The Initiation (1983)
By: CJ on December 16, 2002  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Anchor Bay (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0 Mono. 97 minutes
The Movie
Director: Larry Stewart
Starring: Vera Miles, Clu Gulager, Daphne Zuniga and James Read
Screenplay: Charles Pratt Jr.
Music: Gabriel Black and Lance Ong
Tagline: "Be young, stay young… and die young"
Country: USA
Anchor Bay, having already given us the likes of the Sleepaway Camp trilogy, Hell Night and Prom Night, treat us to yet another dose of early 80's teen slasher mayhem. This time in the form of Larry Stewart's The Initiation.

Take a central female character (Daphne Zuniga) with a dark and mysterious past, put her in a college with a load of fellow sex-starved students and then take those students and lock them in a shopping mall for the night with a madman on the loose. That's pretty much the scenario of this film, if you're looking for something more profound then you're in the wrong genre. What you have here, to cut it down to basics, is lots of teens having sex, goofing around and getting slayed one-by-one. There are better examples of the genre, but this is enjoyable enough. There's really nothing new here, but the ending caught me out, I have to admit. I really hadn't figured that one out, not that I'm going to give anything away, you'll just have to find out for yourself!

Not a great film by any means, but a pleasant enough time-waster. There's plenty of gratuitous nudity, bad dialogue and reasonable gore (though not excessive) to keep most trash fans happy though, so it's not a complete loss. Larry Stewart directs competently, if without flair, and gets the job done reasonably well - but he's no Carpenter that's for sure!

Best performance? Well.there isn't really, the whole cast is pretty crap! Zuniga does her best, but comes off as being wholly unconvincing. The gore isn't too good either, pretty poor actually.

I'm not really selling this to you, am I? If I said something like "Look at those tits!" - would that convince you to buy it? Probably not. However, as a whole, the film is highly entertaining. Of course it stands to reason that when you start breaking down things as I have, that it will start to sound like a pile of shit. And I guess it probably is shit too, but I'd still recommend a viewing, as it is highly enjoyable.
It's not a bad transfer at all, though it looks ever so slightly scratchy in certain places. But these are few and far between and absolutely nothing to be concerned about. On the whole this is an extremely nice looking print. The image is sharp (ignore the opening sequence as it's a flashback and shot 'soft'), the colours are stable, if a little washed out, throughout and there are no glaring print defects. Perfectly acceptable.
The only audio provided is a rather disappointing mono track. It's rather tinny and lacks the bottom end bass it really needs. However, it did the job, if not very well. Bit of a letdown really.
Extra Features
Extras are practically non-existent save for a theatrical trailer. A poor show from Anchor Bay on this one.
The Verdict
Despite how it sounds, it is a highly entertaining movie and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If slashers are your bag, baby, then you'll love it. The more demanding viewer, however, may find it a little disappointing. It's a pretty good disc from Anchor Bay, and viewers will be quite happy with the presentation (disappointing audio aside). Well, I'd recommend it anyway! And for those with region-specific players, despite the packaging not displaying a R1 symbol, the disc is coded R1.
Movie Score
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