Friday, June 20, 2014

Fear Friday ~ Children Shouldn't Play With Fire or Why You Should Not Send Your Kid To Camp Near The Abandoned Institution

It is Friday and time for another Fear Friday here at the Laughing Vixen Lounge. The Summer Camp Blues theme continues with a lesser known, but well loved by many, film from the early 1980's. This tale mixes standard 80's slasher horror with a character from an actual urban legend. It makes for a fun watch so sit back, enjoy and be happy you do not have to go to camp anymore!

Every Friday at the Laughing Vixen Lounge Blog is Fear Friday. Fear Fridays are a celebration of all films spooky. Horror is a very broad genre and the Lounge loves it all. Each Friday you will find a review of a different film. These can range from Classic Horror (black and white and cheesy),  Thrillers (suspense, jumps and a good mystery), outright Horror (chop chop, slash slash, die die) and anything else in between.

So pop some popcorn, kill the lights and enjoy tonight's selection. And please, share your comments on the film. Bad or good let me now what you thought of it. And now, my little ghouls and dolls, the Laughing Vixen Lounge Blog is proud to present this week's film.

June - Summer Camp Blues

Fear Friday - The Burning

Tag Line ~ It will take you further than fear.
                Gather Around the Campfire to Die!

Directed by Tony Maylam (Split Second and Journal of a Contract Killer) and released on May 8, 1981 by Filmways Pictures (Rated R). A prank gone wrong severely burns the caretaker of a summer camp. Years later councilors at the same camp start dying. Hmmmmmmm......

Following the success of Friday the 13th, The Burning brings the horror genre back to summer camp for another tale of terror. OK, so maybe it is not that terrifying bt it does make for a fun horror film. It has all the standards of a 1980's slasher film. Boobies, sex jokes, shower scenes, scary stories around the campfire, sex, the picked on kid and lots of point-of-view shots when the killer attacks or is lingering in the woods. It even shares a very similar score to Friday the 13th.

You will also find a few familiar faces here. While you will have to look for Holly Hunter (usually amongst the the group of girl councilors but no real speaking parts) you will get more than you would ever ask for from Fisher Stevens and Jason Alexander! Yes, a little "mooning" shot. It was even produced by Harvey Weinstein. And while the killing is slow to start it really gets going with the well know raft massacre. A brilliant and most amusing scene.

An interesting bit that goes along with this movie is that the writers used an actual urban legend to create the vengeful caretaker named "Cropsy". A legend that has been around for a long time and has been used to terrify campers at summer camps all over the New York area. Usually a tale of a man and his son who lived near that camp until the son was accidentally killed by a couple of campers. Now, the man has become a recluse living out in the woods and coming into camp once a year (on the anniversary of his son's death) to kill one unsuspecting camper with an axe. Wow, I wonder how many kids were traumatized by that campfire story?!!!

Unfortunately the legend of Cropsey got a real face when an ex-orderly from the Willowbrook Mental Institution in Staten Island, NY was arrested for the kidnapping and death of a 12 year old girl. This man, Andre Rand, had been living out in the woods around the then abandoned institution as well as in it's underground tunnels along with many other vagrants. While only convicted of the one murder he is suspected of being responsible for many other children who went missing in the area.

Pouch Camp has been a long existing Boy Scout camp located just down from the abandoned Willowbrook Institution (currently the Staten Island College. Yeah, nothing creepy about going to school there!) where many young campers have been told the tale of Cropsey the maniac. Whew, I am personally going to thank my parents for never sending me to camp.

You should be able to find The Burning to rent from one of the various online streaming or DVD rental companies and you can currently find the documentary "Cropsey" on Netflix streaming.

Take a look at the original trailer.

Some trivia about the movie.
1. Film debut of Holly Hunter, Fisher Stevens and Jason Alexander.
2. The concept of the film (originally scripted as "The Cropsy Maniac") is based on a campfire story told at summer camps in and around New York. The story is still in circulation.
3. Tom Savini turned down Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) to work on this.
4. Tom Savini was not particularly happy with Cropsy's burn make-up as he was only given three days to work on it.
5. This is the film that launched the careers of acclaimed producers Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein. Their mother Miriam Weinstein is also a pre production assistant on the film.
6. The wardrobe of the film is vastly the actual wardrobe of the cast. There was rarely a costume-person on set.
7. This film was one of the first movies to land on the UK's Video Nasties list, specifically because of the infamous raft massacre.
8. Harvey Weinstein claims that he actually wrote this film before the release of Friday the 13th (1980), which many critics say this film imitates.


  1. I would so not be attending Staten Island College.

  2. Holy cow! The real story was even creepier than the movie one. I cannot believe they turned a mental institution into a college! :O Great stuff!