Horror Movie Review: The Initiation (1984)

The Initiation is a slasher-horror film that was directed by Larry Stewart, releasing in 1984. The film focuses on Kelly Fairchild who’s plagued by a disturbing recurring nightmare. If that wasn’t enough, she’ll soon find herself and her fellow sorority pledges stalked by a killer during their initiation ritual in a department store after-hours.

Since childhood, college student Kelly Fairchild has suffered from a recurring nightmare in which a strange man is burned alive in her childhood home. The nightmare began when Kelly suffered amnesia after sustaining a head injury at age nine. Hoping to unravel the nightmare’s meaning, Kelly undergoes a sleep study. Suspiciously, her Mother forbids it.

Kelly prepares to partake in her sorority’s initiation ritual which entails her and a group of other pledges breaking into her father’s multilevel department store after hours and stealing the night porter’s uniform.

Just before Kelly and the other pledges arrive at the department store, the night porter is murdered while doing rounds. Kelly and her friends are in for one hell of a night. Elsewhere, shocking details of the incident that Kelly has suppressed come to light and will soon be revealed.

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The Initiation delivers just about everything and anything you could want from a 80s slasher film. I’m quite perplexed as to why it isn’t discussed more because for my money, it’s quite brilliant. Firstly, the shopping complex is a fantastic backdrop for a slasher and is utilized well. Secondly, the story is really well told and the twists and turns are executed wonderfully. Thirdly, the characters are likeable and not the types you wish to see slaughtered as is so often the case in slasher films. Additionally, there is depth to the characters and you get to see some them bonding which makes their fight for survival more investable.

The acting throughout is great with a special mention for Daphne Zuniga as Kelly because she contends with quite a lot and knocks it out of the park.

Now, if I have to be critical it’s going to come down to the horror elements being somewhat lacking. The kills that are displayed are decent with good effects but then there are one too many that are shied away from. I am always an advocate for more horror and gore, especially with the quality location and the potential for major creativity.

Overall, I believe The Initiation should be spoken about a lot more when people discuss the greatest slasher movies of the 80s.


  • Liam Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Typical 90s-00s kid; raised on Pokémon, Final Fantasy & the Attitude Era. In fact, that makes up about 99% of my personality. The remaining 1% is dedicated to my inner rage for people who still don’t understand the ending of Lost or those that enjoyed the Game of Thrones final season. Find me on GBHBL where I’ll most likely be reviewing horror movies or games. Also, see me on our YouTube channel!

The Initiation
  • The Final Score - 8/10
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