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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Initiation (1984)


After Death Spa I debated if I should watch something that I know was decent. I didn’t want to string too many disappointments together and bore you the readers. But then I noticed a Blu-Ray in a pile of screeners that I hadn’t watched yet for a movie called the Initiation. After some research, I realized it was a Slasher that I don’t think I’ve ever watched before. That combined with the fact that it is an early appearance of Daphne Zuniga I couldn’t resist rolling the dice.

Zuniga portrays Kelly, a young college co-ed pledging a sorority, who is plagued with horrible nightmares. The nightmares are important because they have a connection with the mayhem that will shortly ensue. Kelly proposes doing a paper on dreams which catches the eye of her TA who is doing his thesis on dreams. As they try to figure out the origin of her dreams she continues with her sorority pledging. At the same time this is happening there is another plot line involving a mental institution and a creepy burnt patient escaping along with some others. This upsets Kelly’s parents so we know it has some connection with her and likely her dream. It all comes to a head when the sorority sisters sneak into a building owned by Kelly’s father as part of their prank night. They are not alone as we watch a killer take them out one by one.
The '80s were an interesting time

I can’t say much more than that without giving away spoilers and I really don’t want to do that. The Initiation was a surprisingly good entry into the slasher genre. The story is interesting and filled with surprising twists that on a second watch make sense. There are hints that I didn’t see the first time I watched it. Yes, I did go back a couple of days later and watch it a second time before writing this review. That is how much I enjoyed the Initiation! For a Slasher movie the characters are well developed and believable. The cast is amazing with familiar faces Vera Miles and Clu Gulager adding some needed experience to the young ensemble. This is one of those rare entries into the Slasher genre that is interesting even when the killer isn’t adding to their body count.

If you were worried by the above sentence about a lack of gore don’t be. While it isn’t top notch I found the gore and kills in the Initiation to be satisfying. We get a respectable nine kills with many of them on scene. Early on the killer likes to use a garden rake to off his victims including some neck and chest stabbing. But eventually moves onto different weapons like an axe, that ends up in a frat boy’s noggin’ and an archery set that fires an arrow thru an unlucky co-ed. Nothing new or trendsetting here, but overall it is solid gore that paired up with a great script and cast makes for a superior flick.

At this point in my movie nerd life it is very rare that I find an old movie in one of my favorite genres that I’ve not watched. Most of the time when I do find one I’m disappointed and can understand how I missed it. The Initiation gives me hope that there are still some good things for me to find and makes me want to continue to dig thru the garbage to locate them.


Next up in my Slasher movie marathon is Edge of the Axe



© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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