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The 100




Initiation, The
(1984)
Reviewed by Ned Daigle
Rating: 3.5 Beans

ne thing you can say for Daphne Zuniga, after "The Dorm That Dripped Blood" and "The Initiation", yet another dead college student/slasher epic, she definitely paid her dues.

Poor little rich Kelly Fairchild (Zuniga). She's the future heiress to a shopping mall chain, she's pledging the most powerful sorority at the college and she's haunted by a recurring nightmare. In this dream, a man is attacking her father, after a young Kelly stabs him he is set aflame. Okay people, how long will it take before it's discovered that, hey, this ain't no dream, it's a repressed memory!

Now, it didn't take long to describe the setup to this opus, now did it? But the bulk of the film is devoted to this discovery, as if anyone with a half a brain couldn't have seen it coming a mile away. Intercut with this drawn out mystery is the escape of a patient at the local mental hospital (who thankfully dispatches of the evil mental hospital nurse with a garden trowel). Who is this stranger? And what does he/she have to do with this enigma?

Anyway, after all of this, we finally get to the part where the title finally has some significance. As the final initiation to the sorority, the pledges must break into Fairchild's mall and steal the uniform off of the nightwatchman. But, gasp, something goes awry. The gals are accidently locked in, and there's a maniac on the loose. Time to carve up some co-eds.

Eventually the mystery is revealed and we find out who the maniac is. I wouldn't dream of telling you here, but it seems like the screenwriters wrote themselves into a corner and devised an old soap opera standby to explain everything away. To their credit though, if I had actually been paying veeeery close attention during the mental hospital scenes, I probably would have figured it out, but, who knew?

For the genre of mad slasher movies, you really could do a whole lot worse. "The Initiation" does succumb to the usual pitfalls in trying to make a horror movie, it's just ain't scary. And does everyone in every horror movie own a machete, just so the killer could have a cool new weapon? They did try to do a little more with a story here but they've bitten off more than they could chew. The performances range from horrid (Aged hams Vera Miles and Clu Gulager act with all of the energy of an eggplant) to actually pretty good (I really liked Zuniga here and acurately predicted that we'd see more of her in the future. An actress named Deborah Morehart, playing pledge Alison, is also a very natural and likable performer but, alas, no more was hear from her. That's what a garden trowel in the guts can do to your career).

"The Initiation" is actually kind of goofy, bad, fun. But in an oddly convoluted way.






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