Larry Stewart’s ‘The Initiation’ (1984)

If you love 80s slasher films, the chances are you’ll love Larry Stewart’s 1984 release The Initiation, the latest release on the Arrowdrome imprint of cult label Arrow. At times great, and sadly at others slightly underwhelming, The Initiation is full of all the hallmarks you’d expect from a mid 80s slasher and a film with a low-budget. Interested? Of course you are…

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Like all good slashers, The Initiation has a great, unidentified (until the final moments of course!) killer with a terrific phallic weapon – in this instance the garden fork (not quite standard phallic symbols but if you’ve got three, email me…) – who has recently escaped from the local sanitorium. The target? A group of sorority girls. actually to be more precise, one preppy sorority girl by the name of Kelly Fairchild (Daphne Zuniga). Apprehensive about her sorority initiation, Kelly also has to deal with this horrible nightmare that’s plagued her since she was a child – one that combines walking in on her parents having sex and a man getting set on fire. Majoring in psychology, Kelly decides to share her nightmare with her professor (a rather yummy James Read) who finds it so interesting that he wants tp study it and help her decode its meaning. Only, on the night of her initiation, both the worlds of her sorority and her nightmare will collide, with devastating results!

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Lets be honest, am I bigging this film up slightly? I guess so. It’s not that the film isn’t good, but at times it isn’t brilliant. Whilst there are some fun bits, the are a few moments that drag a little and stop it from becoming the über cult classic that it could be. That said, Daphne Zuniga is great as the lead girl, playing a likeable character that finds a happy medium between ignorant victim and college bitch. When the shit really hits the fan, she puts in a great turn and you can tell she relishes it. The rest of the cast come off quite favourably, with Read standing out, as well as Vera Miles and Clu Gulager playing Kelly’s parents. The feature has its fair share of clichés but when the ending comes around, it should catch you a little off guard (I genuinely didn’t see it coming and only came up with a half right prediction). It’s just a shame that when it comes to gearing up for the big finale with kills galore, the kills in question are a little boring. Everyone knows a good slasher needs some kind of increase in tension and some inventive kills, and sadly The Initiation has neither of these when it needs them the most. However, it does have the most impressive penis costume I’ve seen which warrants viewing. A three out of five, The Initiation isn’t a well-known slasher, but is as good as other sleeper hits like Student Bodies. Worth picking up and watching, but maybe one that won’t get as many repeat viewings as your standard classics.

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Happy 10th Ashtray Dirt

A bit of a busy week this week thanks to a certain convention, but here we go! Cast additions have been announced for Adam Wingard’s new project The Guest which is currently in pre-production. Names attached include Maika Monroe (The Bling Ring, Bad Blood), Brendan Meyer and Alex Knight who will star alongside Downtown Abbey‘s Dan Stevens…

Ti West’s latest offering The Sacrament will have its world premiere at this years Venice Film Festival

A new poster and short clip have dropped for James Wan’s Insidious Chapter 2. The very short, and sweet, footage (which you can watch over at IGN) looks like the film will continue to keep the creepy and jumpworthy tone of the original which is promising…

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Dario Argento is apparently preparing an operatic version of Guiseppe Verdi’s Macbeth for the stage. Opening night is currently set at October 4th at the Teatro Coccia in Northern Italy with plans for the opera to be toured at other Italian theaters…

Arrow have announced they are releasing Larry Stewart’s The Initiation on August 5th…

Big news to come out of this years San Diego Comic Con was the confirmation by Zack Snyder that the sequel to the latest Superman film Man Of Steel would indeed see Superman face off against Batman, in a move that feels very reminiscent of Frank Miller’s cult classic graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns (an influence according to Snyder). Christopher Nolan will return as an executive producer alongside Henry Cavill as Superman, whilst Christian Bale has shot down any rumours of him appearing as Bruce Wayne (go here to watch the video of the panel crowd going nuts at the announcement). The film has a current release date of 2015…

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Synapse Films have announced they are restoring the original negatives of 1980 slasher Prom Night for a HD release…

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Director Robin Hardy has announced that he has found the missing The Wicker Man footage he had been searching for and a UK Blu-ray and theatrical release of a ‘final cut’ version of the film will happen this September (theatrical) and October (Blu-ray). Hardy announced that “StudioCanal contacted me last year in their search for the original materials that have been missing. I’m very pleased to announce that StudioCanal have been able to find an actual print of The Wicker Man, which is based on my original cut working with Abraxas, the American distributors, all those years ago. They plan, and this is the exciting bit, to actually release it. This version has never been restored before, has never been shown in UK theatres before, has never been converted to Blu-ray before. This version will – optimistically – be known as the Final Cut.”…

Fans were lucky to grab a peek at a teaser trailer for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla remake at SDCC this week. Word is it looks amazing and Edwards and his team have done a great job so far but no footage has surfaced as of yet (or it has but has been taken down from YouTube). Shooting wrapped this week on the film which is released next year…

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Scream Factory announced their latest release plans at SDCC, with the biggest coup being Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut for 2014. Other releases include John Carpenter’s Assault On Precinct 13 for November this year, Saturn 3 and Darkman for December this year and the 1982 version of Cat People for 2014…

Horror festival FrightFest have announced their short film programme for this August’s Bank Holiday weekend. The nine films, all worldwide premieres, will play at certain times ahead of certain films, details of which can be found on the website

Joss Whedon confirmed at SDCC that the sequel to The Avengers would be called Avengers: Age of Ultron. Whedon also dropped the news that the characters Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch will also appear. The film will start shooting in London in March…

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Lastly, New Zealand has banned the 2012 remake of Maniac, which stars Elijah Wood, from theatrical and home format release. The Kiwi response is that the first person POV style in which the film is shot makes it too graphic. Under the ruling, this restricts viewings of the film to festivals only….