Shelley Bruce (played Tiger)
Q1: How did you get the part in THE BURNING?
The Burning was just another audition that I was sent on by my agent. I knew Joy Todd from other auditions and projects. She was familiar with my work and abilities and I guess she and the others decided I would be a good fit for the role.
Q2: THE BURNING was different to a film such as FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980), where most of the cast were young adults. Many of the cast in THE BURNING (1981) were young enough to truly reflect the real make-up of a summer camp in the early 1980s. Am I right in thinking you were the youngest of any of the main characters?
Yup...14 years old :)
Q3: The baseball and canoeing scenes sure looked like fun to make. Do you have fond memories of the production?
Oh we had so much fun making this movie. What a great bunch of people. The fun and frivolity you see on the screen was 100% genuine. The food fight in the dinig hall was completely real! Food was flying everywhere and I couldn't possible fit more mashed potatoes in my mouth! I was truly about to blow them everywhere! The canoe scene...totally unplanned that a canoe would sink, it just happened. Most days we were laughing so hard it was difficult to be serious.
Q4: Cropsy – the horribly scarred killer in the film – is seemingly inspired (in name at least) by the urban legend that has terrorised kids and campers for decades in New York State. Had you heard about the legend? Did anything spooky happen on set?
I had never heard of the legend. I just figured it was made up for the movie. I don't remember anything spooky or odd happening on the set, and trust me, I'm completely into that kind of stuff so I would have noticed. The funniest thing was finding out that Tom Savini, our amazing special effect guy, was afraid of spiders! We had a great time playing basketball with Betsy Palmer's head. Tom had done the effects for Friday the 13th and he always had Betsy's head with him lol.
Q5: You were the first of the campers to be menaced by Cropsy, as your character retrieved a ball from some bushes – but escaped unharmed. Tom Savini (who did the effects) was saying that the cast were queuing up to find out how they would die. Were you disappointed you didn't get to be one of Cropsy's victims?
I didn't even know that I was that "close to death" until we screened the movie!!! All of that was done post production. It was kind of eerie to see how close I came.
Q6: Tom Savini also alluded to the fact that the ending was changed after director Tony Maylam and the Weinstein bothers reportedly fell out. There is a scene towards the end of the film where you appear with Sarah Chodoff by the riverside, when Leah Ayres character calls her Marnie (who was actually played by Bonnie Deroski). Bonnie told me that this scene was reshot, but neither Leah or Bonnie her were available (yet you can hear the wrong name being used). Was much reshot on the film?
Not to my knowledge. This is the first I ever heard about that. Harvey and Bob seemed to be such newbies at the time. So far removed from the powerhouse they have become, but I guess everyone has to start somewhere
Q7: THE BURNING was surprisingly controversial on release. Suffering many cuts at the behest at the MPAA. Despite getting a cinema release in the UK it was accidentally released uncut on video and was banned as one of the infamous ‘video-nasties’. Were you aware of its enduring infamy
I wasn't until a few years ago when the move was preparing for release on DVD. Actually, it was through some major horror fans and journalists that contacted me on myspace that filled me in on all the gorey details (pardon the pun lol ) The film was shot when I was fourteen and soon after the release I found myself battling leukemia, so I kind of wasn't paying attention :)
Q8: Have you seen the film recently? If so, how do you think it holds up?
I have. I got it when it came out on DVD and I think it holds up quite well. There are some unique elements that stand out in an era of cookie cutter horror movies. Not to mention the fact that you have Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, and Holly Hunter in there!
Q9: Finally, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! Is there anything else you can add about the film or your time working on it?
I can only say that I never had more fun with such a cast of characters. We had a great time in Buffalo and an even better time in North Tonawanda. We stayed at this great little place on the banks of Lake Erie and it was like getting paid to spend time having fun with your friends. The days spent on the lake and at the campsite will always have a special place in my heart.
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