UK video artwork for the UK release of THE INITIATION
2 stars Cheese Rating: 50% Fiesty Fromage! Use this link to buy this film and help support HYSTERIA!

"What terror is locked in her mind..."

directed by: Larry Stewart
starring: ['Introducing'] Daphne Zuniga, Vera Miles, Clu Galagher, James Read, Paula Knowles, Marylin Kagan, Hunter Tylo, Frances Peterson, Joy Jones.

(back of video blurb):
       "Kelly Fairchild, the beautiful daughter of a Texas shopping mall owner, has been haunted since childhood by a horrifying recurring nightmare.

       Peter Adams, Kelly's psychology professor, is convinced that there is something sinister to reveal, and tries to unlock her secret.

       Why does Kelly's mother insist on halting Adams' attempts to hypnotise her daughter?

       What is the initiation pledge of the Delta Rho Chi sorority?

       Who are the inmates who escaped from the asylum?

       Whose is the tortured mind?

       The nerve-wracking climax of this gripping psychological drama is played out in the echoing emptiness of Kelly's father's shopping mall at night."

choice dialogue:

"To being young... staying young... and dying young!"

- blissfully unaware teens toast their future (or more precisely lack of it!)

slash with panache?

       THE INITIATION is a somewhat late entry into the early 80’s slasher stakes, and despite its rather contrived, not to mention nonsensical, mixture of a hackneyed whodunit and the teenie-kill-a-go-go sub-genre, it is not without a few lopsided charms- one of which being it's cover art; which would send Freud, were he alive in 1983, into a frenzied diagnostic rapture (go on, have another look....perhaps it's just my filthy mind!?)

       First thing to catch my attention was the opening credits which proudly boasted ‘introducing Daphne Zuniga’; it caught my attention because neither Kelly (Daphne Zuniga) awakes from a horrible nightmare where...Zuniga, nor the producers of this film, had appeared to remember her touching debut in the cheapo slasher flick PRANKS (1981) (aka THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD), as ‘girl who has her head squished by car tyre’. Surprising really as THE INITIATION was no great career leap; being as it’s the kind of film most actresses would leave off their résumé too!.... Anyway, I digress, Zuniga plays Kelly Fairchild- rich teenage daughter of mall magnet (Clu Gulager- clearly looking forward to getting this over as quickly as possible and getting to the set of RETURN OF THE ...a man is burned alive!LIVING DEAD (1985)); and his wife, Vera Miles (who seems to think she’s in a better film than really she is; and gives it her all- what a trouper!). I digress again! .... Kelly is having a re-occurring, vivid nightmare where she, as a child, awakens and wanders into her Parent’s bedroom, where they are in bed together; in the dream Kelly stabs her father several times in the leg (with what looks like a shard of glass); then, from behind the door, appears another man; a tussle ensues between them and Clu Gulager pours a can of petrol (yeah, like everyone has a spare one next the chamber pot )over his adversary- who then falls into a lit fireplace and is engulfed'Delta Rho Chi never will die! with flames.... If Zuniga thought that was bad she awakes from her dream to an even more frightful sight- a group of glassy eyed, nightie clad sorority sisters leaning over her bed, clutching candles and repeating in a monotone chant, "Delta Rho Chi... never will die". Zuniga, and three other girls from her dorm room- Beth (Paula Knowles), Marcia (Marilyn Kagan), and Alison (Hunter Tylo); are led downstairs to a room where the Great Sentinel (a girl with mousy brown hair and wearing a pink silk slip) tells them, "So arise pledges and may this be the official commencement of your HellBitchy Megan, the head of the sorority, gives Kelly a hard time... Week." She continues by telling them that must do whatever is requested of them, " matter the consequences!" Mega bitch and head of the sorority, Megan (Frances Peterson), tells the pledges, with unrestrained glee (as she clearly envisages their failure), that on ‘Prank Night’ they will have to sneak into Kelly’s Dad’s Mall, under cover of the dark, and steal the night-watchmen’s clothes, "...from his badge right down to his skivvies!"- fail, and they can kiss goodbye to their places in the Sorority.

       Later, when they are back alone in their room, the pledges discuss their dangerous mission- "I heard this night-watchman guy is a real stud- hung like a Meanwhile, over at Fireside sanitarium...mule or somethin’!", coos one young filly. They discuss why Megan is the "wicked witch of the West". Haemorrhoids is one suggestion; as is cellulite. But one of the girls finally pipes up with, "[her] problem isn’t cellulite- it’s you Kelly"; she continues, "...she’s been on your case since Andy O’Connell’s been hounding you like a bitch on heat". (You’ve just gotta love this dialogue!). Kelly’s problems aren’t limited to her re-occurring nightmares; it soon becomes clear that her parents are harbouring a An unlikely rendition of 'ring-a-ring-o'-roses breaks out amongst the wandering inmates!deep dark secret, and when there is a mass breakout from ‘Fireside Sanitarium- a private institution’ their jitters seem to get even worse. (The breakout scene so closely resembles the scene near the beginning of HALLOWEEN (1978) as to cause a likely copyright infringement- but John Carpenter wisely left out the scene where a group of patients join hands and sing ‘ring-a-ring-o’-roses’- the director of THE INITIATION unfortunately didn’t).....

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