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1981 Movie Reviews – The Burning

by Sean P. Aune | May 8, 2021May 8, 2021 10:30 am EDT

Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1981 was an exciting year for films giving us a lot of films that would go on to be beloved favorites and cult classics. It was also the start to a major shift in cultural and societal norms, and some of those still reverberate to this day.


We’re going to pick and choose which movies we hit, but right now the list stands at nearly three dozen.

Yes, we’re insane, but 1981 was that great of a year for film.

The articles will come out – in most cases – on the same day the films hit theaters in 1981 so that it is their true 40th anniversary. All films are also watched again for the purposes of these reviews and are not being done from memory. In some cases, it truly will be the first time we’ve seen them.

This time around it’s May 8, 1981, and we’re off to see The Burning!

Quick side note: Since we launched this series this year, we’ve discovered that Vintage Video Podcast is doing the exact same project with two differences: First, it’s audio (naturally), and second, they are doing every major film. We’ve listened to numerous episodes and it’s fun checking off their thoughts against my own. Check them out over at Vintage Video Podcast.

1981 Movie Project - The Burning - 01

The Burning

The slasher fest of 1981 continues, this time with The Burning.

First up, coming out a week after Friday the 13th Part 2 was probably not the best idea when your movie is also set at a summer camp. The setting isn’t so much of the problem as it is just the general fatigue of slasher films at this point – even for someone watching them 40 years later – had to be getting to people.

All of that said, I enjoyed The Burning. Unlike most slasher films, the killer wasn’t completely mindless and was on the hunt for revenge. The only exception being the seemingly random and pointless kill of a prostitute early in the film. The film could have done without that whole sequence, but other than that, it was an interesting take.

For once was there not only a real motivation to the killer, but the film spent a considerable amount of time with the future victims making them far closer to actual people instead of just lifeless blood bags to be skewered in various ways. Nearly a third of the film borders on Meatballs style camp hijinks and then people start dying in larger numbers. It’s an interesting choice.

The Burning isn’t going to change how you view slasher films, and it isn’t even that it’s a particularly good movie in the most general of senses. It’s just a pretty good slasher movie. If you’ve never had a chance to check it out, it’s definitely worth it.

The 1981 movie reviews will return on May 15 with The Fan and Happy Birthday to Me!

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Sean P. Aune

Sean Aune has been a pop culture aficionado since before there was even a term for pop culture. From the time his father brought home Amazing