Friday the 13th opened in May, 1980 and—much like John Carpenter's Halloween two years prior—was an immediate and substantial box office success.
In the 30 years hence, its influence is still evident in horror films with libidinous teenagers, primal weaponry or iconic killers. Although successful adaptations of Friday's fundamental tenets are a minority, there have been a select few that relay its influence ably—not in reinterpretation but rather in execution (as well as executions, naturally). Once such example is The Burning, a 1981 film that finds a familiar lot of pubescent teens at a familiar New England summer camp that circumscribes a familiar crystal lake. Dispensing with Friday's double twist ending in favor of more gore and violence (courtesy effects maestro Tom Savini), The Burning is as fundamental as '80s slashers come. One of Miramax Films' first releases, and featuring the debut film performances of Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens and Holly Hunter, The Burning is an unjustly overlooked slasher and an unpretentious conception of pure genre.
Director: Tony Maylam. 91 min. 1981. 35mm.
Part of the Rip-Off Cinema series in conjunction with the monthly Not Coming to a Theater Near You series, presented by the film blog of the same name.
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