If you like your slashers drenched in Day-Glo, rocking to an 1980s synth beat and set in a ‘chopping’ mall, then The Initiation will be right up your street.
As part of a sorority pledge, Texan college student Kelly (Daphne Zuniga) breaks into her father’s department store with a group of teenagers in tow. But an unseen killer stalks the mall’s corridors, taking the teens out one-by-one in grisly fashion. Could the killer be the man Kelly sees burning in agony in her recurring dreams? And can her boyfriend Peter (James Read) unlock the key to the mystery before it’s too late…
The Initiation completely slipped off my slasher radar when it was first released back in 1984, but ArrowDrome have uncovered a real surprise here, an old-fashioned murder mystery just swimming in psycho-sexual thrills and 1980s Day-Glo slasher antics. This was a time when Tom Selleck was every girl’s pin-up; college kids dressed as faux punks and giant phalluses every Saturday night; and the shopping mall (in this case the real life Dallas Market Center) was the centre of the universe.
Judging from the title and trailer, you’d think this was a supernatural Carrie-inspired horror, but The Initation is pure slasher, with a garden trowel, an axe, an arrow and a spear-gun being just some of weapons used by the killer stalking the labyrinthine ‘chopping’ mall, whose identity really does come as a surprise. BTW: that’s Vera Miles of Psycho fame playing Kelly’s mum Frances (although she doesn’t get to do much here) and Clu Gulager as Dwight Fairchild, who might not be Kelly’s dad after all…
Body Count 10
First Kill 14:50
Best Kill Clu Gulager’s decapitation scene.
Best Line ‘He’d forget his head if it wasn’t attached’ Frances (Vera Miles)
The special features on this ArrowDrome release include a reversible sleeve, the theatrical trailer, and a collector’s booklet with writing on the film by Calum Waddell.