In the video store heyday of the 80s, horror really found its audience. Those were the days when the success of a film could depend entirely on how eye catching the cover was. It was all about presentation. One of the covers I most remember from back in the day was for a film called The Initiation but for some reason I never got around to actually seeing the film. SO I was thrilled that Arrow Video was releasing a new Blu-ray special edition of The Initiation this month so I could finally see what that crazy girl/candle/eyeball artwork had going on behind it.
Kelly Fairchild (Daphne Zuniga) is starting University and trying to forget her past. She suffers from recurring nightmares of a strange man burning to death in her childhood home. She wants join a sorority on campus but the initiation ritual entails her and a group of other pledges to break into her wealthy father’s huge department store after hours. Once in the store that night the girls are stalked one by one by someone who may be linked not only to Kelly’s nightmares but her past as well.
The Initiation, much like many horror movies from the mid-80s, doesn’t break any new ground in story or execution but is still a well put together, fun and twisty flick with a great cast. Not only does it feature Daphne Zuniga in one of her first roles but Hollywood veterans Vera Miles and Clu Gulager as her parents. The Initiation could easily be paired up with any Friday the 13th or other slasher film from the 80s and feel right at home. Director Larry Stewart does a great job of keeping the action moving and the scares steady and entertaining. Stewart spent a decade directing some episodes of some of the biggest shows of the 80s including The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, Charlie’s Angels and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century; he certainly knew what he was doing. The new special edition of The Initiation looks great with a new transfer and has some great special features as well so if you are a fan or just discovering it for the first time, The Initiation is worth checking out.