The Initiation (1984) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Tuna's comments in yellow::

This is a teen slasher, complete with escaped mental patient, sorority initiation, and an excuse to lock all the victims in a location with the killer. As the film starts, a total bitch of a nurse yells at a horribly burned scarred gardener/patient, As she leaves work, she is murdered with a gardening implement. We learn that eight patients escaped, including the gardener.

College student Daphne Zuniga is having nightmares that end with someone catching fire. She has total amnesia about her childhood, and these nightmares are nearly constant. Zuniga's mother and father have never wanted her to see a psychologist, and they try to keep her from seeing a post grad who does dream research.

She is pledging a sorority, and her final requirement will be to get the night watchman's clothing from her rich father's mall. The sister in charge of the pledging ritual lets three boys and herself into the building to scare the pledges. Meanwhile, the father is killed by the omnipresent gardening implement, and the actual night watchmen is killed before the girls enter.

Ok, lets stop and think about this. The escaped mental patient is obviously the real father of Zuniga, Zuniga is a lovable character, and starting a relationship with the post grad, so we know those two have to survive. They have been all but telling us that the killer is the father/gardener. The father is seen in the mall, so that fits into the puzzle, but were that true, there would be no mystery or suspense. There must be some surprise. We know Zuniga herself can't be the surprise killer, because she was elsewhere when some of the early murders were committed. So what is the only possible solution? The dreaded SURPRISE EVIL TWIN.

The film didn't build any tension, the gore effects were nothing special, and other than the obligatory shower scene, where we first see Hunter Tylo's goodies, it was a very dull watch. Tylo also changes tops in the department store, in case we have forgotten by then what her breasts look like.


Hunter Tylo - full frontal, and addition breast scenes.

Daphne Zuniga - in panties, but camera behind her, so very little showing.

One other sorority girl was completely naked in the background, and yet another was seen from the rear as she entered the shower.

Scoop's comments in white:

The Initiation is an 80s-style teen slasher film with college kids locked in a mall overnight with an insane killer. You know, the usual stuff.

The fact that it is a teen slasher movie is, incredibly enough, the good news.

The bad news is that it is not a good one.

  • The deaths are neither creative nor grisly, and often take place off camera. The dead bodies are used as props to scare the audience by surprising those characters who are still still alive. It's the ol' "open the closet and a dead friend falls out" trick.

  • The solution to the basic "psychological mystery" is one that is completely obvious to everyone except the characters in the film. Let's see, a twentyish girl has had recurring nightmares since age nine, and doesn't remember anything before that time. When she's analyzed in a dream monitoring lab, her brain waves are atypical for a dream state - as if she weren't "inventing" the dream. Now it should be obvious to you that her dream is not a series of  imaginary images, but real ones, and that her dream is actually a repressed memory from the period of early childhood which she can't remember. It may be obvious to you, but it was not obvious to the guy writing his Ph.D about dream analysis.

  • The solution to the "murder mystery" is even worse. Two words: "evil twin".

  • It's filled with sub-par acting performances, even by the lackadaisical standards of teen slasher films.

DVD info from Amazon

  • no features

  • widescreen anamorphic, 1.85

In short, the fully dressed portion of the entertainment is not really watchable. It's not very scary, or very grisly, or very mysterious, or very professional.

On the T&A side, there isn't much, but what there is is definitely worth watching, namely the full monty from future soap opera star Hunter Tylo, then known as Deborah Morehart. (Long story condensed: her real name is Deborah Jo Hunter, Morehart is her first husband's name, Tylo is her second husband's name.)

The Critics Vote ...

  • There are no major reviews online. Several genre sites and "bad movie" sites are linked from IMDb.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 5.3/10, which seems too high.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D (Scoopy) or C- (Tuna). Scoop says, "not even a minimal genre effort. No redeeming features except Hunter Tylo's body.". Tuna says, "IMDB voters are way too generous. It is technically competent, but has the worst plot I have yet seen in a genre that is not known for good plots. Low C-."

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