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 five is the big Halloween episode, which is of course titled “Hellowe’en.”
It’s Halloween night, and Micki and Ryan are throwing a party in the antiques store to show the neighbors that it’s under new management. While everyone is having a good time, two party dudes sneak into the basement and mess with a glowing crystal ball in the vault. The power goes out and the whole building starts to shake. The party guests flee, leaving Micki and Ryan alone to confronted by the ghost of their Uncle Lewis.
Lewis gives them a sob story about how he’s suffering in hell. He reveals a hidden room in the store, which was his wife’s bedroom. There, they find the preserved body of Lewis’ dead wife Grace. Lewis says he needs an antique from the vault, the Amulet of Zohar, to be reunited with his wife. Micki and Ryan actually believe him and give him the amulet. This gives him physical form and superhuman strength, allowing him to throw Ryan across the room. Lewis flees the store.
Outside the store, Jack encounters a bizarre trick-or-treater, who transforms from a child to a little person, and who uses magic to trap Jack behind some iron bars. Jack uses reverse psychology on some street thug passersby to free him.
Micki and Ryan pursue Lewis to the nearest morgue. Despite having physical form, Lewis isn’t truly alive, and needs a new body to possess, to truly live again. The trick-or-treater is revealed to be a demon (!) named Greta. With the combined powers of telekinesis and mind control, Greta traps the cousins in coffins and puts them on a conveyor belt headed for the cremator. Jack rescues them just in time. Jack confronts Lewis, attempting a counter-spell to prevent Lewis from completing his possession before dawn (when Halloween ends, apparently). Micki and Ryan distract Greta, who knocks out the electricity before tripping and impaling herself on a scalpel (!). Lewis doesn’t know the clock has stopped, fails to complete his spell before sunrise, and vanishes.
Back at the store, Jack says that Grace’s body isn’t really in the hidden room, and that it was all a trick by Lewis. He then reveals that he loved Grace as well, but couldn’t be with her because she married Lewis. Jack finally states that Halloween may be over, but in two weeks it’ll be… Friday the 13th.
When the show is smart: When we last saw Uncle Lewis, he’d had a change of heart and wanted to be good again, only to be sucked into Hell. In this episode he’s pure evil. I suppose we could argue that his experience in Hell has left him with a “whatever it takes” motivation to become human again, even if he does seem to enjoy his own villainy. On the other hand, the inconsistencies don’t matter, because Lewis is an effective baddie because he’s so mysterious.
When the show is cheesy: I’m not clear on how the two party dudes find their way into the vault, which has been shown to be opened by a hidden brick on the wall. Also, there’s no explanation of the weird crystal ball that sets all this in motion, other than some mumbo jumbo about how spirits roam more freely on Halloween night.
Devilish dialogue: Jack insults the street thugs: “I’ve seen your type before. You’re peasants, aren’t you? All mouth and no action, because you’re too small where it counts.”
– For costumes, Jack is Merlin and Ryan is a Robin Hood type. Micki is either a witch or a rock star. Or maybe a G.L.O.W. wrestler.
– The hidden bedroom on the store’s first floor is never seen or referenced again. Perhaps the entire room was part of Lewis’ illusion?
– This is the only time in the show’s history that the date “Friday the 13th” is spoken out loud, or even referenced for that matter.
Back in the vault: This episode packs a lot into its hour runtime, with a lot of over-the-top B-horror/monster movie action. Also, the series didn’t do “mythology” episodes often, normally content to stick to killer-of-the-week shows. Establishing Lewis as F13’s baddest bad guy and filling in gaps in our character’s histories just adds to the fun.
Next: Not quite The Prestige.
Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.