t remember it playing on TV when we were kids.  I vaguely remember the box art because it was pretty good at the store, but I just never heard much buzz about it or anything. And and so I today was the first time I’d ever gotten around to watching it. And, you know, I I think it still stands up pretty well. I would certainly rank it above prom night which may have even more name recognition. But I I wasn’t I was disappointed in prom night. I wasn’t disappointed with this. I didn’t think it was a masterpiece, but I thought that it was a really competent slasher movie.

Todd:  Yeah. I agree. I put myself firmly in that camp of, I think I would personally and I’m I’m maybe way more critical of the Friday 13th movies than you are. And I mean, not to say you’re not critical of them, but to say that I don’t think I enjoyed them as much as you do. And this movie, I definitely enjoy, even though it’s in that same camp. It just has enough of that spirit. It has enough of that extra. It has a unique enough spin on it that even though it is a bunch of kids getting slaughtered in a camp, it just feels like a better movie to me.  I just I like spending time with the characters. I like imagining myself doing some of the things that they’re doing at the camp, you know, minus the getting killed part. Right. And and the rapiness. Like, yeah. Right. So so, yeah, it’s it’s kind of a I really enjoy watching, and the gore effects just do not disappoint at all if you’re into that greed. It doesn’t come across as super cheap and, crappy in that arena.  You know, another thing that’s worth mentioning that we didn’t even touch on is, a name that if you’re familiar with classic rock that pops up in the credits, Rick Wakeman, did the music and Rick Wakeman is, with Yes, the progressive rock band, from the seventies. And and it’s you know, I can’t really say that it’s a super memorable score, unfortunately, but it has its moments where all I was thinking was, you know, if this score was not a bunch of synthesizers doing this, it might be pretty good. You know? If if we have Well,

Craig:  I guess there was a little bit, and and it may just be, you know, cult followers of the movie, but they released a soundtrack at one point, and it Todd. I I think it’s out of print now. But, yeah. I mean, it wasn’t something that was just slopped together. You know, this was an actual musician writing stuff specifically for this movie. And it is. You you do notice. You notice that the quality is better than some of the stock stuff that you typically get, particularly in low budget stuff.

Todd:  Yeah. And and it just is a testament to this odd little confluence of people who, as you said earlier, many of them went on to do much bigger and better things and be way more successful. And here’s this little movie that they all kind of owe their roots to, that very few people really hear about or see anymore. It’s Right. It’s a bit of a gem, I think.

Craig:  I think so Todd. And I would recommend it to any horror enthusiast. I think I don’t think they’d be disappointed.

Todd:  Well, thank you again for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with a friend. Anybody can download it for free on iTunes or Stitcher. We have a Facebook page. We have a Google plus page. Please like it. Please share that, and get on there and become part of the conversation. Let us know what you enjoy.  Let us know what you wanna see us review in the future. And until that future, this has been Todd And Craig. With 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

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