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directed by Larry Stewart
USA 1984


Pretty college freshman Kelly Fairchild (Daphne Zuniga, THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD) is pledging the Delta Rho Chi sorority and has been tasked with stealing the keys to her father's (Clu Gulager, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) shopping mall for "prank night" at the end of Hell Week. Tormented by a recurring nightmare involving her parents, a stabbing, mirrors, and a strange man on fire, and she has no memory of her life before nine years of age (when she supposedly fell out of a tree house), Kelly decides to do her psychology paper on dreams and nightmares. Her story intrigues teacher's assistant Peter Adams (James Read, TV's NORTH AND SOUTH) who - along with lab assistant Marcia (Marilyn Kagan, who later became a psychotherapist) - tries to interpret the symbolism of her dream, and finds some strange inconsistencies in her dream and what he is able to find out about her past. Meanwhile, the burned man from Kelly's dreams has escaped from a Houston asylum just in time for "prank night" at the shopping mall where scheming sorority sister Megan (Frances Peterson) - i.e. most deserving victim - has locked Kelly and her fellow pledges (including Zuniga's fellow soap star Hunter Tylo) inside with herself and a trio of stooges for the fright of their lives...

Arriving late in the slasher cycle, the Texas-lensed THE INITIATION - scantly released theatrically by New World Pictures - found most of its fans on home video and television (cut for nudity and what scant gore there is, but otherwise playing very much like an eighties TV genre effort). TV director Larry Stewart and TV writer Charles Pratt Jr. (later the head writer on the soaps SANTA BARBARA, GENERAL HOSPITAL, and ALL MY CHILDREN) give the mystery angle a good try with some misdirection by way of Freudian analysis, but the slasher angle (the entire second half of the film) is so tired no matter how well Czech cinematographer George Tirl (METAMORPHOSIS) manipulates shadows to create some false scares. Vera Miles (PSYCHO) has little to do as Kelly's fretful, secretive mother, and Gulager is wasted in too small a role. Quite enjoyable if your expectations aren't too high.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: December 1984 (USA)

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DVD Review: ArrowDrome/Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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ArrowDrome/Arrow Video

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:32:54 (4% PAL speedup)

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.59 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: ArrowDrome/Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:01)
• Liner Notes Booklet by Calum Waddell
• Reversible Cover

DVD Release Date: August 5th, 2013

Chapters 12



ArrowDrome's dual-layer, anamorphic transfer looks a bit soft, but that seems to be more the fault of the film's cinematography. Presumably the master dates back to circa 2000 when this and other New World titles were mastered for release by Anchor Bay Entertainment in the US. No complaints about the Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track. The previous UK disc from Pegasus featured an open-matte transfer. Both versions have had previous BBFC cuts for the cassette release (59 seconds) waived.

Region-locked stateside viewers will miss out on the liner notes booklet and reversible cover, but the film is available in Region 1 in the now out of print 2002 Anchor Bay single-disc and 2003 double feature with another low budget New World slasher MOUNTAINTOP MOTEL MASSACRE (B0000AB16X), and the in-print but equally barebones from Image Entertanment.

  - Eric Cotenas


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ArrowDrome/Arrow Video

Region 2 - PAL


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