Based on the New York urban legend the Cropsey maniac The Burning was released on this day back in 1981. This film inevitably gets compared to Friday the 13th, as it was released a year after that franchise’s first film and in the same year as Friday the 13th Part 2. Both The Burning and the Friday the 13th movies featured camp counselors being stalked and killed by a psychopathic assailant seeking revenge.
The film was directed by Tony Maylam and marked the feature film debut of Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, and Holly Hunter.
If it’s been a while, or if you’ve never experienced The Burning, check out the trailer and synopsis below.
At summer camp, some teenagers pull a prank on the camp’s caretaker, Cropsy (Lou David). But the joke goes terribly wrong, and the teens leave Cropsy for dead after setting him on fire. But no one keeps Cropsy down. A few years later, the burned and disfigured caretaker returns to camp. Now equipped with his trusty shears. And ready to unleash his particular brand of vengeance on a whole new group of teens. The murderous Cropsy stalks the campers in the woods, one by one.
Tom Savini turned down Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) to work on this. He was not particularly happy with Cropsy’s burn make-up. However, as he was only given three days to work on it. (Source)
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 Jersey and upstate New York. The story is still in circulation and is also the basis for the documentary Cropsey (2009). This film is not referenced in the documentary. (Source)