The Burning – a boring slasher movie? Yes.
Cropsy is the caretaker for Camp Blackfoot and one night, a scheming bunch of campers decide to pull a prank on ol’ Cropsy. Cropsy also has the best killer name evah, because Cropsy sounds like the name of a drunk hobo.
Okay, so Cropsy kind of is a drunk hobo, but those wacky campers are about to scare him. What they don’t know is that they might scare him…to DEATH! (Insert ominous music here.)
The campers sneak into Cropsy’s tiny cabin and place the following by his bed, rapping on the window to wake his drunk ass up.
OMG TERRIFYING SKULLHEAD AT ONE O’CLOCK!
It’s not easy to rouse a man from a deep slumber brought on by copious amounts of Jim Beam and Budweiser, but the industrious campers beat on poor Cropsy’s window until he awakes in horror, knocking the terrifying skull…thing onto his sheets (which are the quickest igniting sheets I’ve ever seen), which catch fire and then the flames start eating at Cropsy. As if he can’t catch a break, Cropsy flails out of bed and knocks over a gas can, sending the cabin and Cropsy’s entire body up into flames, causing Cropsy to go completely batshit and bust his way out of the cabin.
Watch out for the dude in flames!
Camper 1: Dude, this is MESSED. UP.
Camper 2: He looks like that time that Brian stuck his marshmallow directly into the fire at the sing-a-long and I told him not to but he did anyways and it caught fire and got all black and nasty. It’s a lot like that.
Camper 3: Should we do something?
Camper 1: I don’t know. Let’s think on it.
Cropsy somehow tumbles down a hill and extinguishes himself in a creek. So…a bad night for him, I think. He ends up in the hospital and by all accounts, this is the universal reaction to Cropsy’s charred self:
A few years later, Cropsy is released into society at large, but what does a melted-down guy supposed to do? After all, he’s burned beyond recognition and is just thrust out into the world by his doctors. “Here, you’re all healed! Sure, you’re screwed up mentally, but we’re totally positive you’ll land on your own two feet. Cheers, Cropsy!”
The burn unit’s given him some time to stew, so he celebrates his new found freedom by killing a hooker.
The hooker has done nothing to Cropsy beyond offering him some services, if you know what I mean. I think Cropsy kills her because he’s warming up for his Killerlympics that he’s got planned…back at…
Wait a minute! This isn’t even the same damn camp Cropsy worked at! What the hell kind of movie is this?
Regardless, Cropsy does some creepy hiding in the woods, but that’s about it. What follows is the most boring hour of a horror movie I’ve seen in years: the new campers are profiled from their pranks, the romances, and the general idiocy of every last one of them. You learn who wants to “do” everyone else and who’s mad at which person and … snooze. It’s like being at camp, which most of us hated. It’s like they packed all the drama of one season at camp into an hour and there’s no KILLING. Cropsy is pretty much just hiding away. Is he oiling and sharpening his infamous shears? Is he looking in a mirror, contemplating reconstructive surgery? Who knows.
Finally, the campers shut their damn mouths and take a canoe trip on Devil’s Creek, which is where Cropsy finally decides to make his move. Once he does, there’s no stopping him. The man is like a garden shearing machine! He doesn’t just cut a bitch, he cuts many bitches at once! There’s finger slicing! There’s shears to the throat! It’s a rollicking good time, as long as you’re not one of the aforementioned campers. Killing for Cropsy is like a can of Pringles: once you pop, you can’t stop. The man is mad as hell and he’s just going to cut through summer campers like a scythe through wheat, dammit!
Inevitably though, most of the campers make their escape while two hang back for whatever reason to mess around with Cropsy. And let me tell you, it’s not ending well for Cropsy the Burned Up Maniac.
Here’s the first time you get to see Cropsy’s mangled, melted face. He looks like a Ken doll if a kid got stuck Ken in Barbie’s Malibu Microwave on the high setting. Cropsy somehow gets a hold of a flamethrower and attempts to use both shears and the flamethrower to kill the last two campers, but they’re having none of it. And yea, they were victorious in battle.
Cropsy runs on pure, undistilled rage, so it takes a fire axe, his trusty pair of shears and the unholy power of FIRE to finally off him.
The Burning is one of those movies that’s clearly ripping off another set of movies (Friday the 13th movies, cough, cough) but it had a lot going for it. Cropsy’s a creepy freakshow and those garden shears are pretty flipping sweet utensils of death in the right wrong hands. The problem is that The Burning is like an adolescent summer camper; it just can’t get it’s act together and needs a counselor to tell it when to bathe, when to eat and when the lights go out. The movie spends way too much time focusing on the macho swagger and gross-out masturbation jokes of a couple guys and the lipstick and sex fueled conversations of a group of girls, which could’ve been established in about five minutes – not an hour. God help me, I do not ever want to hear Jason Alexander talk about masturbation EVER. AGAIN. (Thanks, The Burning, for scarring me for life.)
In fact, the movie’s so mishandled that the scariest thing about it is the hairstyles of the chicks in the movie. Mushroom haircuts, long and curly dogears; they’re scary reminders of what people used to think was cool. I cringe more at that than at the magnificent, melty glory that is Cropsy.
That’s sad, guys.