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...
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
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.
Item: Eros Statue
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Item: Boxing Gloves
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Item: Tattooing Needles
Plot: A gambler hits a winning streak when he tattoos patterns on others. As he wins,
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.
Item: Electric Chair
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
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).
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Item: Smoking Pipe
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
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
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.