The Initiation (1984) Review

Chris Savage

The initiation DVDAs horror fans, we have probably seen hundreds upon hundreds of horror flicks during our lifetime, some good, some bad, and some that are just down right ugly. But, they all equally have a certain charm about them be that good or bad. However, occasionally a horror film or two may fall between the cracks and in turn, this skips our radar. Case in point? Arrow Video’s upcoming release of Larry Stewart’s 1984 slasher flick The Initiation.

As some what a fan of slasher films, I’m actually surprised it has taken me so long to check this sucker out. But that me be due to the fact that this one just isn’t talked about enough. By the time this film came about, something like 1984, the genre was filled with slasher films and probably due to that, this one has remained a little lost in a slew of films.

Or perhaps a lot of genre fans simply didn’t like it. Well, what ever the case, I finally got the chance to check this sucker out and I was pleasantly surprised. The film is very much in the vein of many other college slasher flicks of the time and while it doesn’t really add anything new to the genre back then, it’s still a pretty solid affair.

The film follows Kelly Fairchild, played by Daphne Zuniga, of Spaceballs fame, but also she starred in The Dorm That Dripped Blood. Anyway, Kelly has recurring nightmares of something truly evil night after night, and she doesn’t seem to know why, and with this, she finds it extremely hard to focus on pretty much anything. Still, Kelly wants to become a member of the Delta Ro Kai sorority pledge, but, it isn’t that easy.

Much like any sorority, you must perform an initiation ritual, unfortunately for her it just so happens that she must break into her stepfathers department store to fulfill her pledge. Although, the girls are not alone, and soon they begin being picked off one by one by a mysterious stranger. Just who could be killing these young girls?

You guys will just have to check this one out to find out just who is causing these murders. The film itself begins a little slow, although the opening scene starts off well as we see Kelly’s parents played by Clu Gulager and Vera Mills doing the dirty only to find their daughter running in and stabbing Gulager in the leg. Bizarrely a strange man comes running in, only to be set on fire by Gulager in which Kelly wakes up and the film chugs along.

Although it is a little slow, it builds the film up nicely and we get to know some of the characters before the film really gets going. The POV shots of the killer are a nice touch, although many of the deaths are pretty much the same, still, the acting is pretty top-notch.

As for gore? Well, there really isn’t much, a bit of blood here and there, but the atmosphere makes up for the lack thereof. There is a couple of shots of nudity, I mean, you can’t really have a slasher flick without some boobage now can we? And of course, the film is filled to the brim with horny teens just dying to fulfill their needs, and well, dying is what they do very well.

There are some cheesy moments to be had, most notable the ending, but I won’t give that away, and oh, keep an eye out for the giant walking penis.

The film was a nice surprise, as I have already said, and if you haven’t checked this one out then I recommend that you do so. It’s not going to bring anything new to the table, as the formula is pretty much the same as any other slasher film. But most of the acting is spot on and the atmosphere and suspense is adds to the film.

For those of you in the UK, Arrow Video will be releasing the film onto DVD this August 5th via their ArrowDrome imprint. unfortunately special features are very slim, the disc contains a trailer and that’s it. Although the retail version will feature a reversible cover and a collector’s booklet with writing on the film by Calum Waddell.

So all in all, if you’re interested in checking out a forgotten little gem with some cheesy moments, but an all around solid effort, give The Initiation a shot, and I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

3.5 / 5 stars     


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