US video artwork for THE INITIATION
"Sorority ceremony becomes a real
"hell night" for coed....
the night new blood is pledged"

THE INITIATION review: page 2

       Eager to understand her disturbing night-time (and occasional day-time) visions, Kelly decides to research ‘Dreams and Nightmares’ as a thesis topic. Hunky teacher Peter and his glamourous assistant, Heidi.This brings her into contact with the ‘Dream Factory’- a research unit where they monitor dream activity, which is run by hunky teacher Peter (James Read) and his glamorous assistant Heidi (Joy Jones). Kelly is soon telling them about her problem; how she was in a coma for three months after falling out of a tree house (or so her parents tell her); and how she can’t remember anything before the age of nine. "That’s beautiful! All the classic symbols are men....", blathers Peter enthusiastically; before hypnotising her and forcing her to relive "that terrible One of Daphne's troublesome visions.night". Afterwards though, he is unable to bring her out of her hypnotic state by calling her name- which is the cue for an apoplectic Vera Miles to burst in and throw a hissy fit, before dragging her daughter away with threats of malpractice suits. Understandably wondering if psychosis runs in the family Heidi observes, if not a little rashly, "Multiple personalities with a splash of schizophrenia- that explains Mommy’s little tantrum."

       The film lumbers on to its inevitable mall showdown, padding out with some teen movie filler which includes, what must surely be obligatory for an early 80’s I doubt the Academy came a knockin' that year!slasher movie- a fancy dress disco/party. This one is no different from a legion of others, the only thing distinguishing it is the fact that someone thought it’d be amusing for one of the guests to come dressed in a giant penis costume. I only mention this because I couldn’t help wondering if the guy playing ‘Huge Foam knob at Frat party’, (and lets face it- it was probably his one and only screen appearance), ever boasts of the fact to work colleagues; or perhaps indulges in reminiscing his halcyon Hollywood days with his adoring Grandchildren?... Probably not.

       ‘Prank Night’ arrives and the pledges plan their activities- well, all the pledges bar one. Beth, in a moment of clarity, tells Megan where to stuff her sorority and Kelly and the gals get ready for a night of pranking!her stupid pranks- "We’re grown Women!", she fumes. Thoughts that this may have been for some part due to latent feminist ideals on the director’s part are seriously undermined when you realise that Beth has stayed behind just to provide yet another look at her all soapy and nekkid in the shower.... Meanwhile Kelly lets herself in to her Father’s mall with Marcia and Alison and proceed with their plan to steal the night watchman’s clothes. However, unbeknownst to them, Kelly’s nemesis- bitchy 'No pledge leaves the store until she’s had the shit scared out of her!'Megan, has plans of her own. She creeps into the mall with three buffoon frat boys; giving them strict instructions, "No pledge leaves the store until she’s had the shit scared out of her!"..... However, unbeknownst to either parties someone else has sneaked into the mall too; someone with a bit of teen prankster pruning on their mind!

       Ok, I’ve prattled on far too much about this movie and I won’t spoil any of the climactic half hour- not that I could spoil any of it you understand. To be fair though, thereIs this a first?... A killer with a hand held gardening tool fetish! is a morsel or two of hokey fun to be had during the cat-’n-mouse antics as the killer chases the teens around the mall in what comes across like a roller-boogie take on the setting of Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978). It is also probably about now that I should mention the lively modus operandi of the slasher- despatching victims with axes, harpoons, arrows; it’s not really that gory but you’ve got to give some kind of cheese award to a movie where the killer favours a hand held gardening fork in not Teenage Wasteland!one, but two murders- surely some kind of green fingered first!? It is probably about now that I can mention my cock-&-bull theory that this is in fact a loose remake of the 1981 slasher classic HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME. I can’t really explain why (apart from the obvious similarities of the female hero having survived a coma, etc), but the ending is, if not Daphne Zuniga finally gets a look at the rushes!quite identical, then pretty darn close. And as grand revelations of the killer’s identity go, this has to take the biscuit as one of the dumbest, out of nowhere endings in all of slasher cinema- and as you can imagine that is not something I say lightly!..... You’ll gasp. You’ll groan. And you’ll wonder if Daphne Zuniga still has this cheeseball stinking up the bottom of her résumé!

BODYCOUNT 10  bodycount!   female:5 / male:5

       1: Female stabbed with hand held garden fork
       2: Male hacked to death and decapitated with machete (offscreen)
       3: Male stabbed in chest with hand held garden fork
       4: Male teen has head split with axe
       5: Female teen shot through with arrow
       6: Male teen found with throat slit
       7: Female teen stabbed in gut with knife
       8: Male teen shot through with harpoon
       9: Female teen killed (method unseen)
     10: Female teen shot dead