Comparing The Summer Camp Slashers Friday The 13th 1980 And The Burning

While reading our inbox over the last few weeks, we have had a surprising amount of people asking us about the 1981 slasher The Burning and how it relates to Friday The 13th 1980. There are, of course, the natural ties between the films that include special effects master Tom Savini dishing out his brand of gore effects for both films as well as the Summer camp setting. Outside of those two facts, they really are different films. Whereas The Burning truly hangs it's hat on the gore effects to drive repeat viewings, Friday The 13th 1980 has proven over time that its characters and solid directing have left an endearing impression on generations of fans. Don't get me wrong, the unedited raft massacre in The Burning is by far the best killing scene in the entire film and blows away a lot of other genre films attempts at similar mutilations. With that being said, however, the Cropsey tale doesn't touch the original Friday the 13th in terms of acting, writing and direction. The only common ground between the two films is truly Tom Savini’s effects work.

Where Friday The 13th 1980 has the plot device of the whodunit along with the very clever first person point-of-view angles, The Burning seems to tell the audience right from the beginning that this is going to be a revenge tale where camera tricks and p.o.v. shots will not lend anything new to the tension of the film. The Burning, in essence, is the sequel that the later Friday the 13th movies would become, but without the production values that put the Friday The 13th films above the rest of the dime-a-dozen slashers that studios were throwing into cinemas in the early to mid 1980’s.

Although the characters that encounter Cropsey in The Burning are entertaining, most of them play as goofy and cartoonish. In the original Friday The 13th film, however, every character outside of Ned have a story and contain substance. The audience feels for these characters as they meet their demise and that helps with the tension that is built before their very creative death sequences.

In the end, the Mrs. Voorhees saga is the small independent movie that jumpstarted the 1980's slasher genre while The Burning is a fun little movie with great Savini effects that just rode the wave of the popular Hollywood trend. Cropsey has definitely carved out his little niche with fans over the years and holds a special place in the genre with the likes of Prom Night, Terror Train and Hell Night. Each film is fun to watch and have their own entertaining qualities, but my money will always be on Mrs. Voorhees and and her attempts to keep Camp Crystal Lake from ever opening again.