The Initiation

Director–  Larry Stewart

Starring – Daphne Zuniga, Vera Miles

Country of Origin- U.S.

Discs -1

Distributor - Arrow Video

Reviewer -  Scott MacDonald

Date - 11/29/2016

The Film (3/5)

    Kelly Fairchild is a young woman who as a child suffered a tragedy involving her parents. She has spent the intervening years trying to forget those events, and is now at college going through the initiation process for the Delta Rho Chi sorority.  The head of the sorority Megan happens to know a bit about Kelly's family, in the sense that Kelly's Dad is the owner of Fairchild's department stores. She, of course, suggest that the initiation go off-campus, and into her Dad's store overnight, where the girls must steal the uniform of the night watchman. Of course, once in the store things don't go to plan. First Megan, let's in some prank crazy frat boys to scare the initiates. The bigger problem is, of course, the escapee from the mental asylum with ties to Kelly's past who has arrived to kill anyone that stands in between him and Kelly.

    I originally saw the Initiation sometime around 8th grade.  I remember renting a hardbox VHS of the title, with the iconic candle cover of the film. I do not remember being overly impressed by it at the time, having never revisited the film in the last 20 years. However, Arrow Video has come around to restoring the film to Blu-ray, and so the time came to give the film a 2nd look.

    The Initiation is a pretty by the numbers sorority slasher film for the period.  On reappraisal of the film, I actually had a lot of fun with it. Especially during the film's opening moments, and during the department store scenes that occurred during the film's 2nd half. These moments are pure slasher film bliss. However, the film has some pacing issues getting to those moments.

    The first half of the film feels like a lot of build up, and discussion about Kelly's mental state, with added background for the story. There are some entertaining, but cheesy moments here like the party scene, but overall it felt like this could have been tighter. Once the film gets to Fairchild's department store, the body count obviously begins to pick up, and so does the pacing. The film doesn't do much to stand out from it's eighties slasher brethren, but during these moments it's a fun breezy horror amusement park thrill ride.


Audio/Video (4/5)

    Arrow Video presents The Initiation with a splendid 1:85:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer that looks far better than I expected this film would ever look. The film has a nice filmic texture to it all the way through, grain is handled well, and detail is solid. Blacks are nice and deep, and colors are well reproduced.   There is some softness mainly in the opening scene, but overally things look quite nice throughout.

    The audio is presented with an English LPCM mono track that sounds quite solid. Dialogue and score come through crisp and clear, and I found nothing to complain about.


Extras (3.5/5)

    There are 3 interviews with members of the cast and crew. We have screenwriter Charles Platt Jr.. with a 21 minutes discussion, followed by 2 separate interviews with Christopher Bradley and Joy Jones. We also get an extended scene, and a commentary by the Hysteria Continues. There is also a trailer for the film.



    The Initiation isn't the best slasher to come out of the 80's, but it is a fun way to waste an hour and half.  The Blu-ray from Arrow Video looks predictably brilliant, and it comes with a decent slate of extras. RECOMMENDED.