Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 13th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1984
Director: Larry Stewart
Writer: Charles Pratt Jr.
Cast: Vera Miles, Clu Gulager, Daphne Zuniga, James Read, Marilyn Kagan, Robert Dowdell, Patti Heider, Frances Peterson, Hunter Tylo
BluRay released: November 7th, 2016 (UK) / November 8th, 2016 (USA)
Approximate running time: 97 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK), R (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video USA
Region Coding: Region A,B
Retail Price: $34.95 (USA) / £15.99 (UK)
The Initiation was directed by Larry Stewart, filmmaker who output was primarily Television shows. Key collaborators on The Initiation include, screenwriter Charles Pratt Jr. (“General Hospital”, “The Young and the Restless”) and cinematographer George Tirl (Steel Dawn).
This film features a solid premise where repressed memories ultimately hold the explanation for the events which unfold. Content wise, this film has all the ingredients one would expect from a horror film. And when it comes to T & A and bloodshed this film delivers in spades. Needless to say, fans of 1980’s body count films are sure to thoroughly enjoy this film.
From a production stand point there are no areas of this film that are lacking. The narrative is well constructed, there is a colorful cast of charters and the film is perfectly paced so that each new revelation has an ample amount of time to fully resonate. Another strength of the film are its visuals which does a superb job setting and reinforcing the mood.
Performance wise the cast are more than adequate in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance coming from Daphne Zuniga (The Dorm That Dripped Blood, The Fly II) in the role of Kelly Fairchild, the young woman who is plagued by a reoccurring nightmare. Other notable performances include, Vera Miles (Psycho) in the role of Kelly’s mother and Joy Jones in the role of Heidi, a student who assist a professor who analyzes dreams. Overall The Initiation is an underrated Slasher film that saves its most shocking twist for its finale.
The Initiation comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was created from a brand-new 2k restoration from the original camera negative. When compared to previous home video release this new transfer is superior in every way. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, the image looks crisp, black levels and shadow detail remain strong throughout. Grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression. It should be noted that there are some scenes when the image is intentionally supposed have a soft-focus look and during these moments image clarity is still very strong.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English and also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds, clean, clear and balanced. The score sounds robust and the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (1 minute 10 seconds), extended scene (1 minute 7 seconds, without sound and English subtitles), three interviews – the first interview is with screenwriter Charles Pratt Jr. titled Sorority Saga (21 minutes 15 seconds), the second interview is with actor Christopher Bradley titled Pledge Night (18 minutes 34 seconds) and the third interview is with actress Joy Jones titled Dream Job (13 minutes 32 seconds) and an audio commentary with The Hysteria Continues who give this film their usual tongue and cheek critic.
Topics discussed with Charles Pratt Jr. include, his father was a movie producer, growing up in the film industry, USC film school, the origins of The Initiation, why the original director was replaced after only 3 days, the cast and looking back things that he as a writer would change.
Topics discussed with Christopher Bradley include, his audition for The Initiation, shooting scenes at the mall location featured in the film, the cast, on set memories and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed with Joy Jones include, how she stated acting at 14, her work as a theater actress, her audition for The Initiation and how she found out she got the role of Heidi, the cast and how she is surprised by The Initiation’s cult film status.
Rounding out the extras s a reversible cover art, original screenplay & production schedule (BD-Rom content) and a twenty-page booklet with cast & crew info, an essay titled Trouble in Store: Secrets and Lies and The Initiation written by James Oliver and information about the transfer. Overall The Initiation gets an exceptional release from Arrow Video.