• RELEASE DATE: Now Available on Blu-ray (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
• WRITTEN BY: Charles Pratt Jr.
• DIRECTED BY: Larry Stewart
• STARRING: Vera Miles, Clu Gulager, Daphne Zuniga
When your flick opens with a girl watching her mother bone Clu fuckin’ Gulager while a dude goes up in flames before her very eyes, you know you’re in for one wild-ass time at the ol’ sin-ema!
How do you follow that insanity? Well if you are THE INITIATION you regal us with the adventures of Kelly (Zuniga), a fresh pledge to a college fraternity who just so happens to be plagued with dreams of the nightmare scenario above. Speaking of that pledge angle; it seems ol’ Kell-kell needs to swipe the keys to her moneybags poppa’s multi-level department store in order to join the sisterhood, who plan on partying down in the store after hours. What could go wrong with that innocuous plan? Well, this being a fright flick and all, there’s an escaped lunatic on the loose that seemingly has joined our comely heroine and her pals within the confines of the store and folks end up gettin’ sliced and diced with wild abandon. How does Kelly’s dream factor into the whole affair, is all as it seems, and why is there a man dressed as a six foot cock (replete with pubes) in the film? I ain’t tellin’!
With a strong emphasis on suspense rather than gory set-pieces, a higher budget (and therefore more familiar faces in the cast), and the more psychological angle of the dream and it’s repressed memories, THE INITIATION is a real stand out among the rank and file of golden age slashers, and I thoroughly enjoyed the hell out of it! To be fair though, that more cerebral approach (well in relation to most stalk n’ slay flicks that is) may leave some viewers cold as the majority of the murder biz doesn’t happen until the flick’s final act, but when the red sauce starts flowing it’s a solid enough bit of grue.Also it contains that beloved, hoary ol’ chestnut; full frontal nudity!
As much of a good time as I had with THE INITIATION, ol’ Arrow has sweetened the putrid pot with a bevy of beastly bonuses such as; interviews with screenwriter Charles Pratt Jr., actor Christopher Bradley, and actress Joy Jones (who’s role as Heidi in the film absolutely, positively had to have influenced the look of Barb in STRANGER THINGS), an extended take of the party scene, the film’s trailer, and a rather informative audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues…whatever the hell that is…oh well, they agree with me on that whole “Barb” thing.
If you’re a fan of of slasher flicks, this release is a “must” for your collection; it has all of the “greatest hits” of the genre, plus it adds some great spins on the formula as well…plus it’s packed fat with that early 80’s fright flick vibe that I find to be irresistible!