The Burning

The Burning is a 1981 slasher film directed by Tony Maylam and written by Peter Lawrence and Bob Weinstein. It is based on an original story by Maylam, Weinstein, and Brad Grey, with a musical score by Rick Wakeman of the progressive rock band Yes. The film is loosely based on the upstate New York urban legend of Cropsey, a tale that became popular at summer camps in the 1960s and 70s. In the film a summer camp caretaker, who was horribly disfigured from a prank-gone-wrong, is released from the hospital with severe deformities and seeks revenge on those he holds responsible, starting with the kids at a nearby summer camp. Lou David stars as the maniacal Cropsey, while Brian Matthews plays the heroic camp counselor that must stop him. Made at the height of the low-budget slasher film craze fueled by the success of Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980) in the early 1980s, the film has become notable for being the first from Miramax Films. Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who in later years would head major companies such as The Weinstein Company, produced the film. The film is also the feature-film debut of Seinfeld's Jason Alexander as well as Fisher Stevens and Oscar winner Holly Hunter. Legendary make-up artist Tom Savini, notable for his works on Dawn of the Dead (1978), Maniac (1980), and the original Friday the 13th, created the effects for The Burning. Theatrically released in the United States by Filmways in May 1981, the rights to The Burning were eventually transferred to Orion Pictures and, later, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who currently own the film in their library. While the film didn't generate much buzz and failed to bring in the box office business of other slasher films of the time, it has since gained a cult following and reappraisal by critics. The Burning currently holds a 100% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregate website.