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Friday the 13th (1980) vs The Burning (1981)

As unbelievable as it is, for someone who has watched a lot of horror like I have, last week was the first time I'd ever seen either of these films. They both came out before I was born, but that's not really an excuse, I know. I always thought I wouldn't like Friday the 13th to be honest. The obnoxious teens at camp trope seemed so uninteresting to me. I enjoy a slasher, but I find unlikable teens behaving in unbelievably horrible ways really annoying to watch. I saw the 2009 remake back in the day and assumed the original would be like that.

But I was bored and I saw the first Friday the 13th was on Netflix, so I watched it. And I actually liked it!

I mean, it's a B movie, but I can see why people would've enjoyed it back in the day, a good popcorn flick (in fact, I had some while watching it). I was interested in watching it particularly as one of the movies that started all the tropes and I found it really interesting in that way for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the teens aren't that obnoxious! They, for the most part, actually behaved more like teens/early 20s kids do when away. Reminded me a lot more of how my friends and I were. Too often I think these movies, because they cast 30 year olds in the teen roles, get the actors to do some pretty unteenlike things. I mean, yeah teens can be awful, but not exactly in the way a lot of these movies show.

I actually was surprised Annie died early on, I expected her to be Final Girl. Kevin Bacon and his girlfriend have sex and it's totally a nice scene of a couple together, rather than the weird, almost abusive way these scenes are usually shown. I thought the strip Monopoly scene was much closer to how kids behave during those games than the highly sexual way it would normally be shown.

And the effects by Tom Savini - there were some really good ones. I thought Annie's throat slashing was great, how it didn't bleed for a moment. The spear through Kevin Bacon's neck was done so well, as was the axe in the face.

I also thought the actress playing Mrs Voorhees did a great job with a part that could so easily have been hokey and over the top. I actually thought she showed an effective menace.

It's not all amazing, I mean, I didn't find the characters particularly memorable, for example. The Final Girl part goes on too long, and the overall feeling of the movie is that it's a bit dull. But overall, a perfectly serviceable film, I thought.

Then, knowing about the 'raft scene' and wanting to see it, I decided to watch The Burning. First thing I see is 'Miramax' and I think "ugh", but of course it's silly to hold every Miramax picture hostage by the actions of Weinstein. Then, imagine my surprise when I see that he wrote it! Ugh! And after watching it, I mean, maybe it's with hindsight now, but some of the scenes of the way the boys treat the girls made me think: "is this forshadowing?". Seriously, the dude comes across more and more like someone who was a bullied nerd who grew up to take all his frustrations out by abusing his power.

But here's the weird thing. I think I liked The Burning MORE than Friday the 13th. Which makes no sense - the characters are mostly awful, there is a lot of sexual aggression in it, it's much more clichéd in that respect, but at the same time I have to admit - the characters are awful teens, but they're each much more memorable. You couldn't pick who would die at any one time and who would survive. I feel like I got to know the group of them better, in this movie. It's a slower movie to get to the kills, but I didn't mind that so much. It still had a drawn out ending, but all up, good horror night fun. I totally picked that Todd was at the original camp, but I assumed he was meant to be the boy with the glasses, because they focused on his randomly in the prologue.

As an aside, I've been going through a lot of early slashers lately, and there is a LOT of male ass in them. Like, I'm not complaining, I'm just surprised. The cliché is that it's all boobs, lots of female nudity, and it IS, but... a lot of male ass too.


by Anonymousreply 54November 13, 2021 5:32 AM

OP doesn't even mention Holly Hunter is in The Burning. He really was born after 1981!

I watched The Blob (1988) remake recently. It's actually beautifully shot and full of some real jolts. Who knew?

by Anonymousreply 1October 8, 2021 8:38 AM

Cinesnatch, you're going to laugh at me, but... who's Holly Hunter? ;)

by Anonymousreply 2October 8, 2021 9:10 AM

Also, are there other decent slashers in the 'camping' genre, like these? I have heard the first four Friday the 13ths are ok, and I will probably continue into Part 2 at least (I know that one stole some deaths from Twitch of the Death Nerve, which I watched and enjoyed recently).

by Anonymousreply 3October 8, 2021 12:03 PM

I always found it interesting that The Burning and Friday the 13th Part 2, both released in 1981, have almost identical campfire story scenes. I think they were filmed around the same time too so it's not like one ripped off the other. I"m not sure the same could be said for the hammer to the head death scenes in Friday the 13th Part 2 and Halloween II. Friday the 13th Part 2 had just been released when Halloween II started filming.

by Anonymousreply 4October 8, 2021 12:15 PM

Interesting, R4. I was listening to some podcasts about The Burning last week after watching it, and people there were saying that Weinstein claimed he had the idea and had drafted The Burning prior to Friday the 13th, the original (sometime around 1979). It's hard to know what's true there, but apparently scripts would float around for awhile, and people would rush to be the first to do an idea, so who knows?

by Anonymousreply 5October 8, 2021 12:17 PM

The Burning has George Costanza in it. And he's hot.

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by Anonymousreply 6October 8, 2021 12:39 PM

I never thought I'd find him hot, but he's definitely good looking here.

by Anonymousreply 7October 8, 2021 12:47 PM


Well R1/OP ... Holly Hunter is the pint-size Georgian spitfire who won an Oscar for Jane Campion's The Piano. She also played a in Raising Arizona (a personal fave) and Jane Craig in Broadcast News. She has done a lot of great work (mostly in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s). Her most recent work was as Rhea on Succession and the first season of Top of the Lake. A lot of youngins know her voice as Elastigirl in The Incredibles. She also played the (very different) mother roles in The Big Sick and Thirteen. Years back, she had her own TV show called Saving Grace. She also won a few Emmys, including for The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom.

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by Anonymousreply 8October 8, 2021 12:58 PM

I have never seen The Burning, but judging by the homoeroticism of R6, and the androgyny of the Kristy McNichol lookalikes in the background I'd probably enjoy The Burning more.

by Anonymousreply 9October 8, 2021 1:08 PM

There's a lot more man butt in The Burning too, R9.

Thanks, R8! I've heard of The Piano at least, hehe.

by Anonymousreply 10October 8, 2021 1:20 PM

Wow I haven’t seen THE BURNING since probably the 80’s or 90’s. I don’t remember Jason Alexander and Holly Hunter even being in it.

R3 80’s camping/woods horror slasher genre? Off the top of my head JUST BEFORE DAWN and THE FINAL TERROR (aka BUMP IN THE NIGHT) are both lesser-known and excellent (though low-key 80’s) horror fun.

by Anonymousreply 11October 8, 2021 2:12 PM

Thanks R11, I'll have to check those out. Oh, and I have heard a little bit about Sleepaway Camp, which I guess is a must too!

by Anonymousreply 12October 8, 2021 9:04 PM

Madman 1981/82 is a must see

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by Anonymousreply 13October 8, 2021 9:48 PM

Thanks for that too R13.

Incidentally, I'm also planning to work through as many of the Tom Savini special effects movies. I believe he chose to work on The Burning over Friday the 13th Part 2 because he thought it was stupid that Jason was alive haha.

by Anonymousreply 14October 8, 2021 10:02 PM

Friday the 13th is the superior film, but The Burning has a nastier edge to it and has a number of memorable scenes.

by Anonymousreply 15October 8, 2021 10:09 PM

Just Before Dawn is my FAVORITE. Amazing ending and the bad guys creep me the HELL out. Great atmosphere. Wildly underrated

by Anonymousreply 16October 8, 2021 10:12 PM

The Burning is very interesting to view post the revelations about Weinstein.

It's like he wants us to feel sorry for a kid who is a peeping Tom ("I have no friends" - gee, I wonder why), and the hero of the movie is shown to be dismissing the concerns of his girlfriend about this peeping Tom.

I've heard others mention Just Before Dawn recently too, R16, will have to check it out!

by Anonymousreply 17October 8, 2021 10:14 PM

I love them both. The final boys in The Burning are a little dull and one of them is a total pervert who keeps spying on girls while they shower. That part definitely has the Weinstein touch. I do like that The Burning takes place while the camp is in session and you have young children potentially being put into harm's way. That ups the stakes a lot and I also enjoy that, once the shit hits the fan and they discover a bunch of dead bodies, everyone sticks together and lays low for a bit. That felt realistic.

Friday the 13th, for all it's teeny budget, has a great mood of dread I can't shake. It still makes me uneasy all these years later.

I prefer Friday the 13th Part 2. The characters are better in that one and the final girl chase scene is really scary and suspenseful.

by Anonymousreply 18October 8, 2021 10:20 PM

I don’t know how to answer your question since it came out before I was born.

by Anonymousreply 19October 8, 2021 10:25 PM

A small part of The Burning that also felt more realistic to me was after Michelle finds the dead bodies on the raft, it cuts to the remaining kids crying in terror. No huge heroics or anything. On a couple of the podcasts I listened to about this, people said a few times that they liked how when Michelle, the adult, gets back to camp, the other adult initially disbelieves her - they found it different to have an adult not believing another adult, and then the way she just yells: "do they look like I'm making this up!" or similar, and you see the remaining distressed campers walking past.

Definitely going to check out Friday the 13th Part 2.

by Anonymousreply 20October 8, 2021 10:25 PM

The final guy in The Burning was quite handsome. I think he did a few soaps and then disappeared.

by Anonymousreply 21October 8, 2021 10:38 PM

He was a bit too "all American" for me, which makes him look more bland, if you get me.

It's funny, in Friday the 13th I also thought Kevin Bacon was the least attractive of those campers.

by Anonymousreply 22October 8, 2021 10:40 PM

Fisher Stevens is in The Burning too

by Anonymousreply 23October 9, 2021 12:44 AM

^He's so skinny, you practically see his butthole at one point.

by Anonymousreply 24October 9, 2021 12:46 AM

Kevin Bacon was the least attractive of the campers for sure.

by Anonymousreply 25October 9, 2021 1:21 PM

Definitely, R25. Kept looking at his weird nose.

I liked that he and his girlfriend genuinely liked each other, thought. That always seems rare in these types of films.

by Anonymousreply 26October 9, 2021 1:26 PM

Wasn't Fisher Stevens under 18 when they filmed the butt shot?

by Anonymousreply 27October 9, 2021 1:28 PM

No idea, R27. As usual, they all look like they're 30-35 years old playing teens to me. He's hard to tell because he's so scrawny.

Speaking of which, did anyone else find it really difficult to tell in this movie who were the kids and who were the counsellors? I had no idea, to be honest.

by Anonymousreply 28October 9, 2021 1:37 PM

I know most people will probably say Bill, but I thought Ned was best looking of the guys. I always notice the patch of hair above his ass when he hops on the makeshift raft before he fakes drowning. Any info on Mark Nelson? Never married, theater career. Hmmm.

by Anonymousreply 29October 9, 2021 2:26 PM

You want Savini effects?! Put "The Prowler" on your list! A vicious knifing through a guys head AND a shotgun blast that causes another head to explode. Good stuff.

by Anonymousreply 30October 9, 2021 2:53 PM

The reason the early '80s slashers reign is because of the atmosphere. They have mood and atmosphere from the first frame. Essential to a good horror movie.

by Anonymousreply 31October 9, 2021 4:00 PM

R29, no I 100% agree with you, Ned is very much my type. Bill comes second, and honestly Kevin Bacon just doesn't do it for me at all.

Thanks R30, will put that on the list! From memory that was one recommended to me alongside The Burning, so definitely want to see it.

R31, you are so right. Atmosphere is one of the most important parts of this film, it's amazing how few people know how to do it. This explains exactly why the ones that don't work, don't. And the over reliance on jump scares doesn't fix the problem.

by Anonymousreply 32October 9, 2021 9:48 PM

Speaking of Tom Savini, I've heard Maniac is pretty brutal. I usually hear that in the context of it being worse than The New York Ripper.

by Anonymousreply 33October 10, 2021 4:38 AM

Did anyone read about Victor Miller, the screenwriter of Friday the 13th, winning the rights to Friday the 13th last week after a long legal battle? Evidently, he hated that they made Jason alive and the killer in Friday the 13th II, so the franchise might be sans Jason moving forward...

by Anonymousreply 34October 10, 2021 5:26 AM

Oh yeah, that sounds like a GREAT idea.

by Anonymousreply 35October 10, 2021 2:12 PM

I wonder what they will do without Jason if they do go that route?

by Anonymousreply 36October 11, 2021 12:54 PM

There's no way they won't have Jason. Unless they want it to flop.

by Anonymousreply 37October 11, 2021 5:40 PM

Yeah, I can't imagine it like that either.

Incidentally, someone I was listening to recently was talking about how the Halloween series was initially envisaged as not being about Michael Myers every time, but a different story set on Halloween.

by Anonymousreply 38October 11, 2021 8:15 PM

Yes, r38. They tried that with Part III and it flopped. So five years later they brought back Michael Myers and the series picked up again.

I love Part III so I wish they just did their own separate series.

by Anonymousreply 39October 11, 2021 8:22 PM

I've heard a lot of praise for part 3 from people. I've never seen it myself, actually only seen the first movie, so have a bit to catch up on there.

by Anonymousreply 40October 11, 2021 8:53 PM

Halloween III is a great movie. Creepy setting.

by Anonymousreply 41October 12, 2021 12:42 AM

Will definitely check it out, R41!

by Anonymousreply 42October 12, 2021 7:46 AM

I liked Halloween III too, it's that type of 80s horror movie they don't really make anymore.

by Anonymousreply 43October 12, 2021 12:49 PM

A guy I work with is going to loan me the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, which I think I'm finally ready to see, after watching these two. That might be an actual Hallowe'en option this year (we don't really do Hallowe'en here, and I've never really done scary movies on the night or anything before). Maybe A Nightmare on Elm Street and Sleepaway Camp. I want to see the second Nightmare too, because of the whole gay aspect and controversy around the film. Then I'll watch the documentary on it.

by Anonymousreply 44October 15, 2021 12:14 PM

So, continuing my camp horror movies (as in holiday camp) I watched SLEEPAWAY CAMP tonight.

I really enjoyed it! There was a lot I thought it did well, compared to others of its type.

For a start it was refreshing to see none of the usual "male gaze" stuff. The only nudity was male arse (as usual), all in non-sexual ways. The movie instead did it better by rather than showing stuff, making one of the themes be about sexual predation. It's actually really horrific when you hear the cook talk about the young girls the way he does AND no one really worries too much about it. The use of actual young kids in this adds more to the feeling of danger, when you use 20 year olds as teens there's almost this feeling that none of it really matters, if that makes sense.

There's also a big theme here of useless adults, which I think must've been deliberate. Perhaps I'm reaching and it's because I was someone who was bullied a lot when younger who quickly realised how little the adults who were meant to be looking after you would protect you, but it is what I saw in this film.

Frankly, Angela killed mostly those who deserved it, exception being the kids in the sleeping bags, I guess. Oh, and I actually really liked her romance with her boyfriend, but I wonder if the movie was trying to show he wasn't that different maybe? I'm not sure. Or she had gone mad by then anyway.

As for the ending, well, I already knew about it, so it wasn't a surprise. I'm not sure what to think of it from the offense angle. Is it offensive? I'm not sure, and it's not for me to say. I would argue though that she can't really be considered transgendered - she had that forced on her by her nutty adopted mother. Also, was the memory of her father in bed with another man meant to be offensive too? I'm not sure, I feel so far removed from those days and intention, but it didn't feel like that to me. I thought at the beginning he had a nice bum, good to see he put it to some good use, I say! ;)

Yeah, I thought this was a good one (closing song was a bit weird though hehe). It's amazing some of the stuff they used to get away with. There is a real nasty feeling under the surface of this film which helps with the horror. It still has a bit of power to shock just because it couldn't do some of the stuff it did nowadays.

Oh, and interesting they had another archery seen here, similar to the set up to Friday the 13th, but this time it actually did what you expected.

by Anonymousreply 45October 17, 2021 8:49 AM

I just watched Silent Night, Deadly Night. You know, for a cheesy 80s slasher (the killer is running around growling: "Punish!" for god's sake) there were some kinda effectively creepy images in it. Like the family seeing Santa standing in the middle of the road in the middle of the night, or the boy on the sled saying: "Someone's out there". And in particular, the scene of the little girl waking up and seeing Santa in the house, not realising it's actually the guy who's just murdered her sister and her boyfriend. I feel like I've read about similar things happening in real life cases, people thinking they were seeing someone they knew in the house and waking up to find someone dead or kidnapped).

by Anonymousreply 46November 6, 2021 1:25 PM

Silent Night, Deadly Night is a much better movie than it's given credit for. It says some really powerful things about organized religion that I'm sure those protesting it took more offensive at than the killer Santa angle. That is, if they even bothered to see the film they were protesting. It's one of the darkest and most fucked up 80's slasher films.

by Anonymousreply 47November 6, 2021 6:15 PM

Yeah, that's true, R47. In fact, in parts I thought it probably could've been longer to deal with those things more.

by Anonymousreply 48November 6, 2021 9:25 PM

I love Silent Night Deadly Night but it is pure sleeze. I watch it every December 23rd. The sequel is also great camp fun like Showgirls.

by Anonymousreply 49November 11, 2021 4:44 AM

I tried to watch the second one but forty minutes in and it's only just done recapping the first movie, it was a bit boring. Maybe it picks up in the second half?

by Anonymousreply 50November 11, 2021 6:22 PM

Adult Billy in the first one was one of the best looking guys in horror.

by Anonymousreply 51November 12, 2021 12:37 AM

You like it when he says: "Punish!", R51? 😉

I found the coworker in the first one to be attractive, but of course he turns out to be a wannabe rapist - I sure know how to pick 'em! 🙄

by Anonymousreply 52November 12, 2021 7:21 PM

You mean Joe Pesci's much hotter, buffer brother? He had some guns on him.

by Anonymousreply 53November 13, 2021 5:25 AM

That's the one, R53. I would've made it easier for him.

by Anonymousreply 54November 13, 2021 5:32 AM
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