Saturday, June 17, 2017

Tribute to Woodstock from The Burning.

 Tribute to Woodstock from The Burning.

In closing with our second week of Sensational Summer, I decided what better way to show camp slasher spirit than to pay tribute to one of my personal favorite victims of all time.

Woodstock aka Fisher Stevens from The Burning.

Way back in 2008 I happened to come across the bare bones DVD release of The Burning one day. I strangely remember that day exactly and how excited I was to actually find this movie. You see, I grew up loving the George A. Romero films, and of course the splatter work of Tom Savini. I had heard of The Burning, but had never actually seen it since it had been out of print for years. All I knew about this movie was that it was a camp slasher, and that Tom passed on working on Friday the 13th part 2 to work on this movie instead. That afternoon I brought it home and I watched this gem with my late mother. The woman responsible for my love of all things horror. Both of us had a great time watching this splatter flick. We laughed, and were highly amused at all of the gross and bloody effects featured in this movie. That summer we watched it countless times and it became one of my all time favorite slashers of all time. In fact, in 2010 when I attended Tom's school, I was able to actually ask him about the famous raft massacre and which kill he felt was the hardest to do. Tom said the bit where the councilor is stabbed in the neck was the hardest honestly because the camera was right on the actor and it was filmed in daylight, which meant it was very hard to hide any flaws. In college I even showed my film class the raft massacre, in which everyone was left in awe. At Savini's school at a victim's party where everyone had to dress as famous film victims. I of course picked Woodstock, cut off fingers and all. Even before I graduated I even sculpted Woodstock and Crospy, two figures I STILL need to mass produce. So in closing up Camp Slashers, here's a little tribute for my homeboy Woodstock.

The Burning is about a group of teens at a camp in the early 1970's who decide to play a prank on the grounds keeper Crospy, a real mean bastard who makes their life's a living hell. One night they sneak into his cabin when he's passed out drunk, and place a fake skull by his bunk with a candle burning inside. Crospy awakes, startled by the skull and accidentally knocks the skull and candle over, causing his entire bunk to catch fire, himself included. Running out of the cabin engulfed in flames, before collapsing into the nearby lake. Rushed to the burn unit, nearly 97% of his body is covered in third degree burns. After ten years, Crospy is finally released back into society, how horribly disfigured. Insane, Crospy returns to a nearby camp and targets a group of campers and councilors who are taking a  canoe trip down the river. Here Crospy attacks everyone, slaughtering them in vicious ways. 

One of the campers is played by a young sixteen year old Fisher Stevens. What makes The Burning different than most films is it's cast of then unknowns. We have Stevens, Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter, Brian Backer, and Larry Joshua. Tom Savini even said it himself, in most slashers the young kids are always annoying and you just can't wait until they are killed. In The Burning, you actually like these kids and are bummed to see die. Woodstock is one of the first film roles Fisher Stevens ever played. I believe he was 15/16 when he took this role, filmed up in New York. Stevens is completely adorable in this. He's skinny, thick beautiful hair, big blue eyes, and serves Jewish teen realness. He's one of the campers who partakes in the zany camp fun, until he's slaughtered. 

Myself dressed as Woodstock and my friend Anthony as Flyboy from Dawn Of The Dead.

 This is the sad case when the film's most memorable scene happens when the group becomes stranded when they wake up and find the canoes missing and are miles away from camp. Building a raft (how they did this in record time and be able to support five people is beyond me.) to go back down river and get help. Here one of the campers (Woodstock) is onboard, and is one of the many teens slaughtered when they approach what they believe is an empty canoe floating in the middle of the river. When they paddle closer, Crospy magically pops up, garden shears and begins to hack away at the screaming helpless teens. Woodstock features one of the most memorable deaths by spinning around, and holding his hands up to shield his face. Crospy hacks and sips right through Woodstock's fingers like they are butter, leaving them gushing stumps as Woodstock screams in horror. Afterwards, the raft floats back to the stranded teens, with one of the councilors swimming out thinking maybe the campers are pulling a prank. Well, sadly the first thing the councilor accidentally pulls is the hacked off arm of Woodstock, having his butchered body float out from underneath the raft. Part of his face and throat hacked away. By far he has the worst death in the whole movie and 30 + years later is one of the most memorable deaths in the entire film.

Now released on blu-ray, The Burning is a cult classic. Fisher Stevens went on to a very successful career and even won an Oscar. Still, no matter what he will always be Woodstock to me!

Let's crack open a cold one and pour one out for of the best camp victims of all time!

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