It’s the Halloween season, so let’s watch season one of Friday the 13th: The Series.
“Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki, and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store… and with it, the curse. Now, they must get everything back, and the real terror begins.”
Episode three, “Cupid’s Quiver,” finds Micki, Ryan, and their friend Jack running around a college campus where love — via problematic mind control — is in the air.
The evil antique of the week (heh) is a small statue of cupid, which can make anyone fall in love with its owner. Because nothing on this show is that simple, death and murder keep happening in the statue’s wake. The statue is owned by a shy, awkward college student, who is using it to land hot babes. After a few failed attempts to get the statue back, Jack plays bartender at a frat party spiking the punch with truth serum (!) to help find it.
During the final confrontation, the killer uses the statue to mind-control Micki, putting her between him and Ryan. He is his own undoing, though, dying after he hits his head. This breaks the spell on Micki, and our heroes get the statue back.
When the show is smart: This episode has a subplot of Micki and Ryan running afoul of a cop who is investigating the murders. This (perhaps unintentionally) addresses why Micki and Ryan don’t just go to the cops for help with their cursed antiques.
When the show is cheesy: One big set piece in this episode has the villain killing someone by trapping her in a car filled with bees. You’d think this would be an overly convoluted way to kill someone, but this series does the murder-by-bees thing more than once.
Devilish dialogue: Micki: “I can’t believe anybody lives like this.” Ryan: “Dracula lives like this.” Micki: “I meant someone real.” Ryan: “Are you suggesting Dracula isn’t real?”
– This episode is the first to show that Micki and Ryan are actually living at the antique store, where the upper floor has bedrooms and at least one bathroom.
– Add bartending and truth serum concocting to Jack’s list of skills.
– Although the third one aired, this was the first episode to be filmed. Alyse Wax’s excellent Curious Goods book reveals that the actors started filming before signing their contracts, and were almost fired for this. Fortunately, they signed during their lunch break and all was well.
– This episode was directed by Atom Egoyan, just before he became an indie film darling with features like The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica.
Back in the vault: Most episodes of Friday the 13th: The Series are morality plays, and this is the first of those. The villain kills someone, and gets his wish granted. But, in order to keep his wish going, he has to keep killing. Later episodes will showcase some more sympathetic villains, but this one does a good job of setting the tone for things to come.
Next: Tea, earl grey, hot.
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