Initiation rites most often pertain to adolescence. They follow a scheme of death and rebirth, which entails a physical test. The Oedipus complex and its reactivation in adolescence are key to its interpretation. The sacramental rites said to be those of Christian initiation have this same initiatory structure. The testing part of it is absent, but may be found in the believer’s existence, insofar as this is where what is inaugurated by the sacraments of initiation is deployed. Far from spontaneously satisfying infantile expectations, Christian development calls for a deep transformation of desire, a demanding disillusionment. Here we can speak of an initiatory test, corresponding to the passage, which can always be deepened, from infantile belief to filial subjectivity. This transformation follows a dynamic analogous to adolescent subjectivation.
The study of a particular category of horror movie, the slasher, draws us onto the stage of the adolescent experience, both in terms of its content and its form. The skeleton of the uncanny and its syncopated temporality offers one a glimpse of a common unconscious issue. The adolescent finds a solution for how to represent and elaborate the central issue of the feminine in the identifiable figures of killer and victim. The slasher movie as a vehicle for a degraded initiation rite is a resource for the adolescent facing the upheavals of puberty.
Masochism is studied here in its identity-forming, and thus sexually-differentiated, aim. Viewed as other ways of being a man or a woman, the masculin(izing) masochism of the woman and the femin(izing) masochism of the man emerge from paradox and stand out clearly at crucial times of life: thus in adolescence, masochism is often a mandatory passage on the way to sexual differentiation, sometimes taking the form of initiation, savage or cultural.