Friday the 13th - Season One Episodes


Episode Count: 26

Overall Comments: Generally, this season is probably the poorest. Much of this can be accounted for by the developing nature of the series. And there are some excellent episodes, perhaps the best of the entire series. However, they are seriously offset by some real turkeys. If you're looking for a wide variety in quality, this season is the one to watch.

Also due to the developing nature of the show, the cursed antiques are a variable lot. Many of them are basic murder weapons: you kill someone with them, and there's no particular price to pay or procedure to be followed (other then a one-way trip to hell after you die, of course). This theme is found in The Inheritance, Pipe Dream, Tales of the Undead, Quilt of Hathor, and Badge of Honor. We also get two episodes with another continuing theme: antiques that heal/resurrect someone by killing someone else (in Faith Healer and Dr. Jack). There are also hints (The Pirate's Promise, Scarecrow) of the more intricate curses that we'll see in later episodes.

Casting also seems somewhat variable. There are a number of episodes where one or more of the main characters are absent. Jack in particular is absent a great deal, with the excuse given that he's off looking for antiques somewhere else. Actor Chris Wiggins may have been ill or on vacation: there are two two-episode blocks, one early in the season (Tales of the Undead, Scarecrow) where he is absent, and a later one (The Pirate's Promise, Badge of Honor). This may also have been due to contractual reasons.

Ryan and Micki get the lion's share of the attention, and are quite clearly the main characters. There are only two episodes where their role is minimal: Faith Healer and Bottle of Dreams. Considering Faith Healer falls immediately after the first two- episode block mentioned above, that episode may have been deliberately given to Chris Wiggins to make up for his absence.

An early trend was ending the episode with a joke. Fortunately, that trend was quickly dropped and only rarely resurfaced. No complaints here.

Without further ado...


The Inheritance

Item: Doll
Rating: 1
Plot: The premiere episode. The two cousins are brought together to deal with the antique store after the death of their uncle, and meet Jack. They sell off some of the antiques, then discover Lewis' manifest. The first item they go looking for is a cursed doll which has fallen into the hands of a spoiled girl.
Comments: An inauspicious start to the series. It's never clearly established why the cousins feel obliged to go cursed antique-hunting. The story hints that they accidentally sold cursed antiques. However, with the exception of the doll in this episode, that's clearly not the case - that's why they have to use Lewis' manifest to find the antiques he sold. With all the establishing material, there's very little time for the actual plot, and a doll that kills people has been used any number of times (a couple of Twilight Zone episodes, Trilogy of Terror, etc.). Neither the child nor the people she kills off are particularly sympathetic or interesting.

The Poison Pen

Item: Quill Pen
Rating: 4
Plot: A series of fatal prophecies come from a monk in a secluded monastery. Micki and Ryan have to infiltrate the place to recover the quill pen that is causing the events, and determine exactly who is writing the death sentences.
Comments: Colin Fox (later to win fame of a sort on Psi-Factor) as the bad guy will return again in the second season. Here he's an ominous presence. Credibility is somewhat strained when we're expected to believe anyone could mistake Micki for a man.

Cupid's Quiver

Item: Eros Statue
Rating: 3
Plot: Thanks to a cursed statue, first the victim falls in love with the user, then the user kills the victim.
Comments: Denis Forest gets the first of his four (!) "creepy guy" appearances in this episode. It's his worst. Nobody comments on the inherent silliness of someone hauling this 2' tall statue around to bars to pick up women. Micki gets entranced for the first (but not the last) time.

A Cup of Time

Item: Teacup
Rating: 1
Plot: Homeless persons are turning up dead, murdered. And someone's responsible! The curse involves a rock singer using a cup etched with "borrowers' ivy" to kill people to maintain her youth.
Comments: Blehh. This one's just embarrassing. An "older woman" incessantly throws herself at Jack, humiliating herself and anyone watching this episode. The same older woman who just happens to know the homeless person, who just happened to get the cup, who just happens to now be a youthful rock singer...there's an unbelievable level of coincidence going on here. Some lovely sexist remarks from Ryan about Micki in a chauffeur's uniform, and a stereotypical "cute" kid, make the viewing experience complete.

Hell'oween

Item: Amulet
Rating: 1
Plot: Uncle Vendredi plots his return from Hell, with the aid of a female demon/dwarf. This occurs while our intrepid antique-recoverers throw a Halloween party at the shop to get their new neighbors to warm up.
Comments: Lame, lame, lame! Everyone acts stupid in this one, and very little happens except the establishment of Uncle Lewis as a continuing threat and the fact that Jack has some mystical skill. Even Chris Wiggins can't make the scene where he is fighting the dwarf-demon believable, however.

The Great Montarro

Item: Magician's Cabinet
Rating: 4
Plot: A stage magician uses the "Cabinet of Houdin" to perform death-defying illusions. All that's required is someone to be placed in the second box to take the damage...
Comments: Other than some background on Jack's rather varied past, there's not really much to distinguish this episode. It has a few plot twists, and a few suspenseful moments.

Doctor Jack

Item: Scalpel
Rating: 5
Plot: People are turning up dead, while a surgeon makes a name for himself as a miracle worker. "Miracle" isn't quite the word. However, things take a turn for the worse when Jack finds himself under the surgeon's knife.
Comments: Things start to improve with this episode, which has a few impressively horrific moments. The healing/killing element is a novelty here, and works well. There are a few unclear moments: despite the hubbub made in later episodes about how the characters should never benefit from cursed objects, no one here seems to be too concerned about Jack being healed by one. Guess it doesn't count if someone else is wielding it on your behalf.

Shadow Boxer

Item: Boxing Gloves
Rating: 5
Plot: A boxer benefits from a pair of gloves that let him triumph in the ring, while his shadow-self beats people to death outside.
Comments: Phil Akins (War of the Worlds, Highlander) has a brief role here. At least he lives. Some nice special effects, and some interesting exploration of character when Ryan is forced to use the cursed gloves.

Root of All Evil

Item: Mulcher
Rating: 2
Plot: A gardener discovers a mulcher that, when people are fed in to it, spews out money. The more wealthy the person, the more money that comes out.
Comments: Whoops, a brief downhill slide. In this episode, the cursed antique is pretty much filler for the subplot, which involves Micki pondering whether to end her career as an antique-recoverer. It's hard to really care, since her boyfriend is such a jerk. Fortunately, we never see him again.

Tales of the Undead

Item: Comic Book
Rating: 10
Plot: A cursed comic book turns its wielder into the "hero": Ferrus the Invincible. The hero's creator, an embittered old artist (Ray Walston) gets his hands on it.
Comments: This episode is as good as it gets. Walston is effective (I don't recall him playing a bad guy, at least recently) , and there are a number of in-jokes - Ferrus is a reference to Superman (a literal "Man of Steel"), and the whole Siegel/Schuster legal situation that arose. There is a corny but entertaining (and budget-saving) use of comic book panels (kinda like Wild Wild West) to show the comic book's wielder transformation into Ferrus.

Scarecrow

Item: Scarecrow
Rating: 7
Plot: In a small farming community, the crops come in as long as three people disappear during each harvest.
Comments: Written by Mark Scott Zircree, who penned the Twilight Zone Companion. The masked, unescapable scarecrow is as close as the show ever comes to its movie origins. However, clever touches like having to attach a photo of the victim to the scarecrow improve on the original work. There are also some hints at Ryan's background, which we will see more of in Pipe Dream and The Prophecies.

Faith Healer

Item: Glove
Rating: 10
Plot: A fraudulent faith healer gains true power, albeit of a Satanic nature, when he discovers a glove that lets him heal as long as he transfers the disease or injury into someone else...magnified tenfold.
Comments: This episode focuses primarily on Jack Marshak, and benefits greatly from the talents of horror director David Cronenberg. All of his usual elements (disgusting diseases eating away from within, persons forced to evil against their will) are on display here. There is a plot twist or two, and a few clever variations. Perhaps due to Cronenberg's influence, the gore here is about as explicit as it ever gets on the show.

The Baron's Bride

Item: Cape
Rating: 8
Plot: The recovery of a cursed cape who turns its wearer into a vampire takes an unexpected turn when the artifact transports Micki, Ryan, and its current wearer into the late 19th century. While Ryan seeks the vampire with the aid of a writer named Abraham, Micki falls under the vampire's sway.
Comments: The first of four "time travel" episodes (a novelty at this point), and filmed in black & white during the past era sequences. A few plotholes - it's implied the cape can travel through time to anywhen, but no one seems too concerned. The "twist" ending isn't particularly surprising, either. And Micki gets entranced once more. Still, the cinematography and musical score set an effective mood for the entire episode.

Bedazzled

Item: Lantern
Rating: 3
Plot: A lantern reveals sunken treasures, but demands a life in payment. The antique is recovered easily enough...but the owners track it back to Curious Goods, where Micki and a neighborhood child must keep them from getting their hands on it.
Comments: Although the episode starts promisingly enough (they recover the antique in the first 10 minutes), it's pretty much downhill from there. You wonder what they're going to do once they recover the lantern so early. The problem is, then we find out. While the trivia-minded might wonder whatever happened to the "cute" neighborhood kid, we are fortunately spared his return appearance. For the first but not the last time, an outside evil comes to the store.

Vanity's Mirror

Item: Compact
Rating: 4
Plot: A scorned teenager finds a compact that allows her to entrance males into loving her. The cost is that she must kill them.
Comments: Basically a remake of the previous Cupid's Quiver episode. There's a little more variation this time around, but we get another basically evil person doing evil things to unlikable people. As was seen in later seasons, the curses were more effective when corrupting the kind-hearted, rather than providing super-weapons to pond-scum.

Tattoo

Item: Tattooing Needles
Rating: 7
Plot: A gambler hits a winning streak when he tattoos patterns on others. As he wins, they die.
Comments: We get some interesting "horror" moments as the various tattoos, particularly a demon's claw on someone's chest, come to life. There is also a hint of Chinese magic and other supernatural powers at work. The ending is fairly effective in a Deer Hunter kind of way.

The Electrocutioner

Item: Electric Chair
Rating: 8
Plot: The people responsible for a man's failed execution are dying off one by one, electrocuted. Orphans at a wayward home are also disappearing while having their teeth tended.
Comments: It's a little hard to believe that Uncle Lewis somehow got the electric chair in and out of the store. Still, it's an amusing touch having it disguised as a dentist's chair. In a season filled with evil, scummy people doing evil scummy things with evil artifacts (usually to only slightly less likable victims), it's nice to have someone driven to his crimes who is actually sympathetic (in a sick, twisted kind of way).

Brain Drain

Item: Trefinator
Rating: 10
Plot: A retarded janitor gains knowledge and brainpower from a huge guillotine-like device that transfers spinal fluid from one person to another. Jack's former fiancee is the next victim.
Comments: If you had trouble with Uncle Lewis getting an electric chair out the door, you'll really wonder how he somehow managed to sell the huge guillotine-like trefinator (which holds the record for largest antique ever sold and recovered). And where do they store it in the Vault? The only thing seriously dumb about this episode is the name. Denis Forest gets his second role. He does well both as the initially retarded man and as the haughty intellectual type who gains both knowledge and mannerisms from his victims (and perfects his cold-blooded alien/Gestapo characterization for his continuing role in War of the Worlds a year later). Chris Wiggins is never better, and Carrie Snodgrass makes a believable romantic interest. And there's a lovely romantic score by composer Fred Mollin.

The Quilt of Hathor Pt. 1

Item: Quilt
Rating: 5
Plot: In an isolated religious community, a quilt that allows a scorned woman to kill her rivals in their dreams wreaks havoc. Micki and Ryan join the community, and Ryan falls in love. The quilt is recovered, only for it to be revealed as a fake. Ryan stays in the community, unaware of the danger.
Comments: An OK episode. The episode presents a not particularly-favorable view of isolated religious communities like the Old Testament "Penitites" in this episode. The townspeople are portrayed as superstitious with a lynch-mob mentality. The romance is just a tad unbelievable, but at least we have a two-parter to develop it.

The Quilt of Hathor Pt. 2

Item: Quilt
Rating: 6
Plot: The Penitites' minister (and father of Ryan's love) gets hold of the quilt and puts it to his own use, killing an Inquisitor (Bernard Behrens) and framing Ryan for the crime.
Comments: Behrens appears in another episode this season (The Pirate's Promise) and was a regular on Dracula: The Series. This episode is a little better than its predecessor, but the Penitites still are unfavorably portrayed with a lynch mob mentality. They also engage in trial by combat: look for that one in the Bible, kids.

Double Exposure

Item: Camera
Rating: 7
Plot: A serial killer will talk only to one particular newsanchor, whose viewer ratings soar as a result. Ryan's new girlfriend witnesses one killing, and sees that the killer is the newsanchor himself, yet he is on the air at the same time. Could a cursed antique be responsible?
Comments: The familiar Canadian faces include Catherine Disher (War of the Worlds, Forever Knight) and Gary Frank (Family). The latter gives a remarkably convincing portrayal of a bland yet ambitious pretty-boy newsanchor. An interesting concept, and some ironic moments, particularly the ending: "I'm alive! I'm alive!" *Thunk* Another in a long line of "Get a romantic interest, have them die by the end of the story" episodes. Ryan also recovers from losing his "true love" (in Quilt of Hathor) in record time. An odd lapse in continuity, given this was often the show's strength.

The Pirate's Promise

Item: Foghorn
Rating: 4
Plot: In a secluded seaside community, people are disappearing. Meanwhile, every night a mysterious lurker uses a foghorn to call in a pirate's ghost to reveal to him more buried treasure.
Comments: Bernard Behrens (Quilt of Hathor) gets a second appearance. Despite some obvious nods to John Carpenter's The Fog, there are several original elements and plot twists to keep the viewer interested.

Badge of Honor

Item: Sheriff's Badge
Rating: 7
Plot: A renegade lawman takes justice in to his own hands with the badge of Wyatt Earp, killing off drug dealers.
Comments: Friday the 13th meets Miami Vice. Fred Mollin's musical score heavily "borrows" from the latter, but is effective nonetheless. Micki gets a decent romantic interest, thus continuing the train of "My girlfriend/boyfriend will be dead by the end of the story" episodes started in Double Exposure.

Pipe Dream

Item: Smoking Pipe
Rating: 7
Plot: Ryan's father has finally hit it big, owing his success to a pipe given to him by his relative Lewis Vendredi. Those who oppose him disappear.
Comments: Michael Constantine (Room 222) as Ryan's father. This is a nice "tragic" episode, as we again get a vaguely sympathetic curse-wielder, who sacrifices himself in the end to save his son.

What a Mother Wouldn't Do

Item: Cradle
Rating: 7
Plot: A baby hovers on the verge of death. All that can save her is a cradle from the Titanic (must have missed that in the recent movie) and her parents killing seven people by water.
Comments: An interesting curse. Unfortunately, the actress playing the mother goes totally overboard (pardon the pun): she seems pretty vicious regardless, when a more tortured approach might have worked better. The father is just wishy-washy. Uncle Lewis has a brief flashback appearance at the beginning, giving R.G. Armstrong his third of five appearances on the show.

Bottle of Dreams

Item: Coptic Burial Urn
Rating: 6
Plot: The recovery of a cursed urn proves remarkably easy...until Micki and Ryan are trapped in the vault with it, and it unleashes a mist that forces them to relive their most terrifying moments until they die from the strain.
Comments: The season finale, this episode was filmed during the writer's strike. This is probably why the episode relies heavily of footage from previous episodes. Rashid is introduced here, and Uncle Vendredi makes a return appearance. There is a strong focus on Jack here, and we find out that he once had a son. If you can withstand the endless flashbacks and interminable shots of Micki & Ryan writhing in agony, it's actually pretty good.




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