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.”
Things are going to get bloody in episode twelve, “Scarecrow.”
Micki and Ryan road-trip out to farm country in search of an antique scarecrow. They befriend a local innkeeper, Marge, while discovering that this town has a history of rival families, dying crops, and violent incidents. Ryan also pals around with a local kid, and we learn Ryan’s brother died when they were both children.
The scarecrow is of course coming to life and beheading folks, as revenge/sacrifice in exchange for one farm’s crops growing better than others. The scarecrow’s owner is Marge, who shows she doesn’t need a killer scarecrow by revealing herself to be a bona fide knife-wielding maniac. Micki, Ryan, and the little kid almost die in the final confrontation, until the scarecrow turns on its owner, killing Marge.
When the show is smart: The actual scarecrow is a wonderfully ghoulish creation, perhaps an attempt to draw in the Jason Voorhees fans, but still distinct enough to have a look and even a personality of its own. Also, this episode is a big example of the “too-gory-for-TV” controversy, with bloody severed heads shown on screen.
When the show is cheesy: For a “scarecrow comes to life and kills you” premise, the plot gets needlessly complicated, with feuding families, troubled kids, and a townwide conspiracy that may or may not involve the local cops. It all starts to get in the way of the killer scarecrow action.
Devilish dialogue: The episode ends on an ominous note, when Micki asks, “You know, there’s one thing still nagging at me. That scarecrow. After it killed all those people, what did it do with the heads?” (The question goes unanswered.)
– Jack is again absent this week. We’re told he’s traveling while in search of the Icarus Feather, another of the series’ untold tales.
– What did happen to the heads? According to Alyse Wax’s excellent book Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series, different folks working on the episode had different ideas as to what happened to the heads, each more disturbing than the next. It appears that none were filmed, though.
Back in the vault: An incredibly fun episode, with a memorable monster and some genuine thrills. The script has some clunkier parts to it, but the good far outweighs the bad.
Next: Not quite Brundlefly.
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