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The Burning [Blu-ray]
(Tony Maylam, 1981)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Miramax Films
Video: Shout! Factory
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 39,849,868,169 bytes
Feature Size: 25,931,882,496 bytes
Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 21st, 2013
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2074 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2074 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1581 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1581
kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
• Commentary by Tony Maylam and Alan Jones
• Commentary by Shelley Bruce and Bonnie Deroski
• Blood n' Fire Memories (18:01)
• Slash and Cut (12:04)
• Cropsy Speaks (11:19)
• Summer Camp Nightmare (6:45)
• Behind the Scenes Footage (7:56)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:27)
• Make-up and Special Effects Gallery
• Poster and Stills Gallery
DVD of the Feature
Description: What starts out as a harmless prank turns into a terrible tragedy when the caretaker at a summer camp winds up horrifically burned. Permanently disfigured, he returns to the campgrounds seeking revenge against the teenagers responsible. His weapon: a huge pair of garden shears!
Apart from early appearances by Jason Alexander and Holly Hunter, an interesting score by Rick Wakeman, and some typically... effective work by effects icon Tom Savini, this slasher film is also among the more frightening of its kind. The plot concerns a summer-camp caretaker named Cropsy (Lou David) who is horribly burned by mischievous teen campers during a botched practical joke. Years later, he leaves the hospital as a disfigured gloppy mess with an axe (actually, hedgeclippers) to grind. After dispatching a local prostitute, Cropsy heads out to the wilderness to terrorize a group of campers. They're the usual bunch of horny, obnoxious teenagers, but there are some interesting performances by Larry Joshua as a mean-spirited bully and Brian Backer (of Fast Times at Ridgemont High) as a put-upon nerd. The campers visit an island and, in a scene heavily cut by the ratings board prior to release, several of them die in a horrifying mass slaughter aboard a boat. The remaining teens are brutally picked off one by one until Cropsy is finally defeated.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Although Harvey Weinstein claims he had the idea for THE BURNING before FRIDAY THE 13TH, the result is a more polished retread as young campers and their counselors pay the price for an accident that left Cropsy the camp janitor burned beyond recognition and out for revenge with a pair of shears. Like FRIDAY THE 13TH, THE BURNING had its gory Tom Savini make-up effects cut for an R-rating and the resulting film was rather innocuous though it started to gain a cult following once viewers became aware of uncut releases abroad. Initially released in the US as a cut, R-rated, fullframe release on videotape from Thorn/EMI, THE BURNING (the first Miramax production and the feature debuts of Holly Hunter, Jason Alexander, and Fisher Stevens) and then in a plethora of European tape and DVD release of varying degrees of completeness and varying quality, THE BURNING was not seen uncut legitimately in the United States until MGM released an unmatted Amazon.com exclusive VHS that sold out quickly. What distinguishes the film from many of its slasher ilk is the professional direction from Tony Maylam (hired after the Weinstein's saw his Genesis concert film), the cinematography of DP Harvey Harrison (Nicolas Roeg's THE WITCHES, second unit on GOLDENEYE), Rick Wakeman's electronic score (although the best tracks were written solely for the soundtrack album), and the F13-topping gore and savagery of the kills of characters generally more likable than those of post-SCREAM recursive slashers and simple retreads.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Burning on Blu-ray from Shout Factory looks improved over the previous digital release - that we reviewed, the 2007 MGM DVD, HERE. For an 80's slasher flic - it looks quite good with stronger colors, a bit of depth and no artefacts that exist in the SD. There isn't a preponderance of noise in the darker sequences and detail, in close-ups, is acceptable. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate - I doubt it could look any better and is probably a strong replication of the original theatrical appearance. The visuals are clean, no speckles, and the 1080P supports a worthy presentation.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio comes in a, now, standard DTS-HD Master 2.0 at 2074 kbps. The screams and aggressive effects export some extra bass and overall it sounds solid. The electro-pop-y score is by Rick Wakeman and, for the most part, suits the film expression building suspense and a sense of immanency. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
The Burning package is loaded with extras starting with 2 commentaries - the first by director Tony Maylam and Alan Jones, the second by actresses Shelley Bruce and Bonnie Deroski. Blood n' Fire Memories runs 18-minutes and is a detailed look at the creation of the film's make-up effects with special effects artists Tom Savini. Slash and Cut is a 12-minute interview with editor Jack Sholder. Cropsy Speaks spends 11.5 minutes with actor Lou David and Summer Camp Nightmare is a 7-minute interview with actress Leah Ayres. We get 8-minutes of Behind the Scenes Footage, a theatrical trailer as well as a Make-up and Special Effects Gallery and a Poster and Stills Gallery. There is a DVD of the Feature included in the Blu-ray case.
May 16th, 2013
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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